Longmont History

We bet you didn’t know the city of Longmont traces its roots to Lake Michigan territory, did you?

Maybe that’s getting ahead of things…

The simple truth is that people were coming to the St. Vrain Valley long before it was called that. The vibrant landscape and rich resources have been enriching minds, and fueling bodies for hundreds of years.

Ancestors of the Arapahoe and other native peoples used the area in and around Longmont as seasonal hunting grounds in their migrations around the West. The Arapahoe themselves stalked bison and collected eagle feathers right here in the shadow of Longs Peak.

Beginning in the early 1800’s, the first Anglo explorers arrived. They were are hearty bunch, and among them was mountain man Ceran St. Vrain, for whom much of the area is named. From those beginnings, the steady advance of pioneers to Colorado began – explorers, farmers, miners and many just hoping to find an unspoiled place to call home.

By 1870, the word was out. The land in north central Colorado held a lot of promise, and no one was more interested than a group from Chicago, Illinois. The original “Chicago Colonists” sold memberships to purchase 60,000 acres of land and launch a town in what is now Longmont, named for French explorer Stephen Long and nearby Longs Peak.

But why read about Longmont’s history when you can walk through it? The Longmont Museum and Cultural Center’s permanent exhibit of Longmont’s evolution – from its prehistoric roots through to its reputation as a technology center today – is an excellent choice for your vacation in Longmont or a day trip stop. The museum is one of Longmont’s modern architectural marvels. Children love the kid-friendly hands-on exhibits. Adults appreciate the rotating arts and cultural exhibits.

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