|150 Golden Years
|On June 12, 2009, the city of Golden will celebrate its 150th Anniversary. The 150 Golden Years Committee has been working for several months to prepare for the birthday, which will include a parade through downtown Golden ending at Lions Park, where birthday cake will be served, the Jefferson Symphony will perform and there will be a laser light show.
Golden is a special place with a rich and interesting history. The 150-year anniversary traces Golden’s roots back to David Wall, who established a farm on the north side of Clear Creek in 1859. The settlement that grew up around the farm became a supply center for the gold camps to the west of town and was named Golden City. The town was the capital of the Colorado Territory from 1862 until 1867, when a vote, allegedly rigged, moved it to Denver. Five years later Golden City was renamed Golden.
Colorado School of Mines was established in 1874, just 15 years after the first settlement, and one year after Coors brewery was founded. Mines and Coors have had close ties since the late 1800s, with Mines providing engineering talent to Coors, and Coors providing financial and management assistance to Mines.
My family’s connection to the city dates back to 1919 when my widowed grandmother and her son, Charles T. Baroch, moved to Golden so he could attend Mines—he graduated as a mining engineer in 1923. I followed in his footsteps, attending Mines from 1950 until 1954.
Life on campus has changed a great deal since then. There were no dormitories. Most students lived in private homes or fraternities. I lived in a boarding house shared with about 20 other students. Hazing was rife, with Senior Day, the all school gauntlet, pants day, white washing the “M” and many other forms of initiation for incoming freshmen.
In 1954, the city had a population of less than 5,000, and Mines was primarily an undergraduate school with about 1,000 student. Golden had few homes south of 24th Street. Highway 6 up Clear Creek Canyon and Highway 93 to Boulder were two-lane dirt roads. When in 1991, my career brought me back to Golden, Mines had grown to about 3,000 students, Golden had a population of about 13,000 and Coors Brewery was unrecognizable.
Since then I’ve seen the city undergo a very successful revitalization campaign. The city’s recreation center, the golf course, the trail system along Clear Creek and elsewhere, the world class kayak park, the city’s evolving architectural character and many other features are all the result of careful city planning, guided in part by civic organizations that communicate its fascinating history and help preserve its small-town character. Thankfully, these efforts are assisted by the town’s geography, separated as it is from the Denver metropolitan area by North and South Table Mountains.
Golden is indeed a special place, and I hope you will consider helping to celebrate its 150th Anniversary in June. If you wish to go a step further and offer your support, the 150 Golden Years Committee is seeking donations for the event, and another group is looking for donations to erect a new monument for the victims of the White Ash Mine accident, in which 10 coal miners were drowned in 1889—the former grave marker was removed for the construction of new Mines athletic fields.
Chuck Baroch was a member of Golden City Council from 1995 until 2008. During the last six years he was mayor, having the distinction of being the last appointed and first elected person to that office. He may be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org