ROXBOROUGH - Roxborough isn’t a town, but rather an area in southwestern Douglas County known for stunning red rock formations, state and national park land, historical sites and beautiful homes.
The community is 15 miles from Littleton, and 25 miles southwest of Denver, keeping a rural feeling despite being surrounded by suburban cities. There’s still plenty of wildlife to be spotted, too!
Join us Friday for our Instagram tour of the Roxborough neighborhood.
Roxborough’s ‘Mammoth’ History
Roxborough’s iconic, two-hundred foot red rock formations were created about 68 million years ago, forming a natural barrier between plains and mountains.
Thousands of years later, the famous Stephen H. Long’s Expedition would reach the region in the 1820s.
Arapahoe, Cheyenne and Ute Indians made their home in the Roxborough area, which sits in unincorporated Douglas County, until the 1860s.
By the 1870s, the railroads had reached the region which was becoming more settled by folks looking to have homesteads, farms and ranches.
Small communities began springing up along the South Platte River and creeks to support miners, loggers, farmers, ranchers, and others in the valley, according to a book written by local historians, Char Nauman and Flo Tonelli.
The Helmer family owned thousands of acres in the Roxborough area. Their holdings stretched from the nearby small community of Waterton to what is now known as the Sundance Ranch in Roxborough State Park.
Their 400 head of registered Hereford cattle roamed freely except when shown at stock shows and competitions all over the West.
In 1961, a fascinating discovery was made, when a nearby rancher named Charles Lamb was enlarging a pond on his land.
As his equipment dug into the earth, he discovered bones!
Archeologists would spend the next few decades unearthing the remains of more than 30 mammals, including mammoths, camels, ground sloths the size of an ox, and other Ice Age animals that lived in the area an estimated 13,000 years ago.
As a result of the find, archeologists now believe Lamb Springs Ranch may have been home to early humans who used the site to butcher their kill.
Roxborough State Park received the 2016 State Archeologist Award from History Colorado. International Archeology Day is October 15 and the park celebrates with a family-friendly event highlighting their history.
Information from the Roxborough Historical Society and History Colorado. The Roxborough Historical Society is a team of volunteers who have worked to compile a history of the region, from fossils to industry and more. It was formed in 2007, and hosts various events within the community throughout the year.
Roxborough Park: Origins and History
Henry S. Persse, whose home still sits, restored by the State Historical Fund, in Roxborough Park, was a steward for craftsmanship in Colorado.
Persse came to Colorado in 1882 after reading about the mountains in his native state of New York.
In 1889, he acquired the land south of Denver, first naming it “Washington Park,” although he would later rename it "Roxborough Park" after his family’s estate in County Galway, Ireland.
He built a small cabin and in 1903, built a solid stone house which was frequented by wealthy Denver citizens and government officials.
In 1907, the Denver Republican reported Persse's plans to build a "splendid resort" with "a first class 200 room hotel, golf links, a club house, a well stocked lake, charming driveways, and comfortable cottages all placed in surroundings said to be the most beautiful."
Visitors would travel there from Englewood via a state-of-the-art electric train.
He never got to the hotel, or the golf course, or the electric train, but Roxborough Park still became a Front Range getaway for the rich and famous.
Persse died on Monday, August 26, 1918, when a tramway car struck him as he crossed the intersection of Milwaukee and Twelfth Avenue in Denver.
His desire to share the area's beauty with family, friends, and the general public remained very much alive, and in 1975 the Colorado State Division of Parks purchased five hundred acres of the Persse family property, forming Roxborough State Park.
Today, the park is 3,319 acres and recognized as a National Natural Landmark and National Cultural District designation. Persse's stone house is located within the Roxborough Park Archaeological District.
To reach the Persse Place, hike 1.1 miles north from the Visitor Center on the Fountain Valley Trail.
Roxborough is a quiet, ritzy neighborhood about 20 miles south of Denver in Littleton. The area has about 9,270 residents with a median income of just over $100,000, according to Livability.
Within a stone's throw of the neighborhood is Roxborough State Park, a 4,000-acre area with breathtaking red rock formations, a wide variety of wildlife and plants and miles and miles of trails, including a challenging 6.4 mile trek to the 7,160-square-foot Carpenter Peak.
See all the trails available to hike in the park here. (Remember, no dogs are allowed in the park.)
The neighborhood also has 12 miles of private trails that connect with both the Roxborough State Park trails and the nearby Pike National Forest trails.
The median price for homes in Roxborough Park is pricey — at about $511,000, according to real estate website Zillow.
Homes there are often custom-built, and many sit on one or more acres of private land. Homes come in all sizes, ranging from about 1,500 square feet to 10,000 square feet.
Just next to the neighborhood is the Arrowhead golf course, a highly-recommended, 18-hole public course with views of the red rock formations nearby.
A massive planned community is in the works for nearby Northwestern Douglas County, called Sterling Ranch, spanning more than 3,000 acres, with homes ranging from the $300s to much pricier. The project plans a 20-year build-out and broke ground in 2015.
Among the many small, locally-owned businesses are the popular Angel's Share Kitchen & Pub at 8361 Rampart Range 101, which serves delicious combinations of food like Mediterranean chicken tacos, vindaloo and crostini — as well as JP's Asian Bistro at 8351 N Rampart Range Rd., where patrons are rewarded with Chinese food staples like the orange chicken and fried spring rolls.
Residents also frequent the Waterton Tavern, at 8361 N. Rampart Range Rd., for expertly mixed cocktails and better-than-average bar food.
Roxborough also gives residents somewhat easy access to both Chatfield Reservoir and the Chatfield Botanic Gardens, both of which are about a 10-minute drive up the road.
This weekend is the Roxborough Music Festival, in its 6th year. Starting at 5:00 on Friday, September 9, five bands and musicians will perform on the Guitar Center stage just in front of Angel’s Share Wine Pub.
Music goes until late and ends with a jam fest with various artists!
Beginning at noon on Saturday, two stages will fill with music and there are plenty of activities for the kiddos, too.
Find more community events on Roxborough's Community Event Calendar.
Copyright 2016 KUSA