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The City of Arvada is located in both Jefferson and Adams counties, and is a part of the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood Metropolitan Area of Colorado. The US Census Bureau estimated the city population at 111,707 in 2013, making Arvada the seventh most populated municipality in Colorado. The Olde Town is located 7 miles northwest of Denver.
The first recorded discovery of gold in the Rockies was in June 1850, when Lewis Ralston, a prospector heading for the California gold fields, dipped his pan into a small stream near Clear Creek. Ralston found about 1/4 ounce of gold, worth about five dollars at the time. Ralston's companions named the stream Ralston's Creek in his honor, but left the next morning for the lure of California gold.
During the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, Ralston returned to the site of his first discovery. The placer gold in the area quickly ran out, but rock deposits of gold were found in the mountains just to the west. Some miners abandoned their search for gold and returned to farm the land along Clear Creek. They found an eager demand for their crops among other prospectors. The Territory of Colorado was founded in 1861, and the farms in the valley expanded to feed the growing population.