Longmont, Colorado, is a city with a rich history. Founded in 1871 by a group of prospectors during the Colorado Gold Rush, the town was initially called the “City of Longs Peak” after the towering mountain that looms to the north. In 1874, the name was shortened to Longmont, and the city was incorporated.
Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Longmont grew steadily as a farming and ranching community. In 1941, the US Army established an air base in Longmont, leading to rapid growth during World War II. After the war, the air base was closed, but Longmont grew as a suburban community for Denver commuters. Today, Longmont is a thriving city with a population of over 86,000 people.
The Gold Rush Days
Longmont’s history began in 1871 when a group of gold prospectors from Chicago staked their claim on land along the St. Vrain River. The prospectors were drawn to the area by stories of gold found in the river. They built a crude cabin and began panning for gold, but they had no luck. Undeterred, they decided to stay in the area and start farming. They planted crops and built irrigation ditches to water them. The settlers also erected a sawmill to provide lumber for their cabins and outbuildings.
Within a few years, word of the fertile land along the St. Vrain had spread, and more settlers arrived. The settlement increased, and by 1874 it had been officially incorporated as the City of Longs Peak. In 1876, the city’s name was shortened to Longmont.
The Early Years
Throughout the late 19th century, Longmont continued to grow as a farming and ranching community. Wheat and corn were among the most popular crops grown in the area, and dairy farms were also typical, and many residents worked in the dairy industry. In addition to agriculture, coal mining was also an essential part of Longmont’s economy during this period.
In 1941, everything changed when the United States Army established an air base outside of town. The base brought thousands of new people to Longmont and led to a period of rapid growth. During World War II, fighter pilots used the air base as a training ground. After the war ended, the air base was closed, but Longmont grew as a suburban community for Denver commuters.
Today, Longmont is a thriving city with over 101,000 people. The city is home to several large employers, including IBM and Seagate Technology. Arts and culture are also essential parts of life in Longmont; there are numerous art galleries and performance venues in town, and the Boulder County Fairgrounds host several events throughout the year. Outdoor recreation is also popular in Longmont; over 200 miles of trails wind through town, perfect for hiking or biking!
Longmont has come a long way since its days as a small frontier town during the Colorado Gold Rush. Today, it is a thriving city with a rich history and plenty of things to do! Whether you’re interested in arts and culture or outdoor recreation, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Longmont!