Learn About The History Of Littleton, CO

To the new visitor

The city of Littleton, Colorado is a charming destination. Located in the Denver-Aurora metropolitan region, it is part of the Front Range Urban Corridor. It shares borders with Denver and Englewood, Greenwood Village on the northeast, Centennial to the east Highlands ranch on the south Columbine to the west and Bow Mar to the northwest. With its downtown featuring turn of the century buildings, it has some of the county’s most distinctive and unique attractions. Here one finds art galleries, shops, clothing boutiques, old-fashioned swanky bars, and restaurants. Also, a visit to the Littleton Museum lets visitors explore the historical roots of this city. Two farms one from the 1920's and another from the 1860's, provide an engaging educational tour. Now, let’s dive into a few key Littleton details for a brief overview of this city.

Littleton Beginnings

Littleton’s history begins with the 1859 Pikes Peak gold rush. On the trail of gold seekers came farmers and merchants who provided required life necessities. As Denver’s population and metropolis grew, it was necessary to construct water tunnels to provide this essential commodity to its residents. Accordingly, the city hired various engineers to lead this project. Among them was Richard Little a resident of New Hampshire. After carrying out several surveys, Richard founded Littleton in its present location. In 1861, he filed various land claims and brought his asthmatic wife, Angeline to Littleton. Colorado’s arid climate helped stabilize his ailing wife’s health after which they embarked on farming. In collaboration with several neighbors, the Littleton’s founded the Rough & Ready Flour Mill. This served as the city’s economic foundation for a number of years.

Turning Point

The division of Arapahoe County into Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, and Yuma marked a turning point in Littleton’s history. Its then governor Orman named Littleton a temporary county resulting in its victory over Englewood in the 1904 general election. It’s permanently winning the county seat resulted in an influx of business and government employees as well as support services. As a result, Littleton’s place among Colorado’s towns was guaranteed.

Littleton: Economy

Up until the end of the Second World War, Littleton’s major economic activity was agriculture. Thereafter, the city diversified into the production of electronics and pneumatics and later into the aerospace industry and finally munitions. Through the 50's and the 70's, manufacturing comprised the city’s chief economic pursuit as well as a catalyst of Littleton’s housing boom. The addition of Chatfield Reservoir and a community college in 1971 helped boost the city’s pedigree. By the time of its centenary in 1990, it had a population of 33,660. In 2015, the city’s population was 45,103 when it celebrated its 125th year.

Littleton: Events

Each year the city celebrates the Western Welcome Week, a charitable event designed to benefit the city’s charities and civic societies. This tradition was started in the late 1910's and since then it has been celebrated annually. Residents of Littleton participate in over forty different activities during the Western Welcome Week. Another popular event in Littleton is The Candlelight Walk in which residents take part in an evening of holiday making activities. Its crowning highlight is the illumination of trees along Littleton’s Main Street.