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Douglas County Courthouse Fire

Events & Topics

1965 Flood

1965 flood caused massive destruction to highways in the county, shutting down transportation south of Denver for weeks. It started with a cloudburst in Palmer Lake, and quickly became one of the most destructive floods in Colorado history.

Courthouse Fire

The Douglas County Courthouse in Castle Rock, completed in the summer of 1890, it had taken over a year to build it out of native Rhyolite stone. The building housed courtrooms, sheriff's office, clerk and recorder's office, assessor and school superintendent. It was a centerpiece of the Castle Rock community, with community events often held on the lawn. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, and less than 2 years later it burned down. A 17 year old girl was charged with arson.

Douglas County Fair

Douglas County started having a county fair in 1892, but lack of funding and space led to inconsistent fairs until 1918, when it was branded as the "first" Douglas County Fair. Today, the fair is an annual centerpiece of summer in Castle Rock, with a parade, carnival, and other events.

Castle Rock Starlighting

A large electric star has lit up the top of "the Rock" in Castle Rock since 1936. It shines over the town from the week before Thanksgiving to right after the National Western Stock Show in January. The star was not lighted during World War II or the energy crisis of the late 1970s, but otherwise, it has been an annual event and part of many residents' holiday traditions.

Railroads

Jim Ozment was an engineer and railroad photographer from the 1950s through the 1990s, and the DCHRC is proud to showcase a small part of his collection. Two railroads currently traverse Douglas County: the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and the Union Pacific, which travel from Littleton down the Highway 85 corridor, then near I-25 to Palmer Lake. But at one point there were 4 railroads in the county, Including one in Parker and one up in the mountains near Nighthawk. The main lines in Douglas County, though, were the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad (built in 1871) and the Atchison Topeka Santa Fe (built in 1881).

Hiking and Camping

Recreation is a major activity in Colorado. Douglas County native Guy Smith and his friends hiked from Boulder to Long's Peak in about 1912, using a pack mule for part of the journey. This collection shows his photo album and experienced hikers may recognize some of the sites that can still be seen along the way.
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