Incorporated Towns of Weld County

The historical information provided in the accordions below was taken from the book, Weld County Towns: The First 150 Years, researched by Nancy Lourine Lynch. For more specific information, visit the City of Greeley Museums.

Map of Weld County showing incorporated towns (marked by red dots).

Ault Dacono Eaton Erie Evans Firestone Fort Lupton Frederick Garden City Gilcrest Greeley Grover Hudson johnstown Keenesburg Kersey La Salle Lochbuie Mead Milliken New Raymer Nunn Pierce Platteville.pdf Severance Windsor


The Denver Pacific Railroad constructed their tracks from Cheyenne to the location known as present day Ault on November 11, 1869. The rail siding was named McCallister, after a railroad official. In the 1880s, it became a cattle shipping point for the nearby Wyatt Brothers Ranch. After the rail road master Burghdorf was killed at the crossing, the siding was renamed Burghdorf. In 1898, it was renamed Ault to honor a mule and grain buyer, Alexander Ault, who bought wheat in difficult times saving many local farmers from bankruptcy. The town of Ault was incorporated in 1904 and is located at the intersection of Highways 85 and 14 with ranching and farming as its core resources. Ault was the site of a sugar beet dump for the Eaton Sugar Factory between 1913 and 1985. The letters in “AULT” were used for a branding acronym to keep the town name memorable; “A Unique Little Town.”


Dacono was the second coal mining town of a trio of towns northeast of Erie, along with Firestone and Fredrick. They are commonly referred to as the Tri- town or Carbon Valley area. Dacono was founded by and then named by Charles Baum, a coal mining executive. He named it after three ladies he admired, Daisy (his wife) and Cora and Nora (friends of his wife), selecting the first two letters from each ladies’ name. Da, Co and No. Dacono had the first railroad depot of Tri-Town and through the 1930s passenger cars were running several times a day between Denver and Fort Collins, and coal cars were filling up hourly. The mines are now closed, but coal has not been Dacono’s only resource. Dacono farms have produced sugar beets, corn, wheat, and tomatoes.


In 1882, Colorado Senator Benjamin Eaton (later Governor) mapped the town he called Eatonton along the Union Pacific rail line, naming the streets for trees to inspire residents to plant them. Eatonton’s name was shortened to Eaton in 1883 because “Eaton” was the name of their train station, built from bricks made in town.

About that same time, the town built a fence around farms from the Larimer County line to the fence encircling Greeley to deter free range cattle. It was a disappointment as a barrier and was soon replaced by the farmers’ sturdier fences.

The Big Store was Eaton’s department store of the late 1800s, able to sell everything from groceries to hardware to farm implements. Run by Aaron Eaton (the governor’s eldest son) and his uncle, James Hill, it also served as community center, church, music hall, and auditorium.

By 1890 there were several Eaton area coal mines, lumber and brick yards and a newspaper (published in the Big Store). In 1892, Eaton was incorporated and ten years later the first sugar factory in Weld County was built in town.


In the late 1860s, the Erie location was a stage stop along the route between Laramie and Denver. A mining camp was built at that same location in 1870 next to Weld County’s first commercial coal mine. The camp was named Erie by Reverend Van Valkenburg after his home town of Erie, Pennsylvania. The Denver Pacific Railroad built a rail line spur to Erie for coal and settlers. People and freight in Denver that were going to Longmont or Boulder could take the train to Erie then a wagon could be hired to go the rest of the way.

Cave-ins, poisonous gasses, loose rocks, flooding, and the risk of falling into a shaft made coal mining a dangerous and too often fatal job. The first miners’ strike in Erie was in 1871 to improve conditions in the mines. In 1935, many Erie streets caved in due to mine shafts that were cut too close to the surface.

In the early 1900s, Kuner Empson built a pickle factory with a salting station next to the railroad tracks at the south end of Erie.

Though Erie became an incorporated town in 1874, the streets were not marked and residents literally did not know their addresses until street signs were installed in the 1940s.

“When you got big enough to carry a dinner bucket without it bouncin’ along the ground, you were big enough to go down in the mine.” Joe “Cotton” Fletcher, Erie miner.


September 28, 1869, the stage coach dropped off several men at what was to be a rail head for the Denver Pacific Railroad, connecting Cheyenne to Denver, the site of present day Evans. This new town site attracted many early residents of the Platte River Valley and the railroad built a depot called “Stage,” for Bill Stage a popular railroad brakeman.

Denver and Pacific Railroad tracks reached this site November 8, 1869. Stage was renamed Evans for former Governor John Evans, and the town was platted on November 22, 1869. At that point the Weld County Commissioners moved the county seat from Latham to Evans and authorized construction of a calaboose (jail).

Greeley was known for being a “dry” town, no alcohol was allowed. In contrast, Evans became known for its saloons. The most popular was Jack O’Grady’s, housed in the building that was originally the United Presbyterian Church. The saloons were concentrated on what is now Central Street between 38th and 39th Streets, and included Paul Hentchell’s, Jordenilli’s, Fritz Neimeyers and Camnitzer & Lucas.

Accusations of fraud, ballot stuffing, and theft followed by enraged citizens vowing revenge surrounded a contention between Greeley and Evans over the county seat. Weld County Commissioners finally passed a resolution in 1877 confirming the county seat in Greeley with an injunction to keep it in Greeley.

“There were four saloons here then...all had signs ‘No Women Allowed’ - Katie Moore (1901-1990) Evans resident


St. Vrain State Park near Firestone is the location where Fort Junction was built: it was a sod fortress built during the Colorado War (1863-1865). It was constructed by the Lower Boulder St. Vrain Valley Home Guard, a volunteer militia organized to protect local settlers from Native American attacks.

John McKissick and his brothers were in the St. Vrain Valley Home Guard. This affiliation lead to John being elected Weld County Sheriff in 1865 and his brother, Thomas, succeeded him in 1867. The McKissick brothers purchased railroad land in southwestern Weld County to establish a coal mine; in 1872 they opened the McKissick, Colorado’s first production coal mine (mine requiring tunnels, mining equipment and employees).

It was located where today’s Saddleback Golf Course is in Firestone. In 1907, the Denslow Coal & Land Company purchased 160 acres of Thomas McKissick’s land from his widow. That same year Ohio brothers Jacob H. Firestone and David R. Firestone and their nephew John H. Buchanan and his son Clarence S. Buchanan bought Denslow out and started the Firestone Coal Company, establishing the Firestone coal mine. A town was established there in 1908, named Firestone, after Jacob Firestone.

Up until 1947 five coal mines operated in Firestone. During its production Firestone’s Grant Mine produced enough coal to fill a coal train 200 miles long. The coal train tracks have since been abandoned and where the old train track bed was is now the Firestone Trail. Over 12 miles long, this trail connects area parks, the St. Vrain Legacy Trail and the Colorado Front Range Trail. T

Fort Lupton

In Indian Territory in 1836 a fur trading post was established by Lancaster Lupton on the his buildings of adobe bricks and first named his trading post Fort Lancaster and then renamed it Fort Lupton circa 1844. Trading with Cheyenne, Arapaho, and mountain men, the fort was taken over in 1846 by the Bent brothers, owners of Bent's Fort near present day La Junta, Colorado. Fur trade was dwindling by the late 1840s, and the fort was abandoned.

Beginning in 1859, the Colorado gold rush brought settlers to the South Platte River Valley. Some settled near where the remains of Lupton’s fort stood. In 1861 the Town of Fort Lupton’s first post office was established, and irrigation ditches were constructed watering dozens of farms.

Fort Lupton maintained a stage coach station until 1870 when it was superseded by the railroad. In 1879, William G. Winbourn persuaded railroad representatives to extend a sidetrack to the center of his land that included old Fort Lupton. In 1881, Winbourn established the town of Fort Lupton by the railroad sidetrack a mile south of the original fort.

Fort Lupton became a busy agricultural community producing cattle, sheep and poultry, several vegetable canning and shipping companies, a sugar processing factory, a condensed milk plant and several feed processing businesses. Aims Community College opened its Fort Lupton campus in 1984, and as of 2009 Fort Lupton is Weld County’s second largest city (after Greeley).


Initially named McKissick for the land-mine owner, Frederick was renamed when the daughters of Frederick A. Clark laid out the townsite in 1907 and named it for their father. That first year Frederick began as a coal mining town attracting immigrants from Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, several Slavic countries, and Latin America. The Frederick Coal mine closed in 1928 yet remains of underground mine shafts below the streets can still cause problems. Each September Frederick holds a Miners Day celebration. Frederick has seen unprecedented growth due to its proximity to Denver. Its population in the 2000 census was 2,467 and in 2009 Frederick had over 8,000 residents.

Garden City

Following the repeal of U. S. Prohibition (1919-1933), L.P. Norton of Evans tried to open a liquor store in Greeley, a community that had not allowed alcohol sales or consumption since 1870. Norton’s liquor store was shut down by angry Greeley citizens. So, he gathered enough signatures to create a town on Greeley’s southern border where selling liquor would be legal. The first request was denied in court, but a second attempt in 1936 successfully incorporated Garden City. Garden City and neighboring Rosedale (1939) were nicknamed Boozeville by Greeley residents, becoming a place where locals could legally buy and drink alcoholic beverages. The two towns consolidated in 1988 into Garden City.


The town of Nantes (1887-1907), situated along the Union Pacific Railway, was failing. A lumber tycoon from Iowa, W. K. Gilcrest, acquired much of the property around Nantes in 1907. He began building a new community on the bones of Nantes, renaming the town after his father, Jacob K. Gilcrest. Keeping with their temperance ideals, all Gilcrest deeds prohibited the sale of intoxicating liquors. Within a couple years the Gilcrest Park and streets had 1,000 trees planted around them and a dozen businesses had opened to serve its 300 citizens. Between 1913 and 1977 the Greeley Great Western Sugar Factory operated a sugar beet dump at the Gilcrest railroad station. W. K. Gilcrest became a Colorado state legislator in 1915 and was instrumental in routing the Greeley-Denver Highway (now U. S. Highway 85) through LaSalle, Peckham and Gilcrest.


In 1869, Nathan Meeker, agricultural editor of the New York Tribune, arrived in Colorado to write about going West to farm. His boss, Horace Greeley, encouraged pioneering so when Meeker proposed the idea of starting a utopian Western colony, Greeley was eager help organize and promote it.

The colony’s name was suggested by John Leavy, who stated that since they were all united in creating a utopian colony, it should be called the Union Colony. Their guiding principles were temperance, cooperation, agriculture, irrigation, education, faith, home and family.

Set between the Cache la Poudre and the South Platte Rivers for irrigation, halfway between Denver and Cheyenne on the Denver Pacific Railroad, colonists wanted to name the town Meeker, but Mr. Meeker did not favor that. Greeley was chosen instead and Horace Greeley was delighted. Colonists began arriving in April of 1870.

Every Greeley deed stated that no drinking alcohol was to be bought, sold or consumed. There were several attempts to get around this, but it wasn’t until 1969 that alcohol became legal in Greeley’s city limits.

Greeley and neighboring Evans had personality clashes from the start. Evans was a few months older and allowed saloons to thrive. Meanwhile, Greeley was touting its founding principals, digging irrigation ditches and building fences. Both vied for the county seat. Then in 1877, Weld County Commissioners passed a resolution and obtained an injunction to keep the county seat in Greeley.


Also known as Point of Rocks and Chatoga, the town of Grover was named by the first postmaster, Neal Donovan, for his wife Dollie Grover in 1885. The Grover station was built on the Union Pacific Railroad in 1887 and grew very slowly. Since 1923 the Earl Anderson Memorial Rodeo has been held annually at Grover, one of the smallest officially sanctioned events of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association. The 18th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution prohibited the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol for drinking. Beer and liquor, (booze) was not available legally. However, many men began bootlegging (referring to hiding booze in the leg of a boot), illegally manufacturing, transporting and selling liquor. In 1929 to drive bootleggers out of Grover, the townswomen banded together and elected all women to local offices.


In 1883 the Hudson Post Office was established along with a railroad water and supply stop with a section house for the Union Pacific along their new Colorado line between Denver and Eckley. John M. Lapp filed a plat in 1887 for the Hudson City Land and Improvement Company (the town’s namesake). Land speculation was booming and a second plat was filed for an additional 3,000 lots in 1889.

The creation of the Henrylyn Municipal Irrigation District in 1907 brought more land speculators, permanent residents and a newspaper. Approximately 75 farmers from Kansas and Oklahoma moved to Hudson between 1910 and 1913 and the town incorporated in Weld County in 1914.

By 1930 the Henrylyn Municipal Irrigation District was irrigating 34,617 acres of southeast Weld County with water from the South Platte River. This helped to transform Hudson into a successful farming and agricultural community.


In approximately 1883, Harvey J. Parish homesteaded 80 acres between the Big Thompson and Little Thompson Rivers. He then married Mary Wygal. Five children and nearly 20 years later they began planning a town on their land along the Great Western Railway.

In 1902 Parish’s youngest son, seven-year-old John, was rushed to a hospital with a ruptured appendix. John’s father told him to “hurry up and get well” because their town was being named “John’s Town” in his honor. On November 8, 1902, Johnstown was established and not only did John recover, but he later served as Johnstown’s mayor from 1929 to 1934.

A plan was discussed in 1905 of moving Johnstown to the site of Hillsboro because a new railroad was going to bypass Johnstown. The railroad failed and the move never happened.

In 1911 wooden buildings on west Main Street were destroyed by fire, and were later replaced by brick. Johnstown kept growing and benefited from the Mohawk (later Carnation) Condensed Milk Co. and the Great Western Sugar Company's barium sugar plant, which was the only one of its kind in the world.

Following their new downtown design guidelines, Johnstown approved a program in 2009 to provide matching grants to businesses restoring original storefronts and upgrading façades.


Keene Station, named for local homesteader Les Keene, was built along the Burlington-Missouri River Railroad line in 1882. Station business was primarily shipping from yearly cattle drives.

In 1906 the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad built a depot at Keene and requested a post office. In 1907 the post office was established but to keep it from being confused with Keene, Nebraska its name was changed to Keenesburg.

Most of Keenesburg’s residents raised livestock or were dry land farmers. Keenesburg was incorporated in 1919 and grew to support a newspaper, the Keene Valley Sun in 1924. By the end of the 1920s the Henrylyn Irrigation System was completed. In the early 1930s irrigation wells were dug allowing Keenesburg farmers to produce more from their crops.


The Union Pacific Railroad line allowed a shipping depot to be built in 1884 at Orr, provided they change the name. Orr was too similar to other station names on that line. The local rail road master, James Kersey Painter, changed it to that of his mother’s maiden name, Kersey.

On November 10, 1908, the Kersey citizens voted to incorporate, creating an officially recognized town. Most of Kersey’s settlement was in surrounding farms and ranches, producing everything from sugar beets and potatoes to steers and sheep.

In 1920 Kersey had grown to include a newspaper, butcher shop, bakery, drug store, bank, ice factory, hay mill, livery barn, harness and shoe shop, and a baseball park, two pool halls (one maintained a cigar factory in back), grain elevators, barbershops, lumber yards, dance halls, doctors, hotels, cafes, three grocery stores plus a brick two-story high school. Kersey churches served Methodists, Baptists and Evangelists. There were two movies shown every week in Woodman’s Hall, though there were fewer than one thousand Kersey area residents.


The Denver Pacific Railroad (DPRR) from Cheyenne reached the present La Salle town site May 11, 1870. By 1875 La Salle had a depot, section house, and coal chutes but it wasn’t until 1881 that a town began to develop as the Union Pacific bought out the DPRR and extended a line 151 miles southwestward from Julesburg, meeting the Cheyenne to Denver line at La Salle.

The most likely theory about the naming of La Salle is that it was named after the La Salle railroad station in Chicago, named for the French explorer, Robert Cavalier Sieur de la Salle (1643-1687).

In 1886 the LaSalle Post Office was established and the town was platted in 1891. In 1909 the railroad built a four-stall roundhouse to turn train engines, a rail car repair shop and a 60,000 gallon water tank and the town grew to provide major passenger and freight service. LaSalle was incorporated in 1910.

LaSalle’s bridge over the South Platte River was built in 1936. The final portion of the first concrete highway in Colorado was opened between Greeley and LaSalle in September 1954. UPRR received a protest in 1955 from the coalition of Greeley, Eaton and LaSalle about a plan to discontinue local train passenger services between Cheyenne and Denver, but eventually the service was closed.


Gordon McClain owned land along the Weld-Adams County line next to I-80 S Highway and in 1961 developed a 12-acre mobile home subdivision. It was named Spacious Living, nicknamed Space City. In 1974, to be able to improve their water and sewer systems, residents voted to incorporate, naming their new town Lochbuie. McClain’s grandparents’ ancestral home was Lochbuie, Isle of Mull, Scotland. In Scottish-Gaelic the spelling would be Locha Buidhe, meaning Lake of the Fair-haired clan. In July 1976, Highway I-80S was renumbered to I-76 and remains a major regional highway along the southern side of Lochbuie. I-76 runs between the western terminus in Arvada and the eastern end at I-80 in Nebraska. Denver International Airport (DIA) opened in 1995 motivating Lochbuie’s growth to over 2,000 residents.


The Great Western Railroad ran a line between Johnstown and Longmont to transport sugar beets to the sugar factory in Longmont. The railway passed through Paul Mead’s property. His uncle, L. C. Mead, had homesteaded nearby and founded the neighboring town of Highlandlake.

When it was determined the railroad line would not cross through Highlandlake, Paul Mead platted a new town in 1906 adjacent to the tracks, naming it Mead for his father, Dr. Martin Mead. Mead was incorporated in 1908.

At its peak the town of Mead had a couple dozen businesses and stores including; a hotel, two saloons, a filling station, two auto garages, two doctors’ offices, a bank a newspaper - Mead Messenger, and a pickle factory, a hay mill and a pea-hulling factory. Two of the churches in existence then are still active today.

The land surrounding Mead is prime agricultural land with numerous irrigation reservoirs serving Mead’s farmers and ranchers.


The Denver, Laramie & Northwestern Railroad (DLNWRR) established Milliken Station, named for John D. Milliken, on its line between Denver and Laramie outside of the former town of Hillsboro in 1909. Transportation of agricultural products from Milliken to various markets were among DLNWRR’s goals.

The town’s 1909 plat included the final Hillsboro site and the last of Hillsboro’s businesses were moved into Milliken. The town grew rapidly and supported over a dozen businesses including a 16 room hotel, sugar beet dump, and a newspaper, The Milliken Mail.

However, the DLNWRR line terminated at Greeley, far short of its goal. Construction in Greeley was taken over by the Greeley Terminal Railway the rest was purchased by Great Western Railway or abandoned and removed.

A disastrous fire, the first of several, burned downtown Milliken in 1911. Yet, the growth of the sugar beet industry and its transport on the former DLNWRR rails kept Milliken a hub of sugar-related commerce.

New Raymer

After disappearing for nearly 15 years - see the “Raymer” story in the Ghost Towns of Weld County section - the town of Raymer was given the opportunity to rise again. In 1909, the Meacham family, followed by R. C. Pitcairn, were the first recorded homesteaders. Pitcairn created plans for a new town in the previous Raymer location. In July of 1910, the plat was filed to reestablish the town as Raymer.

In the same year of 1910, because of the similarity to Ramah, a village east of Colorado Springs, Raymer’s post office was re-established as New Raymer. However, the town continued to be known as Raymer in all Weld County documents and reached a population of 417 in the 1920s.

Aside from the well for the railroad, Raymer had no viable water source. The drought and economic depression of the 1930s caused the population to plummet. A well was eventually dug in 1969 and Raymer’s houses finally received running water. It is thought that improved access to paved roads leading to larger towns kept Raymer’s businesses from prospering.


The area directly west of present-day Nunn was called Maynard Flats, named after Adjunct General Joseph S. Maynard, American Civil War veteran and Weld County pioneer. In 1869, the Denver Pacific Railroad built their rail line from Cheyenne to Denver adjacent to Maynard Flats. During the early 1900s, an influx of homesteaders inspired Cheyenne real estate agents to build a real estate office on the Nunn site and a town developed there. For the town plat in 1906, the first name selected was Maynard. However, a railroad foreman preferred to name it for Tom Nunn, a local homesteader who saved a train by flagging it down after he discovered a bridge on fire about a mile north of Pierce. The town of Nunn was incorporated in 1908 and, as of 2009, agriculture remains the primary economic force in the surrounding community of approximately 470 residents. The High Plains Historical Society maintains the Northern Drylanders Museum in Nunn.


Pierce was the second station in Weld County on the Denver Pacific Railroad (D.P.R.R.) in 1869 and had a section house, water tank and siding. It was named after General John Pierce who was the surveyor general for Colorado Territory who later became the 4th President of the D.P.R.R. Pierce was established in 1903 when the post office opened and platted by in 1906 and in 1907. The town was incorporated in 1918 with a clause in all land deeds that prohibited the manufacture or sale of intoxicants in the town under penalty of forfeiture of title to all property. As a railroad stop, it became a local shipping point for cattle, sheep, potatoes, beans, and sugar beets.


The Platte River Land Company built a “village on the Platte” along the Denver Pacific Railroad line between Denver and Cheyenne, Wyoming, a temperance colony, similar to Greeley’s Union Colony. Named for the nearby South Platte River, the colony town of Platteville was surveyed and the plat filed on July 17, 1871, in Weld County. Lots were auctioned in New York City and Chicago to attract settlers, but only a few actually relocated to Platteville.

Platteville grew slowly, becoming responsible for the Fort Vasquez School in 1873. Platteville took over St. Vrain Post Office in 1875, as the Platteville Post Office. In 1879, the town’s population was just 50 people.

The first successful crop in the area was potatoes, and a coal mine began operation in 1887. Platteville remained dry (no drinking alcohol allowed) until the election of 1889 when the “wets ran strong”, and Platteville’s first liquor license was sold for $2,400 for a liquor store.

Platteville’s Mizpah (watchtower) Club maintains the town’s cemetery and in 1932 built the first Platteville Library. A new library building remains part of Platteville Pioneer Museum, staffed by the Platteville Historical Society.


In 1894, David E. Severance applied for a post office for a community of approximately 50 families to be named Tailholt. However, because Mr. Severance put in for the post office it was erroneously named Severance and just stayed that way. Mail for Severance was carried to and from Eaton, then later from Windsor, by horse and buggy. A promotion began in the early 1900s to persuade farmers to raise sugar beets so a sugar factory would be built in neighboring Windsor. The necessary acreage was pledged and the Windsor factory was built in 1903, becoming the Great Western Sugar Company in 1905. Then Severance became a sugar beet receiving station and dump on the Great Western Railway, operating until 1985. Severance was founded by Bruce Eaton, the son of Governor Benjamin Eaton in 1906 and by 1920 the town had enough residents to incorporate, with 40 votes for and 0 against.


From the early 1860s farmers and ranchers were settling near the Cache la Poudre River. Settlements at what became Windsor were named Cache La Poudre or West Poudre Settlement (1859), Halfway House (1860s), Hiltonville (1873), Wellers (1878), London and New London (1882) and Hollister (1882).

With the completion of the Greeley Salt Lake and Pacific Railroad between Fort Collins and Greeley in 1881, land owner and founder Edward Hollister began mapping lots for this townsite. Research shows that the likely origin for the name is from Hollister’s home town of Windsor, New York. The town of Windsor was platted and named in 1882 and then incorporated as a town in Weld County in 1890.

Agriculture remained the economic center in Windsor and in 1903 Windsor Sugar Company’s factory opened and doubled in size by 1909. Prior to World War I (1914-1918) all sugar beet seeds were imported from Germany. When war with Germany seemed likely local sugar beet farmers began successfully producing their own sugar beet seeds.

In the late 1940s Windsor farmers began growing cucumbers for pickling for the Heinze Company. By 1952 Windsor delivered more “pickles” than any other station east of the Rocky Mountains.