Lakewood, Colorado 2020


Located west of the city of Denver at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, the city of Lakewood is the largest and most populous municipality in Jefferson County in the US state of Colorado. The town takes its name from original resident William Loveland and the name he gave to the housing estate he laid out in 1889. Although its growth was rapid, the community managed its development with a view to the future . Green spaces and parks occupy over 25% of the city‘s area, comprising 7,000 acres and over 160 km of trails.

Lakewood Geography and Climate

Aerial view of a residential neighborhood in Lakewood, Colorado.

Lakewood is located at the western end of the Great Plains and just east of the Front Range, which is part of the Rocky Mountains. The region is called the Colorado Piedmont, stretching along the base of the foothills and including the South Platte River watershed. Several tributaries of the river flow east through the region and the city, including Turkey Creek, Bear Creek, Lakewood Gulch, etc. The city sits at an elevation of 1,682 m above sea level. Lakewood is located at the junction of US Route 6 and Colorado State Highway 121. Just west of Denver, it lies 100 km northwest of Colorado Springs. It covers a total area of ​​115,635 km2, of which 112,595 km2 is land and 3,040 km2 is water. The west-central Lakewood region includes Green Mountain, a flat-topped mesa or ridge, rising 2,089 m above sea level.

According to the Köppen climate classification, Lakewood experiences a semi-arid climate with four seasons. Weather conditions are often changeable. Winters can be very cold and snowy with periods of mild weather, while summers can be warm to very hot. The temperature fluctuation between day and night averages around 30°F throughout the year. The average daytime high in December, the coldest month, is 47.1°F, with periods of cold, snowy weather where temperatures drop to freezing or below normal between December and February. Highs in July, the hottest month, average 86°F. Most precipitation typically falls between April and August, often in the form of afternoon thunderstorms.

Brief History of Lakewood

An old gas station at the Lakewood Heritage Center, Colorado
An old gas station at the Lakewood Heritage Center, Colorado.

The earliest Paleo-Indian tribes of hunter-gatherers inhabited Jefferson County in prehistoric times. Archaeological sites near Lakewood have revealed artifacts dating to around 4000 BC. The Ute Indians lived in the Front Range territory from the mid-16th century. The Arapaho and Cheyenne nations arrived in the early 19th century only to be expelled by the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867, which relocated them to Oklahoma. The gold rush of the late 1800s brought the first white settlers to the area, now Lakewood, from Denver. Urban development began in 1889 when Charles Welch and William Austin Hamilton Loveland, the newly retired president of the Colorado Central Railroad, mapped out a 13-block area along what is now Colfax Avenue west of Denver. in the eastern part of Jefferson County. Loveland purchased the land to retire to the new community. The first name given to the city was Jefferson County, Colorado, a designation granted on July 1, 1889, when the first subdivision was flat. Loveland then established a railroad connection, spurring the region’s first spurt of growth and a wave of economic development. First known as the Denver, Lakewood & Golden Railroad (DL&G), it was completed in 1891, running along what is now West 13th Avenue. In 1940, the federal government acquired the land called Federal Central for the munitions factory, and what was once farmland began to be replaced by residential development. From World War II until the 1970s, the railroad carried heavy loads to the Denver Munitions Factory, a massive munitions facility. Lakewood remained an independent region without a central government for decades. Community members attempted to incorporate Lakewood several times in the mid-20th century. Problems that stood in the way included ill-defined borders and a shortage of law enforcement agencies. Finally, the town of Lakewood was incorporated in 1969. With a population of over 90,000, citizen groups were concerned about, among other things, the lack of local law enforcement. Jacques-Jeff “Jim” Richey, president of Citizens for Incorporation, became the new city’s first mayor.

The population and economy of Lakewood

Ethel's Beauty Salon and Variety Store at Lakewood Heritage Center, Colorado
Ethel’s Beauty Salon and Variety Store at the Lakewood Heritage Center, Colorado. Editorial credit: Arina P Habich /

Lakewood’s population was 155,984 according to the last U.S. census, up from 142,980 in 2010. Most residents live in single-family homes, and a significant portion of the town’s housing was built between 1969 and 1980. At the time upon its incorporation in 1969, Lakewood’s population was estimated at around 90,000. By 1973 the population had increased by 28% and new neighborhoods were created to house the growing population. In 1970, the city’s population was counted at 97,787. Within a decade, it grew by about 15% to 112,860, and another 12% to 126,481 in 1990. By 2000, it had risen to 144,126 , but due to the economic upheavals of the early 21st century, it fell to 142,980 in 2010. This returned to positive growth in 2010.

Turkey farming, ranching, and dairy farming were Lakewood’s original industries. Orchards were planted, along with small farms that supplied communities that were springing up throughout the region. US Route 40, a major east-west route, was created in 1926, beginning in San Francisco and ending in Atlantic City, New Jersey. US 40 includes a 26-mile segment of Colfax Avenue between east Aurora and west Lakewood. The highway brought in travelers and boosted the city’s tourism industry, which became increasingly important in the city’s history. Due to its origins, Lakewood did not develop around a traditional, centralized downtown area. Residential development began to expand along West Colfax Avenue in 1910. Substantial growth began about a decade later when Lakewood’s industrial areas began to take shape, including the Lakewood Brick and Tile Company (now the Summit Brick Company), the longest in the city. to the Business Department, which opened in 1919. The United States Ordnance Factory was brought to Lakewood in 1941 and built at the foot of Green Mountain. The Remington Arms Company was contracted to operate the Denver Ordnance Plant site, which manufactured and tested ammunition. By the 1950s, in addition to the more giant factories, service industries such as restaurants, pharmacies, and gas stations became increasingly crucial to the local economy. Most were clustered along West Colfax Avenue. Modern Lakewood’s largest employer is government, including more than 8,000 at the Denver Federal Center, which includes 26 different federal agencies, and another 4,010 in the public school system.

Attractions in Lakewood

A sunny fall day at Bear Creek Lake Park, Denver-Lakewood, Colorado
A sunny fall day at Bear Creek Lake Park, Denver-Lakewood, Colorado.

With so many parks, the great outdoors are one of Lakewood’s top attractions. Bear Creek Lake Park, centered around the Bear Creek Reservoir, offers opportunities for fishing, swimming, boating, hiking, biking, and camping. Green Mountain includes Wright Park, a pet-friendly park, as well as several miles of hiking and biking trails in William Frederick Hayden Park, which surrounds the mesa.

With a mix of commercial, cultural and public spaces, the Belmar complex is popular with locals and visitors alike. The city also has a 300-seat theater and gallery space, among other cultural institutions. 40 West Arts, located along the West Colfax Corridor, includes over 20 public art installations, art venues and numerous art galleries. Lakewood is a thriving town in the shadow of the scenic Rocky Mountains. After the boost of the wartime munitions factory and with an educated workforce, the city’s focus shifted to the new energies and technologies of the modern age.


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