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Eagle Town

Eagle Town Hall is located at 200 Broadway, Eagle, CO 81631; phone: 970-328-6354.

Beginnings [1]

The history of the Eagle area begins with prehistoric hunter-gatherers who were in the region as early as about 12,000 years ago. The higher elevations in and around Eagle were areas where these people came seasonally to collect resources and hunt. By about 6,000 years ago, there is good evidence from within Eagle County that small numbers of prehistoric people were staying through the winter in the area. Though some of the prehistoric technologies like projectile points changed over time, and some new technologies like grinding implements and ceramics were developed or adopted, the hunter-gatherer lifestyle remained the means of subsistence in the higher elevations until EuroAmericans arrived. The most recent prehistoric to occupy this area were the Ute Indians, who were here when EuroAmericans arrived and who were removed from western Colorado to reservations by about 1881. Archaeological sites, especially from the later part of the prehistoric era, and from when Utes were the valley's occupants, are present around Eagle and provide the only link to Eagle's prehistory prior to the arrival of EuroAmericans.

By the late 1800's, EuroAmerican explorers and trappers had arrived. New boomtowns with names like Redcliff, Astor City, Gold Park and Holy Cross City sprang up in the Upper Eagle River Valley as word spread nationwide about gold and silver strikes. Thousands of hopeful prospectors came for a chance at a fortune. One of these enterprising individuals was named William Edwards, who in the mid-1880s bought a 156-acre site at the confluence of the Eagle River and Brush Creek. He declared the parcel to be a town and named it Castle. After a few name changes, Castle would become Eagle and would serve for more than a century as the commercial hub for the surrounding mining, ranching and agricultural communities. Eagle itself was a farming and ranching community, raising cattle, hay and potatoes.

The Town's early years were marked by a number of interesting events. The Town's carousel of changing names included Brush, Eagle River Crossing (to freight and stage drivers), Rio Aquilla, Spanish for "Eagle River," and McDonald. By the mid 1890s, with the moniker Eagle firmly and finally in place, the Town had begun to take on the trappings of a full-fledged community. It had its own newspaper, the Eagle County Examiner, and was becoming home to a rapidly growing number of businesses. The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad came to Eagle in 1887, and in 1900, with a Town population of 124, the Methodist Church was built. The Town was officially platted and incorporated in 1905.

Throughout the first several decades of the Town's existence there was a move to have Eagle replace Redcliff as the county seat. In 1921 the voters approved the measure. The first electric lights appeared on July 5, 1927. By this time, Broadway had become the Town's main commercial street and many of those buildings have survived to this day. Eagle has always maintained a cohesive community spirit, one that often shone brightest in early days at Woodman Hall. Opened in 1936 and located where the present day Brush Creek Saloon stands, this fraternal order served as a community gathering place and cultural center of sorts. The upper floor was used for movies, theater, dances, and even basketball games. Fourth of July celebrations also bonded the community, as did the annual Eagle County Fair and, later, Eagle Flight Days, all of which continue today. A pivotal event for Eagle was the opening of a small airplane landing strip west of Town in 1939.

  1. Town of Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission, Eagle Area Community Plan, 2010, www.townofeagle.org, accessed October, 2013.
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