Ever wondered where Commerce City, Colorado began? Its history started in the 1850’s.
John D. Henderson, known as Colonel Jack, built a ranch, trading post, and hotel on Henderson Island in the South Platte River in 1859.
It was the first permanent settlement in the South Platte River Valley located between Fort Saint Vrain in the Nebraska Territory and Cherry Creek Diggings in the Kansas Territory. He used the trading post to sell provisions to those looking to strike it rich in the gold fields during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush. Today, Henderson Island is the site of the Adams County Regional Park and Fairgrounds.
Schools and cemeteries added
During the 19th century, several things were added to what became Commerce City. In 1871 the first school was built. It was a one room school house. Others were added in 1899 and 1907. Several cemeteries were established as well. Riverside Cemetery was founded in 1876. Rose Hill Cemetery was established in 1892. At the time it was open plains and was established by the United Hebrew Cemetery Association.
Through the late 1920’s agriculture was the main staple in the area. Farms included wheat fields, dairies, and pig farms. In the 1930’s a refinery and grain elevators were built. Rocky Mountain Arsenal was founded in 1942.
By 1951 Denver was considering annexing the area. On July 8, 1952 residents in the area voted 251 to 24 to incorporate as Commerce Town. The town included neighborhoods such as Rose Hill and southern Adams City. Part of Derby was annexed in 1962, finally giving the town the population to be considered a city. So, the name was changed to Commerce City.
Commerce City is still a wonderful place to put down roots and raise a family. Come and see for yourself.