Skip to main content

Jefferson County Manuscript Maps, 1879, 1890

Identifier: Series-116


Base maps showing railroad lines and other routes, platted towns, and topography. Relief shown by shading and spot heights. Cartographer unknown.


  • 1879
  • 1890

Conditions Governing Access

Archives collection material is non-circulating, requires staff retrieval and is available for use by appointment in the reading room.


1.53 Cubic Feet (Original circa 1879 map and two copies on microfiche; 1890 map on microfiche)

173.1 Megabytes (Scanned by Denver Public Library)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The original (ca. 1879) map was purchased by Commissioner Bunny Clement for $5 in a local antique store in the late 1970s. She later gave it to the Jefferson County Public Library. The Library then gave it to the Archives (before there was a formal accessioning system in place). The Library holds the original of the ca. 1890 map.


The map was evaluated by County Archivist, Duncan McCollum, in 1992 as follows:

Description This hand-drawn (manuscript) map of Jefferson County, Colorado, measures 5 ft. by 13 ft. and is drawn in ink on linen-backed paper. It shows man-made features (roads, railroads, platted towns, isolated buildings with owners’ names), physical features (streams and mountainous terrain), the U.S. land survey grid (township, range, section, and sixteenth section lines, plus lot dimensions and acreages along survey correction lines), and illustrates elevation with a form of shading. Although this map is hand drawn, a comparison of it with the township survey maps of the General Land Office indicates that much of the information was copied directly from those township maps. Additional information, such as the location of railroad lines that did not exist when the township surveys were completed, is included on the map. There is no legend on the map.

Date There is no date on the map. However, internal evidence consisting of platted towns and railroad lines suggests that it was compiled ca. 1878-1880. The following platted towns are shown on the map (filing dates of the subdivision plats in parentheses): Arvada (1870), Golden (1867-ca. 1879), Golden Cemetery (1874), Morrison (1874), and Mount Vernon (1867). Not shown are Golden Gate City (disappeared by 1870), Buffalo (1881), or Lakeside (1882).

The location of Colorado Central Railroad lines also helps date the map. The CCRR line heading north from Golden originally passed to the east side of North Table Mountain. In 1878, the line was moved to the west side of the mountain, where it is shown on the map. Another early railroad shown on the map (although unlabeled) is the Golden City and South Platte Railway and Telegraph Company, which proposed to run from Golden southeast to near present-day Littleton and connect with the Rio Grande. This line was partially graded and tracked by 1879. It is shown on the map running as far as Mount Vernon.

Further dating evidence is a lack of any structures shown at the present location of Evergreen, at the junction of Cub Creek and Bear Creek. According to the published history of Evergreen, Evergreen: Our Mountain Community, a trading post was built at this location in 1877 and several businesses were operating in the vicinity by 1880. There is a small, penciled-in square on the map at the Evergreen location, perhaps indicating the addition of the trading post to the map after it was drafted. It is also possible that structures at Evergreen are not shown because they would not have appeared on the original General Land Office township survey maps from which the Jefferson County map appears to have been based.

There is one significant and unexplained anomaly in this proposed dating of the map. As originally laid out by the legislature in 1861, Jefferson County extended south below the Second Correction Line (between the 10th and 11th township lines south) so that it projected “into” Park County. This southern tip of Jefferson County was not legally transferred to Park County until 1909, yet this map shows the southern boundary of Jefferson County to be the line after the transfer occurred.

Authorship There is no direct or indirect evidence of what individual, company, or governmental body compiled or drafted this map. Its large size and general topographic content suggest that it could have been produced by or for Jefferson County as a general reference tool. However no reference to the purchase or preparation of any such map in the Board of County Commissioners Minutes was found during the late 1870s, and the map has no known previous association with Jefferson County government. It was purchased by Bunny Clement in the 1970s at a local antique shop.

While it was originally thought that Edward L. Berthoud, in his position as County Surveyor from 1875 to 1878, may have been involved in the creation of the map, no evidence was found to support the idea. In addition, the writing style on an 1868 Berthoud map of Jefferson County owned by the Colorado Historical Society is not comparable to the writing style on this map.

The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Geological Survey, Colorado State Archives, and the Clear Creek County Archivist were contacted, but none of them were aware of the existence of any other maps of similar size or content dating from the 1870s or 1880s. Thus, the Jefferson County map does not appear to be part of any larger effort to produce county maps in Colorado.

Existence and Location of Copies

1879 map: Denver Public Library Digital Collections,

1890 map: Jefferson County Public Library

Physical Description

Original circa 1879 map measures 5 ft. x 13 ft. and is in four 50" by 60" sections, ink on linen-backed paper, encapsulated in Mylar with an additional two copies on microfiche. Circa 1890 map on microfiche only. Date estimated based on status of railroad lines and platted towns. Scale not determined. Microfiche header title: Jefferson County manuscript map, ca. 1870. Microfiche produced in 1970.

Processing Information

Processed by Marge Benham in 2000, Reprocessed by Ronda Frazier in 2010.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Jefferson County Archives Repository

3500 Illinois Street
Suite 2350
Golden CO 80401 United States