Sunday, September 18, 2022

Historic Littleton Colorado Tour



 

It seems the end of summer became very busy for us! Our oldest granddaughter stayed with us a few days as her parents were traveling for work and we had school routine and homework duty to oversee which made us feel nostalgic.  Friends visited from their home in Virginia and we spent a nice time with them, and a community group we volunteer for had a fun potluck get-together for all its members. One of the volunteers told us that we should go on the last tour offered this summer of Historic Littleton, as she knew we enjoy learning local history.  

The tour is run during the summer months by Historic LittletonOn the centennial of Littleton, Colorado, in 1990 the Historic Littleton organization was formed to provide low-cost loans to property owners and businesses on Main Street.  This nonprofit Second Century Fund helps restore and preserve Littleton’s historic buildings for the next 100 years. The organization’s board consisted of local businesspeople who believed that Downtown Littleton gave the City its unique identity and character and was an asset for the entire community.



Part of Historic Littleton's mission is to educate the public about historic preservation through programs and tours.  We met the well-attended free tour in front of the. historic Littleton Municipal Courthouse--see above.  It was late afternoon on a very hot day, but all in attendance were eager to learn more from the two tour guide volunteers.

The city of Littleton's history dates back to the 1859 Pike's Peak Gold Rush, which brought not only gold seekers but merchants and farmers to the community. Richard Sullivan Little was an engineer from New Hampshire who made his way out West to work on irrigation systems. Little soon decided to settle in the area at present-day Littleton and brought his wife Angeline out from the East in 1862. The Littles, along with many neighbors, built the Rough and Ready Flour Mill in 1867, which provided a solid economic base in the community. By 1890, the community had grown to 245 people and the residents voted to incorporate the Town of Littleton.  The 13-square-mile city is now home to more than 44,000 people. Littleton has top-ranked schools, higher education, and more than 2,000 diverse businesses.  Littleton grew significantly throughout the 1950s and 1960s due to its proximity to the then Martin Marrieta facilities, which produced the Titan rocket and other aerospace products, and is now Lockheed Martin Corporation. You can read more about Littleton's history at this link.




As we followed the tour guide she told us about both the railroad system and also the irrigation canals that were of importance to the early days of agriculture in Littleton.  As Littleton grew major engineering feats moved the railroad tracks below street level into a tunnel to free up traffic and the flow of the South Platte River was moved! Littleton now also has two light rail stations that offer easy access to Downtown Denver.






We continued walking towards Littleton's Main Street which is now on the National Register of Historic Places.  





Littleton has an active trail system and more than 59 parks and open spaces. In 1961 Littleton, Colorado, and Bega, Australia, joined as sister cities with the motto "Firm and Lasting Friendship." You can read about how they became sister cities on this link.

The former Rio Grande Park just west of the railroad right-of-way on Main Street has been renamed Bega Park, redeveloped, and landscaped. Its centerpiece is a James Mann fountain which shows a map of the United States, the Pacific Ocean, and Australia, with the two sister cities marked by bronze stars. 






We then walked down Littleton's charming Main Street as the guide told us the history of many of the buildings.  It is very mainstream Americana of assorted stores and businesses on both sides of the wide tree-lined street,  Most of the buildings date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s.  You can see photos of some of the historic buildings as they first appeared on this link.  I liked that there were placards at each intersection showing where businesses were located as well as maps of the downtown.





Many of the Main Street Buildings have undergone renovations and changes. The Town Hall building in the upper left of the collage above is now the Town Hall Arts Center and Theater.  The building in the two upper right photos is one of the earliest buildings in Littleton -- the J. D. Hill General Store. It was built in 1872 and was Littleton's first general store and post office, with Hill serving as postmaster. Today the building is used for retail stores and offices. On July 30, 2022, the 150th anniversary of the J.D. Hill General Store building was celebrated by the community.
In the lower left of the collage is the Franzen House which is significant as a representative of the Victorian Queen Anne style houses built in Littleton during the late 19th century. The style is reflected in the house’s steeply pitched roof, porch with spindle supports, and walls clad with wood lap siding and shingles. The red brick Ned Kelly's Irish Pub was once a grocery store owned by the Franzens at that time. I always chuckle over the name when we drive over nearby Jackass Hill and I enjoyed learning its long history and seeing the Jackass Brewery named after it in the lower right. 





The Historic Littleton tour lasted one and a half hours and by the time it was ending I saw this magnificent, breathtaking sunset at the end of Main Street! We enjoyed learning more about Littleton and saw many stores, restaurants, and other establishments that we hope to return to for longer visits and shopping in the future.  We thanked the tour guide and gave a donation towards Historic Littleton's cause. 



Now hungry, my husband and I went to dinner at a favorite Littleton restaurant, Angelo's TavernaAlthough I live in a landlocked state I still crave east coast seafood, so we indulged in oysters on the half shell and I had a "Frutti di Mare" mixed seafood entree while my husband had a chicken parmesan stuffed with Proscuitto. 
Because of covid precautions, we have not been eating out frequently for the past two years, so this was a very special treat for us! Neither of us has had covid --knock wood--and we feel very fortunate, and hope with all our vaccinations and boosters our luck will hold out.

I have written many blog posts--21 in all before this one-- about places we have visited in Littleton, Colorado, since moving here which you can read under the label "Littleton."  It is a wonderful town!


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26 comments:

Angie said...

Pat - how wonderful that Littleon offers these historic tours. I think Whitefish could benefit from such a tour! The sunset photo is gorgeous! Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday!

William Kendall said...

It certainly is lovely.

ellen b. said...

Dear had an aunt and uncle in Littleton and I know I was there once but we didn't tour the downtown area. Lovely photos. The restaurant sounds great.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat,
Great tour of Littleton. Your dinner looks delicious. Gorgeous capture of the sunset. Take care, have a great new week!

Barbara R. said...

Great for another Littleton entry! Lovely sunset! Enjoy your seafood.

Barbara R. said...

Great sunset. I enjoy all your trips. Hope you had a good seafood feast. PS, Blogger isn't letting me comment, this is second try!

William Kendall said...

A lot to see there.

Sharon Wagner said...

It must be a cool town to inspire 21 posts. Beautiful sunset! Great eats.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

You shared another pretty town in the mountains and I always enjoy taking a tour with you.

Janice said...

We enjoyed Littleton in 1981. It may or may not have changed a bit, oh my, has it really been 41 years? Thank you for sharing the beauty of Littleton.

NCSue said...

This looks like a great place to visit. Thanks for allowing us to accompany you through your photos, and thanks for sharing them at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2022/09/a-glimpse-of-city-of-brotherly-love.html

stevebethere said...

What a fab tour looks lovely there and of course I like all the food heheh!

Have a tourtastic week 👍

Joanne said...

That sounds like such a lovely tour! We like to tour older towns near us and learn about their history too.

Lisa said...

That was some sunset! A pretty town.

diane b said...

That would have been an interesting tour and great to finish off with a delicious meal. It was very interesting to learn Littleton is a sister city with Bega in NSW. WE have driven through many times and stopped sometimes. It is a nice little country town but very famous for its dairy products. We eat bega Cheese and Bega ice cream they are the best.

Jeanie said...

This sounds so interesting and lots of fun. I love the history of a city -- sometimes it really surprises you! And Littleton looks very interesting too. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Sandy said...

Been years, but have been to Littleton and it really is a fun little town to visit. Sounds like you had a good day there. Thanks for sharing some great photo's. Your sunset picture is truly stunning. Good luck on not getting Covid. Until 10 days ago hubby and I boasted the same and we still have no idea how or where we got it. I'm still wearing a mask places, he less so; but still is. A friend told me she thinks it's just a matter of time before everyone will have had it and probably multiple times.
Sandy's Space

Rambling Woods said...

Oh the best with your grandaughter and a tour. I haven't been out to eat since 2019. We have done take out though. Hopefully this new vaccine will keep us safe this winter....stay well...Michelle

Lowcarb team member said...

What a great tour of Littleton, lovely photographs.
I especially like the wonderful photograph of the sunset.
Your dinner does look delicious... yummy!

Enjoy the remainder of September.

All the best Jan

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Kudos to Littleton for investing in themselves and preserving their downtown. I also love that they moved the railroads below grade. Railroads are necessary but they can really play havoc with traffic and especially pedestrian flow.

Pisi Prkl said...

I really like those orange hues. It´s my favorite color so can´t nothing but like it.

Lillian www.sognafaret.no said...

Stay smart and safe so today becomes tomorrow's yesterday!

Light and Voices said...

Awesome sunset. Littleton seems like an interesting town to visit. Thanks for sharing.

Photo Cache said...

Planning a Colorado-NM road trip for next year and I'm getting excited to finally see your great state.

Worth a Thousand Words

Spare Parts and Pics said...

Thanks for sharing the tour. I think my grandfather (father's side of the family) lived in Littleton, so fun to see. That's really is a magnificent sunset!

Carol Benton said...

Littleton looks like a charming town. It's always encouraging when citizens invest the time, effort, and $$$ to welcome visitors and share their history with them.
Thank you for participating in Talent-Sharing Tuesdays Link-Up 34.
Carol
www.scribblingboomer.com