Historic Douglas County, Inc.
About Douglas County
ABOUT OUR LITTLE PIECE OF COLORADO…
Douglas County, although only about 30 miles wide, is known as the Birthplace of Colorado. The county, so named for statesman Stephen A. Douglas, originally stretched from the Platte River east to western Kansas when it was organized in 1861, being one of seventeen counties in Colorado Territory at that time. Later, Elbert, Lincoln and Kit Carson counties were made from the eastern portion of the original Douglas County. The area was first inhabited by Paleo-Indians and later by Arapaho, Cheyenne and Ute Indians. Trappers Jim Bridger and Kit Carson, first Indian Agent for the Utes, hunted and trailed in our region. The county hosted two trails, the Jimmy Camp and the Cherokee Trail.
Industry consisted of farming and ranching with some of the most fertile lands anywhere along the front range because of the Platte River, Plum Creek and Cherry Creek tributaries which provided water. In addition, with the abundance of timber-covered lands thousands of feet of lumber were milled for railroads and provided building materials and fuel for the growing town of Denver City. Rhyolite quarries surrounding Castle Rock provided stone for buildings locally, in Denver and around the country.
The first county seat was Frankstown (Today: Franktown), so named for J. Frank Gardener; the county seat was moved to Castle Rock in 1874. Even though our land area is much smaller than was in 1861, what remains is the most topographically and population diverse county in Colorado. Our mountainous west border slopes downward to our portion of the Great Plains in the eastern segment of our county and our areas of population move from a densely populated metropolitan area in the north to expansive areas of open space, small towns and ranch land in the south.
Gold Mine of History in Douglas County…
The Douglas County History Research Center (DCJRC) of the Douglas County Libraries collects and preserves the history of Douglas County, the High Plains, the Divide area of the Front Range and the State of Colorado in order to provide historical research resources to the public. Their material includes, but is not limited to books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, oral histories, business records, and personal papers. In addition, DCHRC offers reference services, public programs and online resources to a diverse audience of adults and youth. DCHRC welcomes donations of material that add to the story of Douglas County history. Visit http://DouglasCountyHistory.org to learn more about this history rich area called Douglas County.
Douglas County History Research Center
Philip S. Miller Library
100 South Wilcox Street
Castle Rock, CO 80104
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