The City of Arvada /ɑːrˈvædə/ is a Home Rule Municipality located in Jefferson and Adams counties, a part of the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area of the U.S. State of Colorado. The United States Census Bureau estimated the city population at 111,707 residents as of July 1, 2013, ranking Arvada as the seventh most populous municipality in Colorado.[11] The Olde Town Arvada historic district is located 7 miles (11 km) northwest of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver.


Cable-stayed bridge at Gold Strike Park

The first documented discovery of gold in the Rocky Mountain region occurred on June 22, 1850, when Lewis Ralston, a Georgia prospector headed for the California gold fields, dipped his sluice pan into a small stream near its mouth at Clear Creek.[3] Ralston found about 1/4 ounce (6 g) of gold, then worth about five dollars. Ralston's companions named the stream Ralston's Creek in his honor, but they all left the next morning, drawn by the lure of California gold.

During the Pike's Peak Gold Rush in 1858, Ralston brought another group of prospectors back to the site of his first discovery. The placer gold in the area soon played out, but hard rock deposits of gold were found in the mountains to the west. Some of the miners abandoned their search for gold and returned to farm the rich bottom land along Ralston Creek and Clear Creek. They found an eager market for their crops among other gold seekers. The Territory of Colorado was formed on February 28, 1861, and the farms in the valley expanded to feed the growing population of the region.

In 1870, the Colorado Central Railroad laid tracks through the area on its route from Golden to link up with the Kansas Pacific Railroad and the Denver Pacific Railroad at Jersey Junction, 3 miles (5 km) north of Denver. On December 1, 1870, Benjamin F. Wadsworth and Louis A. Reno platted the Ralston Point townsite along the railroad. To avoid confusion with other communities along Ralston Creek, Ralston Point was soon renamed Arvada in honor of Hiram Arvada Haskin, brother-in-law of settler Mary Wadsworth.[12] Her husband, Benjamin Wadsworth, became the first postmaster of Arvada. Colorado was granted statehood on August 1, 1876, and the Town of Arvada was formally incorporated on August 14, 1904. A vibrant agricultural community, Arvada claimed the title "Celery Capital of the World."

Arvada grew rapidly during the latter half of the 20th century as a suburb of nearby Denver, the state capital. Arvada became a Statutory City on October 31, 1951, and a Home Rule Municipality on July 23, 1963. By the end of the millennium, the population of Arvada exceeded 100,000.

Missionary shooting

On December 9, 2007, Matthew J. Murray walked into the Youth With a Mission Center in Arvada and, after he was refused his request to stay overnight in the dormitories, opened fire and killed two people, injuring two more.

A memorial was held the following Wednesday, December 12, in which Youth With a Mission leaders forgave Murray's family for what happened.[13]


"Monsella" tulip, blooming in Arvada 2006

The city of Arvada is a Home Rule Municipality with a council-manager form of government. The Arvada City Council has seven members: a mayor and two councilmembers elected at large, and four councilmembers elected from council districts.

Arvada City Council[14]
Office Incumbent Term
Mayor Marc Williams[5] 2011-
Councilmember At-Large Dot Miller 2017-
Councilmember At-Large Bob Fifer[15] 2011-
Councilmember, District One Nancy Ford[16] 2015-
Councilmember, District Two Mark McGoff[17] 2007-
Mayor Pro Tem and Councilmember, District Three John Marriott[18] 2013-
Councilmember, District Four David Jones[19] 2015-

The City Council selects the city manager. The Arvada City Manager is Mark Deven.[6][20]


Arvada is located at 39°49′12″N 105°6′40″W / 39.82000°N 105.11111°W / 39.82000; -105.11111 (39.819962, -105.110975).[21]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 32.8 square miles (85 km2).84.6 km²; (32.7 sq mi) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it (0.58%) is water.


The climate is described as Humid Continental by the Köppen Climate System, abbreviated as Dfb.[22]

Climate data for Arvada, Colorado
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7
Average low °C (°F) −9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 13
Source: Weatherbase[23]


Arvada is the western terminus of Interstate 76, which begins at the intersection of Interstate 70 and State Highway 121. Other state highways in Arvada include SH 72, SH 93, and SH 95. Major highways near Arvada include Interstate 25, Interstate 270, U.S. Highway 36 and U.S. Highway 287.

The Amtrak California Zephyr passes through the City of Arvada westbound each morning and eastbound each evening. This route through the scenic heart of the Rocky Mountains is one of the most popular rail routes in the United States. Full Amtrak passenger and parcel service is available at the nearby Denver Union Station.

The Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) currently serves Arvada with eight local bus routes (31, 50, 51, 52, 72, 76, 80, and 100), four express bus routes (55X, 58X, 72X, and 80X), and one regional bus route (GS). RTD plans to provide Arvada with a commuter rail Gold Line along the old Colorado Central Railroad route (now operated by the BNSF Railway) by 2015.

Arvada is served by Denver International Airport and nearby Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport.

In 2014 the League of American Bicyclists designated Arvada as a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community.[24]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 840
1920 915 8.9%
1930 1,276 39.5%
1940 1,482 16.1%
1950 2,359 59.2%
1960 19,242 715.7%
1970 49,844 159.0%
1980 84,576 69.7%
1990 89,235 5.5%
2000 102,153 14.5%
2010 106,433 4.2%
Est. 2016 117,453 [9] 10.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[25]

As of the census[26] of 2010, there were 106,433 people, 42,701 households, and 28,927 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,028.1 people per square mile (1,207.6/km²). There were 44,427 housing units at an average density of 1,216.7 per square mile (469.7/km²) with a median value of $240,000. The racial makeup of the city was 89.08% White, 0.9% African American, 0.8% Native American, 2.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.5% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.7% of the population.

There were 44,427 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.5% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.3% were non-families. 26.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 5.5% from 20 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 29.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.5 years. There were 51,984 males and 54,539 Females.

The median income for a household in the city was $66,125 and the median income for a family was $78,591. Males had a median income of $42,126 versus $30,802 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,679. About 4.6% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line.


Arvada is largely a commuter town to Denver and Boulder. The primary retail corridors are along Wadsworth Boulevard, 52nd Avenue, 64th Avenue, Ralston Road and Kipling Street.

Tourism and recreation

Attractions include:[27]

  • Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities
  • Cussler Museum (rare automobile collection)

Notable people

The water tower situated in Olde Town Arvada

Notable individuals who were born in and/or have lived in Arvada include novelist Clive Cussler,[28] Joe King,[29] baseball pitcher Roy Halladay,[30] and Isaac Slade[31] of the rock band The Fray, and professional golfer and U.S. Olympic track and field gold medalist Babe Didrikson Zaharias.[32] Arvada Man of the Year 2017: Bill Orchard. Arvada Woman of the year 2017: Rebel Rodriguez.

Sister cities

Arvada has three sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International: [33]

See also


  1. ^ "2014 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Places". United States Census Bureau. July 1, 2014. Retrieved January 5, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs. Archived from the original on 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Arvada History". City of Arvada, Colorado. Archived from the original (HTTP) on 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 
  4. ^ "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. 2004-12-01. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-18. 
  5. ^ a b "Marc Williams, Mayor". City of Arvada, Colorado. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  6. ^ a b "City Manager's Office". City of Arvada, Colorado. Archived from the original on 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2011-11-28. 
  7. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 25, 2017. 
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-02-06. 
  9. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  10. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup". United States Postal Service. August 18, 2007. Archived from the original (JavaScript/HTML) on 18 August 2007. Retrieved August 18, 2007. 
  11. ^ "American Factfinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Profile for Arvada, Colorado". ePodunk. Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
  13. ^ Holusha, John (2007-12-09). "Gunman Kills 2 at Missionary Center Near Denver". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 3, 2015. Retrieved 2007-12-09. 
  14. ^ "Current Arvada City Councilmembers" (HTTP). City of Arvada, Colorado. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  15. ^ "Bob Fifer, Mayor Pro Tem and Councilmember at-Large". City of Arvada, Colorado. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  16. ^ "Nancy Ford, Councilmember for District 1". City of Arvada, Colorado. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  17. ^ "Mark McGoff, Mayor Pro Tem and Councilmember for District 2". City of Arvada, Colorado. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  18. ^ "John Marriott, Councilmember for District 3". City of Arvada, Colorado. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  19. ^ "David Jones, Councilmember for District 4". City of Arvada, Colorado. Retrieved 2011-11-28. 
  20. ^ http://static.arvada.org/docs/Arvada_Citizen_Survey_Report_FINAL-1-201401151032.pdf p.9
  21. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  22. ^ Climate Summary for Arvada,Colorado
  23. ^ "Weatherbase.com". Weatherbase. 2013.  Retrieved on August 23, 2013.
  24. ^ http://www.bikeleague.org/sites/default/files/bfareportcards/BFC_Spring_2014_ReportCard_Arvada_CO.pdf
  25. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  26. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  27. ^ "The Top 10 Things to Do in Arvada 2017 - Must See Attractions in Arvada, CO TripAdvisor". www.tripadvisor.ca. Retrieved 2017-06-15. 
  28. ^ "Clive Cussler - Biography". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  29. ^ Cohen, Jenn (2013-04-13). "April 13 Feature - Joe King". Colorado Music Buzz. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  30. ^ Renck, Troy (9 Dec 2013). "Former Arvada West star Roy Halladay might have right stuff for Cooperstown". The Denver Post. Retrieved 18 May 2017. 
  31. ^ Baca, Ricardo (2012-02-03). "The Fray's Isaac Slade is proud of his scars". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  32. ^ "Fun Facts About Arvada". City of Arvada. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  33. ^ "Interactive City Directory". Sister Cities International. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 

External links