Living in Littleton, Colorado
The Denver Suburb of Littleton is Renowned for its Family Orientation, the Reimagined Historic Downtown and Plenty of Outdoor Recreation
There is nothing little about Littleton. The expansive suburb is home to almost 50,000 residents and sprawls across five different zip codes, each with its own distinct character. The area is named not its size but for its founder, Richard Sullivan Little, who acquired the land during the Pike’s Peak gold rush of 1859.
The common thread running through all of Littleton’s tight-knit communities is an appreciation for family and for its rarified setting near the foothills of the Rockies. It is also an easy work commute to Denver. The schools are top-notch, the multitude of recreational facilities accommodate all age groups and there are plenty of senior housing options for the multi-generational family. The great outdoors is within clear view. If a night on the town beckons, Denver is only 10 miles away.
Living in Littleton
The five major communities begin with the original, historic downtown Littleton with a Main Street lined with turn-of-the-century buildings now occupied by boutiques, restaurants, art galleries and performance centers. Old Littleton’s is replete houses dating back to the early 1900’s, furthering its Old World charm. Mountain Rangeview is a high-end luxury enclave within this zip code offering larger horse-friendly properties and neighborhood parks.
Roxborough is at the southern end of the community with a decidedly rural feel and an abundance of open space, trails and wildlife. There is a gated golf community, The Club at Ravenna, that also abuts Pike National Forest. Sterling Ranch is a master planned community with its own medical facility, schools and an environmental ethos with eco-friendly custom homes designed to meld with the natural landscapes.
Columbine includes the Polo Reserve, a gated community with million dollar homes for those who gravitate to the equestrian lifestyle. Ken Caryl is to the west and popular for it proximity to the mountains and includes a community with its own club house, tennis courts, pool, fitness facility and equestrian center. The Marston Lake zip code is home to the popular Southwest Plaza shopping mall and Bow Mar, a community with beach and boating clubs plus a dedicated bird sanctuary nearby.
Things to Do in Littleton
The town is proud of its history. Littleton’s first city hall is now a cultural center, live theater and art gallery. The Depot Art Gallery, housed in a restored 1888 train station, hosts juried exhibits and art workshops. The Littleton Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, celebrates the town’s agricultural heritage with a 19th century living history museum, complete with farm animals and docents and volunteers in period dress. The Bemis Public Library, named to honor the family of one of Littleton’s first residents, is also a vibrant event venue and senior center.
The area parks include elaborate playgrounds, splash pads, skateboard meccas, volleyball courts, pools…your name it. Besides the Southwest Plaza mall, outlet shopping is also nearby at Aspen Grove. Every cuisine imaginable is readily available, plus craft breweries, wineries and even distilleries. Hudson Garden, a botanical wonderland, is enhanced by yoga classes, bee keeping classes, plen air painting classes, gardening classes (some 700 pounds of produce grown here is donated to local food banks) and a rollicking summer concert series.
With 59 parks and open spaces across 1,400 acres, residents of all ages can indulge their passion for walking, running, hiking, biking, riding a horse or pushing a stroller. The High Line Canal, which brought irrigation to the area in 1882 to support farming, is now a 50-mile trail for hikers, bikers and equestrians.
Weekend Trips from Littleton
All that Colorado has to offer is right down the road. World-renowned – Aspen, Snowmass or Telluride – are year-round destinations for all manners of outdoor activities, not to mention five-star dining and shopping. Glenwood Springs is famous for natural spas while Carbondale is the country’s extreme sports capital, both with growing reputations for bustling art scenes and innovative farm-to-table dining. Historic Santa Fe, New Mexico, is an easy one hour hop by plane or five-hour cruise by car.
History of Littleton
The Pike’s Peak gold rush of 1859 saw a flood of prospectors to the area that would become Denver and next, merchants and farmers looking to capitalize on the fledgling town. Engineers were needed to construct ditches carrying water to farms without direct access to rivers and creeks. Richard Sullivan Little, an engineer living in Chicago, got wind of the opportunity. He was hired by the Capital Hydraulic Company, became enamored with a tract of land and filed a homestead claim for 920 acres. With his professional eye, he was confident that with completion of the irrigation ditches, his property would be ideal for agriculture.
In 1862, he returned to Chicago, gathered his wife, young son and worldly possessions then rode in an ox cart to Colorado. The land, once irrigated, was indeed bountiful. Mills, however, were not so convenient. Little joined with several neighbors to open the Rough and Ready flour mill in 1867, which also provided an economic base for the village the Littles established in 1872. Little lived in his town until he died in 1899.
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