Despite being one of the northernmost states in the country, Colorado takes its name from our friends south of the border. Taken from the Spanish language, Colorado translates to “colored red.” The red sandstone in her river is given the credit for this colorful name. Colorado officially became a state in 1876, making it the 38th state officially.
Within this state colored red, its cities hold unique names and origins. Denver, Colorado’s capital, began as a gold-mining town in 1858 and was named after the territorial governor James W. Denver. Right outside of Denver is Arvada. This city is home to the first gold strike in the state of Colorado. North of Arvada is where you can find Westminster. But that wasn’t always the name of the town that homes the Butterfly Pavilion. In 1863, it was declared DeSpain Junction, after the man who settled there; Pleasant DeSpain. Years later, it was renamed Harris. And finally, the town was named after Westminster University and the name stuck.
If we venture outside of the Denver area, we can find even more history behind the names of enchanting Colorado cities. In a state known for high elevations, it is no surprise there is a city named for being “above others”, which gives us the Spanish named town of Arriba. The irony reaches a new height with this name, as Arriba’s elevation is more than 1,000 feet lower than the average elevation in Colorado.
While Colorado’s history goes back hundreds of years, nothing is older than the namesake of one of Colorado’s westernmost cities; Dinosaur. This unique, small-town will be hard to “tricera-top.”
Colorado is full of historic and unique cities, but the most interesting city name of them all is ironically no name at all. Picture this: you are on a road trip with your friend, heading west of Denver. Your friend looks over and says “we’ve been driving for so long, where are we now?” You look at the map and reply “No Name.” Your friend thinks you either can’t read the map, or the driving has given you an attitude. But your friend would be wrong, as it turns out you can read the map perfectly. Within Garfield County, you will find No Name, Colorado. This area wasn’t named for no reason, though. Nearby, you will also find No Name Canyon and No Name Creek.