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Elizabeth Town

Elizabeth Town Hall is located at 425 South Main Street, Elizabeth, CO 80107; phone: 303-646-0676.

Beginnings [1]

Elizabeth began in 1855 as a sawmill camp operated by the Weber Brothers along the bank of Running Creek. A few years later, in 1858, gold was discovered in the creek. A gold rush followed, but the quality and quantity of the gold never led to a boom for the Town. However, settlers did steadily move in to work the land. After the original campsite was flooded, the Town was moved to its present location. Elizabeth, then called Russellville, was located on a transportation route to Denver. The economic activity of the Town revolved around logging, farming, cattle ranching, dairy farming, and railroading. These activities served the needs of residents of Elizabeth and Denver as well.

Prosperity continued for the Town for the remainder of the century. In 1880, Thomas Phillips, who was a local rancher, gave a plot of land to the Town. The land was three blocks square and to the southeast of Town. Mr. Garland also donated land from his ranch to the north of Town. The Town was surveyed and platted in May of 1882.

The Town was incorporated on October 10, 1890 and had a population of 300. By 1901, Elizabeth had several businesses offering general merchandise, lumber, creamery products, feed, and other services. There were several civic organizations and three churches. The school system had 93 students enrolled. The railroad had changed ownership and became known as the Colorado and Southern Railway.

The community prospered until 1921 when a slump in the regional economy occurred. Cattle prices fell and local ranches were adversely affected. The depression of the 1930's further aggravated the economic problems of the area. Following a 1935 flood in Elbert County, the railroad tracks that ran through Elizabeth were torn out. For the next thirty years, the Town suffered an economic decline. The population of the community declined from 326 in 1920 to 250 in 1960.

Transportation improvements in the region in the 1960s brought the community closer to the metropolitan area and the community began to grow. By 1970, the population was 493; in 1980, it was 789; in 1995, it was 1,053. Currently [2008], the Town has an estimated population of 1,531 people. This population growth also resulted in a shift in character of the community. Elizabeth found itself in the position of becoming a "bedroom" community rather than one composed of rural, agricultural workers.

  1. Town of Elizabeth, Colorado, Master Plan, 2008, www.townofelizabeth.org, accessed August, 2015.
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