Colorado History and Genealogy Project





Boulder County Colorado ~  1870

Embraces an area of 900 square miles, in one of the most delightful and salubrious sections of the Territory, and is possessed of more than ordinary attractions as a location for rapid development of material wealth to those taking advantage of its mineral and agricultural resources.

It embraces that portion of the great mineral belt which approaches nearest, and is most accessible to the plains, and adjoins Gilpin and Jefferson counties on the south. Long's Peak forms its northwestern corner-stone; its northern limit, Larimer county; Summit county its western boundary, and Arapahoe and Weld counties bound it on the east.

With its immense and valuable deposits of coal, gold, silver and iron ores, and the extensive tracts of fertile land, only awaiting irrigation and cultivation to become productive of gigantic crops and incalculable profit, this portion of territory stands pre-eminent as an avenue to unbounded prosperity.

The streams that rise in or near the range, and traverse this county to the eastward, are the St. Vrain, Boulder, Little Thompson, and Coal creek, tributaries of the Platte river. These are skirted in the mountains by beautiful valleys, which occasionally widen out to fine parks, clothed with luxuriant grass and dense pine forests. The soil of the valleys, and a large portion of the plains in the limits of Boulder County, is exceedingly fertile, and the hardier cereals, potatoes, and other vegetables, and hay, are produced abundantly. The plains, aided by irrigation, produce, besides these, wheat, oats, barley, and corn, with that large average yield peculiar to Colorado.

The cereal products of the cultivated acres furnish four good flouring mills with a constant supply, besides large shipments of grain to markets beyond the limits of the county.

To furnish timber for building purposes, and other improvements, thirteen saw-mills are kept in active operation. Among the number, the Walling steam mill, at Caribou City, Grand Island district, employs thirty men constantly; and the Tucker mill, located at Keysport, is also actively engaged.

Besides agricultural and manufacturing interests, which are important, Boulder possesses remarkable mineral wealth, regarded as unsurpassed by any other county of Colorado. Her belt of gold mines, among the very earliest discoveries in the Territory, traverse the entire extent of the county along the chain of mountains east of the main range. Her silver mines, of recent discovery, extend along the main range and spurs for many miles in a northerly direction, from the southern boundary, to a point approaching Long's Peak.

The principal mining districts are Sugar Loaf, Gold Hill, Central, Ward, Phoenix, and Grand Island, the latter the home of the celebrated Caribou lode, a full description of which appears in another chapter.

Early in 1858, the first gold discovery in Colorado was made within the limits of Boulder County, on the St. Vrain. This occurrence brought in the vicinity scores of prospectors, who zealously labored to discover hidden riches; and ere long, (1859), gold was discovered in the mountains of the adjoining county, (Gilpin), and was followed by similar discoveries in this county. Among the most important lodes, first discovered, were the Horse Fall, Williams, Hope, Gold Hill, Wisconsin, Sucker, and Syracuse; and later, the Columbia, Horseshoe, Galena, and many others. The more recent discovery of silver mines in the Grand Island district, of which a full mention is made elsewhere, has given a sudden impetus to business, and imparted a healthful vigor to the material interests of the county and the Territory, and promises to add largely to the wealth of the entire nation. Another important feature of Boulder County is her immense and inexhaustible beds of coal, referred to in the commencement of this chapter, and more fully described elsewhere. These are located near the foot-hills and have already been sufficiently developed to establish their real value and importance. Cheap and good fuel furthers the interest of all manufacturing enterprises, and encourages emigration in any country possessing this great desideratum; and, in this respect, Boulder County is peculiarly favored. Prominent among the coal mines, already extensively worked, is the Marshall mine, which receives due attention in an appropriate chapter. Still, too much cannot be written concerning this coal measure, capable of supplying a populous community and vast manufacturing enterprises, with abundance of excellent fuel at moderate expense. Other coal beds, also duly noticed elsewhere, are being actively developed, and their value fully established. Fire and potter's clay, of superior quality, also exist in large quantities, and altogether, the resources of Boulder County are unsurpassed, perhaps, by any other district in the Territory.

If superior agricultural advantages, great mineral deposits, including gold, silver, iron, lead and copper ores, and superior lignite, abundance of excellent building material, superior water powers, healthy climate, and glorious scenery will make a country prosperous, and a people happy, surely the prospects of Boulder county are unusually brilliant, and the inhabitants amongst the most favored of mortals. That which is most needed to insure entire success to the mining interest of Boulder county, as well as to those of all similar districts in Colorado, is reduction works, capable of treating, successfully and economically, the sulphuret ores of the mineral belts. Such works, sufficiently capacious, and liberally managed, would give a fresh impetus to mining enterprises, and not only enhance the value and insure the working of mines already discovered, but stimulate prospecting, and augment the importance of the mining industries generally. And no portion of Colorado affords more facilities or better inducements for the construction of such works than that part of Boulder County which lies along the base of the foot-hills. Everything requisite, except capital and skillful labor, is on the spot; fire-clay, building material, abundance of coal, and besides all these, easy access to the mining regions above.

The principal towns of Boulder County are Boulder City (the county seat), Burlington and Valmont, which are fully described elsewhere.

Rocky Mountain Directory & Colorado Gazetteer

Source: Rocky Mountain Directory and Colorado Gazetteer, 1871, S. S. Wallihan & Company, Compilers and Publishers, Denver, 1870.


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