Settlement of Clear Creek Valley
In 1850 Lewis Ralston discovered gold in Ralston Creek, a Clear Creek tributary located in present day Arvada. After the Russell Party confirmed Ralston’s discovery in 1858, many prospectors came to the Clear Creek valley looking for gold. They started by mining the placer bars, gold bearing sandbars in the river. They discovered rich deposits at the location just east of Golden and named it Arapahoe Bar. There they laid out claims using the old Estes markers they found on the site. As the placers played out, the gold rushers became discouraged
In 1860 William A. H. Loveland led the drive to build a wagon road up Clear Creek Canyon. Ensign B. Smith, commonly known as “Mexican Smith,” and his son Manuel, built the wagon road. Loveland converted the thoroughfare to the Colorado Central Railroad by 1872. The Colorado Central was Colorado’s first narrow gauge railroad, designed by Edward L. Berhthoud, to link the mountain mining communities to cities on the plains. The railroad greatly enhanced the economy of the region by enabling easier shipment of gold and silver ore as well as supplies to and from mining communities in the mountains.
Picture caption: The Gregory Diggings in the early twentieth century. Courtesy Denver Public Library, Western History Department.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1820.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Early History of Clear Creek (here, next to this marker); Gold in Clear Creek (here, next to this marker); Farming (here, next to this marker); Tourism (here, next to this marker); Brewing on Clear Creek-Coors History (a few steps from this marker); Settler Farm Wife’s Initiative (a few steps from this marker); First Bicycle Mishap in Golden (a few steps from this marker); A Daring Rescue (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Golden.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on December 17, 2011, by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 719 times since then and 3 times this year. Photo 1. submitted on December 17, 2011, by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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