#9Neighborhoods Arvada: A fast-growing suburb with rich farming history

ARVADA - Arvada is a fast-growing, family-friendly suburb to the northwest of Denver.

It has a rich Colorado history of gold mining, business development, farming and agriculture. Did you know it was once known as the Celery Capital of the World and the local vegetable was served for holiday dinners at the White House in the early 1900s?

Today, Arvada is home to 90 parks, a renowned performing arts center, and thousands of local businesses. Downtown, or Olde Town, is growing quickly, with several new restaurants and bars on the way.

Quick Facts:

Established: 1870
Population: 114,000
Size: 40 square miles
Median household income: $67,156
Average monthly rent:  $1,115
Average detached home price: $290,000

The Iconic Water Tower

The iconic Arvada Water Tower and related water system were completed in 1910, serving as a landmark since that date.  It was used to provide clean water to residents (up until 1977), who until that time had used water mainly from local streams and ditches. 


From Celery to City: Arvada’s History

Arvada was established in 1870, but its roots trace back to the state’s first documented gold strike in a tributary along Clear Creek. Today, that is known as Ralston Creek, for Lewis Ralston who struck gold there on June 22, 1850.

Today, Gold Strike Park is located at Ralston’s discovery-point near 56th Avenue and Ralston Road. Without Mr. Ralston's gold discovery, the history of today's Denver and vicinity would be something very different.

The original Wadsworth in the late 1800s was simply a dirt road, along the section line, serving farmers to the north and south of Arvada. 

Hackberry Hill:

 

At the crest of the hill (at today’s W. 72nd & Wadsworth), a gnarled old Hackberry tree was growing and the early settlers respected this lone Hackberry Tree by curving their road around it. There it stayed until February 1937, when the State Highway intended to straighten the curve at the crest of Hackberry Hill. The tree was cut down in the middle of the night by person(s) unknown at the time, even though the highway department had agreed to move the tree which had been growing since 1807.

Once known as the ‘Celery Capital of the World,’ Arvada Pascal celery was renowned throughout the world for decades.

Its roots can be traced to Pascal Lossasso, an Italian immigrant who moved to Denver around 1885. It has been documented that Herbert Hoover served it at the White House, and there are even tales of Teddy Roosevelt enjoying the vegetable!

The Arvada Flour Mill:

The Arvada Flour Mill began operating in early 1926, with the flour named "Arva-Pride".  Eugene Emory Benjamin, an experienced miller, began building his new mill near the railroad in the summer of 1925.  Check out our Instagram post for the story about the gold his wife found in a chicken’s neck that encouraged crews to come build the mill!

In 1975, the Arvada Historical Society placed the Mill on the National Register of Historic Places - the first such designation anywhere in Arvada.

 

In the early 1900s, Arvada held an annual Strawberry Festival in the early spring when the strawberries first ripened.  Colorado’s fickle weather frequently dumped snow on the celebrants, who finally gave up fighting “Mother Nature”.

Where the Wick Hill Farm stood in 1918, an old silo remains today: 

 

 

In October 1925, Arvada’s citizens celebrated the “Paved Road” - the first Arvada Harvest Festival,which is today the second oldest community celebration in Colorado (only the Greeley Stampede, established in 1922, is older).

Prior to the summer of 1925, the section of Grandview on the way to Denver had been unpaved, dry and dusty. Citizens planned and enjoyed an elaborate celebration which remains alive today!

Grandview Avenue, Old Towne Arvada:

 

 

St. Anne's Catholic Church: 

 

Modern Times: An Expanding City

Arvada is also the birthplace of the King Soopers chain, with Lloyd J. King opening his first grocery in June 1947 where today the new Arvada Library sits at West 57th Avenue and Webster Street.

Today, Arvada is home to more than 14,600 businesses. The city, as well as companies, are building like crazy in anticipation of the Regional Transportation District (RTD)'s G, or Gold, line to Arvada (and Wheat Ridge), which will open this coming October.

The G line is one of several light-rail lines that are part of the sprawling FasTracks project meant to transform metro Denver into a true transit city.

RTD already has $5.5 billion worth of FasTracks projects either completed, under construction or under contract — with another $1.4 billion to $1.8 billion in projects planned.

Some examples of restaurants, businesses and projects in Olde Town that are under construction or review include: Grandview Grill Patio; Homegrown Tap & Dough; Park Place Olde Town; Olde Town Transit Hub and Olde Town Station; Steuben's and Kline's.

In addition, Red Rocks Community College is expanding its Arvada campus, home to its Health Science program.

Centura Health in December opened its first hybrid emergency/urgent care center at 16280 W. 64th Ave. Like many other free-standing emergency centers, they are staffed by physicians and nurses, but are unique in that they don't charge the significantly higher prices assessed by other centers.

Living, renting and raising a family in Arvada

The median home value in Arvada is $327,100, and home values have jumped a staggering 17.2 percent over the past year.  However, there are currently about 60 residential projects under construction or under review by the City of Arvada's community development department, ranging from single-family home developments to new apartment complexes. Last July, WalletHub named Arvada the 13th best city in the U.S. for first-time homebuyers.

Arvada rents have risen more quickly than any other metro Denver city, jumping 8.9 percent in the past year, according to Apartment List's April 2016 report. Hopefully, some of that upward pressure on rents will be alleviated, with many highly-anticipated apartment projects under construction, such as the 352-apartment complex coming to Olde Town Arvada in fall 2017.

Arvada's thriving apartment scene has also led to some impressive recent commercial real estate deals — including the $20.6 million sale of the Marketplace complex at 7797 W. 52nd Ave. and the $54.9 million sale of the massive Arvada Marketplace-Connection shopping center at 52nd Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard.

Jeffco Public Schools is Arvada's school district. The city has multiple elementary, middle and high schools, including the top-rated West Woods Elementary, Meiklejohn Elementary, Ralston Valley Senior High and Vanderhoof Elementary. 
 

Copyright 2016 KUSA


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
More Stories