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Stories Along the Line: Gold Line carries a rich name

FasTracks is heading west along a similar route that adventurers, entrepreneurs and miners took in the 1800s when they trekked in covered wagons past Denver in search of gold and riches.

Bridge girder <br />placement for the Utah Junction commuter rail bridge along the Gold Line<br /> and Northwest Rail Line
Bridge girder placement for the Utah Junction commuter rail bridge along the Gold Line and Northwest Rail Line
Today, the FasTracks Gold Line is under full construction to build an 11.2-mile electric commuter train line that will connect Union Station in downtown Denver to Wheat Ridge, passing through northwest Denver, Adams County and Arvada.

When it is completed in 2016, the Gold Line will have eight stations: Union Station, 41st and Fox, Pecos, Federal, Sheridan, Olde Town Arvada, Arvada Ridge and Ward Road.

Also, when the Gold Line opens, travelers will be able to transfer at Union Station to the eastbound commuter rail line to Denver International Airport.

The Gold Line: a short history

The construction of the Gold Line is part of what is a unique construction agreement known as "Eagle P3." It is historic in that it is the nation's first full public-private partnership created to build a major transit project.

Olde Town Arvada
Olde Town Arvada, Colorado. Photo courtesy: Historic Olde Town Arvada
Because the project intersects with and weaves through six local governments, it has become a regional collaborative effort.

The Gold Line broke ground in Arvada on Aug. 31, 2011, when the FTA awarded its $1.03 billion federal grant.

As mentioned earlier one of the stations where the Gold Line makes a stop will be at historic Olde Town Arvada along Grandview Avenue just west of Wadsworth Bypass.

Little-known facts

Ralston Creek runs through town just a few blocks north of the Olde Town station.

It's named for Lewis Ralston, a Georgia prospector who dipped a pan into the unnamed stream in June 1850 and discovered gold. His words were never recorded on that fateful day, but we're pretty sure it included a lot of hoopin' and hollerin'.

His first swoop of the pan through the creek netted him 6 grams of gold worth about $5. It wasn't until 1995 that the Colorado Historical Society determined this was the first discovery of gold in Colorado.

Benjamin Franklin Wadsworth. Photo courtesy: ArvadaHistory.org
Benjamin Franklin Wadsworth. Photo courtesy: ArvadaHistory.org

Wadsworth

The road just east of the Olde Town station is named after the man who had a vision of starting a community where he settled.

In 1863, Benjamin Franklin Wadsworth purchased 160 acres in the area and moved his family into a log cabin.

When he learned the Colorado Central Railroad was laying tracks from Denver to Golden, he decided if he could plat and name a town, he could also open a post office. He went to work and designed nine square blocks for a town. His wife Mary Ann named the new community Arvada after her brother-in-law, Hiram Arvada Haskins.

By Dec. 1, 1870, the town of Arvada boasted a population of 100 and Wadsworth became the first postmaster.

Cross-section of celery. Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
That's a cross-section of celery. Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

"Celery Capital"

As the town grew during the 1900s and the surrounding farms in the area fed a burgeoning region, Arvada claimed the title of "The Celery Capital of the World." It is said that celery grown there went to the White House for the President's Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

Today, Olde Town Arvada is a National Historic District and is undergoing major revitalization with flourishing shops, entertainment venues, restaurants and the future commuter rail station will help bring people from all over metro Denver to enjoy it.

It takes a region

RTD FasTracks and its regional partners will continue to work together to serve the Colorado public. RTD is committed to building out FasTracks, including the Gold Line, sooner rather than later so people in the region will have more transit options as they choose where to live, work and play.





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