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Parks and Recreation History

Parks and Recreation History

Boulder Valley was originally home to the Southern Arapaho tribe of Native Americans; several other tribes routinely visited the area. gold seekers established themselves in the area in 1858, and, in 1861, the Territory of Colorado was created by Congress to support the growing mining industry. To encourage economic stability, the town campaigned to bring railroad service and the University of Colorado to Boulder.

The town of Boulder was incorporated in 1871. Also developing in the late 1800s was the concept of the Chautauqua, a movement focusing on adult education and enlightenment. Boulder is home to one of the few remaining Chautauqua institutions in the United States, a testament to the community’s long-standing value of the arts and recreation.

After World War II, the Boulder population grew, but not without an eye toward managed growth, preserving historic and natural treasures, and building a strong economy. In 1959, Boulder voters approved the “Blue Line” city-charter amendment, which restricted city water service to altitudes below 5,750 feet in an effort to protect the mountain backdrop from development. Residents overwhelmingly voted in favor of amending the city charter to combine the long-standing parks and recreation divisions and establish a Boulder Parks and Recreation Department (BPRD) in 1961.

Today, BPRD manages more than 1,800 acres of urban parkland and 138,000 square feet of recreation center space, plus many other recreation facilities.

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Specific Park History

Eben G. Fine Park

Eben G. Fine Park contains portions of the Boulder Creek and Boulder Creek Path with a variety of recreational amenities.

Pearl Street Mall History

The Pearl Street Mall was designated as the "Downtown Boulder Mall" on Aug. 6, 1977. The new city park prohibited cars.

Boulder Reservoir History

The city initially bought land for construction of the reservoir from the Axelson family's dairy farm and began construction on May 1, 1954.

Andrews Arboretum

A unique Boulder resource, Andrews Arboretum was established in 1948 by Maud Reed, a former botany teacher at Boulder High School.

Columbia Cemetery

Situated on 10.5 acres at Ninth and Pleasant Streets, the cemetery is a virtual "Who's Who" of early Boulder.

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