Today (8/1/2016) marks the 140th birthday of the State of Colorado. On August 1, 1876 Colorado officially became a state. What was Edgewater like in 1876?
In 1876, the land that now is Edgewater was an open prairie. Legend tells us that around 1861 Thomas Sloan dug a well and out poured spring water that became Sloan’s Lake. The first house in the original boundaries of Edgewater, built by George Noll at 2461 Ames Street, wouldn’t be built until 1890. The home at 6900 W. 29th Avenue, which is now in the boundaries of Edgewater, was built in 1870. Manhattan Beach Amusement Park wouldn’t open at the northwest corner of Sloan’s Lake until 1881.
According to Lonton Tautfest, who wrote about Edgewater’s history in Edgewater’s Golden Anniversary pamphlet (1951), “There were hardly any trees at all, except apple trees on West 26th Avenue. There were a few shrubs of trees. There was no grass or flowers because water was not available for watering them. The ground was white with alkali and would not permit things to grow.”
Stories are also told of an Indian tribe that traveled down from the mountains in the winter. Their wigwams could be seen at the northwest corner of Sloan’s Lake. One can imagine travelers, cattle herders and others stopping at Sloan’s Lake for water before they headed to Golden and into the mountains.
But in 1876, what is now the City of Edgewater, was just a barren prairie at the edge of Sloan’s Lake.