The 1870s


Bishop George M. Randall opens Jarvis Hall Collegiate School in a building just south of Golden (on site of current Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center). Later called the School of Mines, it became a territorial institution in 1874 and officially became the Colorado School of Mines in 1876 following statehood.

September 12, 1870

Martin Leyden and fellow miners Patrick Stanton and Patrick Kelly die when Leyden Creek Coal Mine fills with deadly firedamp gas

September 24, 1870

The Colorado Central Railroad line completed. First train arrives in Jefferson County, at Golden City, from Denver.

November 21, 1870

Construction of the Welch Ditch begins in Clear Creek Canyon

December 1, 1870

First town plat of Arvada filed. Originally, the settlement was known as Ralston Point.

December 4, 1870

Earthquake hits Golden around 5 a.m. with shaking lasting 2 to 3 seconds. No fatalities reported.


Golden's Iler Block, the corner building at 12th St. & Washington Ave., is built - now Jefferson County's oldest frame storefront

January 3, 1871

Town of Golden City incorporated. "City" is dropped from the town's title January 22, 1872.


  • Golden Smelting Works, Golden's first major smelter, is established
  • The First Presbyterian Church, now Golden's Foothills Art Center, is built

January 16, 1872

Organized fire-fighting created in Golden with former sheriff Joseph Remington appointed foreman of the new "hook and ladder" company

September 19, 1872

Matthews Hall divinity school opens next to Jarvis Hall collegiate school

October 1872

Town of Morrison established; town plat filed November 28, 1874.

December 23, 1872

The narrow gauge section of the Colorado Central Railroad, linking Denver and Golden with Central City through Clear Creek Canyon completed. First railroad into the Colorado mountains.


  • Last documented encampment of Ute tribe, led by Chief Colorow, in Jefferson County
  • School of Mines opens under the auspices of the Episcopal Church
  • Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum established as Jarvis Hall Museum by Arthur Lakes

April 1, 1873

First sitting U.S. President, Ulysses S Grant, visits Golden

September 12, 1873

First Swedish church in Colorado, the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church, established in Golden by Swedish immigrants

October 1873

South School in Golden opens with 195 students. Now called Golden High School, Colorado's oldest continuing high school, with just under 1300 students enrolled for the 2016 to 2017 academic year. Jefferson County is the first county in Colorado to adopt a graded school system, separating students by age.

October 6, 1873

Golden Cemetery established by the town of Golden as a municipal cemetery. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.

November 24, 1873

Coors Brewing Company founded in Golden by Adolph Coors Sr. and Jacob Schueler. Golden Lager, their first beer, hits the market in 1874 and is an instant success. Coors buys out his partner on May 4, 1880 to become sole owner of the company.


Colorado School of Mines established as a territorial institution, becoming a state institution in 1876 when Colorado attains statehood

June 20, 1874

First T-Rex fossil, a tooth, discovered on South Table Mountain by Jarvis Hall student Peter T. Dotson

November 21, 1874

Citizens petition County Commissioners to offer a reward of $500 of county funds for the apprehension and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the cold-blooded murders of James Clayton and Ransom Slate, recently murdered while in Weld County.


The Centennial House is built in Golden Gate Canyon

August 1, 1876

Colorado becomes 38th state with a population of 135,000 citizens


George Parfet begins mining clay in mine just south of Brooks Field, right next to the White Ash Coal Mine

April 20, 1877

Reverend Arthur Lakes discovers dinosaur fossils in the Morrison Formation along the Dakota Hogback near the town of Morrison. This was the first major, and one of the most important, dinosaur discoveries in North America.

June 23, 1877

Cornerstone laid for the original Jefferson County Courthouse at 1501 Washington Avenue Courthouse and jail opened February 15, 1878, demolished in 1963.


April 1878

Jarvis and Mathews Halls burn to the ground, leaving Mines building standing alone


September 1, 1879

First Jefferson County telephone service started by Golden Telephone and Dispatch Company

October 14, 1879

County Clerk's office gets a telephone

October 24, 1879

Golden Opera House, Jefferson County’s first theatrical venue, opens on Washington Avenue