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Brighton, Colorado: a brief history. In June of 1870, when the tracks of the Denver Pacific railroad joined with those of the Denver and Boulder Valley tracks a spot some twenty miles northeast of the infant city of Denver, Hughes Station was born. And, during the Gold Rush decades of the 19th century, where a railroad depot appeared, a town was sure to follow.
Daniel Carmichael, a Denver real estate agent, saw beyond the simple frame station, stable, windmill, and cabins which comprised Hughes Station, and began buying the surrounding prairieland. Naming his future town Brighton, in honor of his wife’s birthplace, Brighton Beach, New Jersey, he filed its first plat in February of 1881. Within five years, Brighton had a school, newspaper, church, general store, creamery, and was home to some one-hundred-and seventy-five residents, the majority of which were farmers supplying food to Denver. It has maintained its agricultural roots to this day.
Brighton, because of its s quick growth, became, in 1887, the first officially incorporated town in what is now Adams County; in 1904, Brighton was made the Adams County seat.
Brighton today: attractions. Brighton is just twenty minutes via one of four major roads from the museums, professional sports venues, restaurants, and cultural venues of downtown Denver. For the more rural-minded, Brighton offers the walking trail of the South Platte River Greenway, which passes through Adams County Regional Park and by the ponds of the Greenway’s gravel pits, home to many varieties of ducks.
Both birders and fishermen will love the 2800-acre wildlife sanctuary at Barr Lake State Park, home of the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, where bass can be seen jumping, and each season offers, to the patient, glimpses of some of three hundred different bird species.
For golfers, there are the Riverdale Dunes and Box Elder Creek public courses; for movie-goers, there is the twelve-theater Brighton Pavilion; and for those who like to dine out, there are a variety of restaurants including fast-food, Mexican, barbecue, seafood, Chinese buffet, and steakhouses.
Brighton growth. Brighton, founded as a prairie farming community in the shadow of the Rockies, works hard to maintain its small-town atmosphere. Still, with a population increasing from 2005’s 24,000 to its current 30,000, it is expected to experience a growth rate twice that of the rest of the Denver area,for the next 20 years.
Brighton offers, to accommodate its residents, ten elementary and middle schools, and three high schools, as well as the Platte Valley Medical Center.
Once a Brighton Beach namesake, and now a town with one of Colorado’s brightest futures, Brighton has come a very long way!
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