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Adams County, Colorado
Adams County Government Center.jpg
Adams County Government Center in Brighton
Map of Colorado highlighting Adams County
Location in the state of Colorado
Map of the U.S. highlighting Colorado
Colorado's location in the U.S.
Founded April 15, 1901
Named for Alva Adams[1]
Seat Brighton
Largest city Thornton
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,184 sq mi (3,067 km²)
1,168 sq mi (3,025 km²)
16 sq mi (41 km²), 1.4%
Population
 - (2020)
 - Density

519,572[2]
445/sq mi (172/km²)
Congressional districts 4th, 6th, 7th
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/-6
Website www.adcogov.org
Footnotes:
Fifth most populous Colorado county

Adams County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2020 census, the population was 519,572.[2] The county seat is Brighton.[3] The county is named for Alva Adams, an early Governor of the State of Colorado in 1887–1889.[1] Adams County is part of the DenverAuroraLakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History[]

On May 30, 1854, the Kansas–Nebraska Act created the Territory of Nebraska and Territory of Kansas, divided by the Parallel 40° North (168th Avenue in present-day Adams County). The future Adams County, Colorado, occupied a strip of northern Arapahoe County, Kansas Territory, immediately south of the Nebraska Territory.

In 1859, John D. "Colonel Jack" Henderson built a ranch, trading post, and hotel on Henderson Island in the South Platte River in Arapahoe County, Kansas Territory. Jack Henderson was the former editor and proprietor of the Leavenworth (Kansas Territory) Journal and an outspoken pro-slavery politician who had been accused of vote fraud in eastern Kansas. Henderson sold meat and provisions to gold seekers on their way up the South Platte River Trail to the gold fields during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush. Henderson Island was the first permanent settlement in the South Platte River Valley between Fort Saint Vrain in the Nebraska Territory and the Cherry Creek Diggings in the Kansas Territory. Jack Henderson eventually returned to eastern Kansas and fought for the Union in the American Civil War. Henderson Island is today the site of the Adams County Regional Park and Fairgrounds.

The eastern portion of the Kansas Territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Kansas on January 29, 1861, and on February 28, 1861, the remaining western portion of the territory was made part of the new Colorado Territory.[4] The Colorado Territory created Arapahoe County, on November 1, 1861, and Colorado was admitted to the Union on August 1, 1876.[4]

In 1901, the Colorado General Assembly voted to split Arapahoe County into three parts: a new Adams County, a new consolidated City and County of Denver, and the remainder of the Arapahoe County to be renamed South Arapahoe County. A ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court, subsequent legislation, and a referendum delayed the creation of Adams County until November 15, 1902. Governor James Bradley Orman designated Brighton as the temporary Adams County Seat. Adams County originally stretched 160 miles (258 kilometers) from present-day Sheridan Boulevard to the Kansas state border. On May 12, 1903, the eastern 88 miles (142 kilometers) of Adams County was transferred to the new Washington County and the new Yuma County, reducing the length of Adams County to the present 72 miles (116 kilometers). On November 8, 1904, Adams County voters chose Brighton as the permanent county seat.

A 1989 vote transferred 53 square miles (137 square kilometers) of Adams County to the City and County of Denver for the proposed Denver International Airport, leaving the densely populated western portion of the county as two oddly-shaped peninsulas. Adams County lost the tip of its northwest corner when the consolidated City and County of Broomfield was created on November 15, 2001.

Geography[]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,184 square miles (3,070 km2), of which 1,168 square miles (3,030 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (1.4%) is water.[5]

Adams County surrounds (and surrendered the land for) most of Denver International Airport which is in the City and County of Denver.

Adjacent counties[]

Major Highways[]

  • I-25 (CO).svg Interstate 25
  • I-70 (CO).svg Interstate 70
  • I-76 (CO).svg Interstate 76
  • I-225 (CO).svg Interstate 225
  • I-70 Bus.
  • US 6.svg U.S. Highway 6
  • US 36.svg U.S. Highway 36
  • US 40.svg U.S. Highway 40
  • US 85.svg U.S. Highway 85
  • US 87.svg U.S. Highway 87
  • Colorado 2.svg State Highway 2
  • Colorado 7.svg State Highway 7
  • Colorado 36.svg State Highway 36
  • Colorado 40.svg State Highway 40
  • Colorado 44.svg State Highway 44
  • Colorado 79.svg State Highway 79
  • Colorado 128.svg State Highway 128
  • Colorado 224.svg State Highway 224
  • Colorado 265.svg State Highway 265
  • E-470 (tollway)

National protected area[]

  • Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

State park[]

  • Barr Lake State Park

Historic trail[]

  • South Platte Trail

Recreational trails[]

  • American Discovery Trail
  • Big Dry Creek National Recreation Trail
  • Highline Canal National Recreation Trail
  • Platte River Greenway National Recreation Trail
  • Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Recreation Trail

Demographics[]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1910 8,892
1920 14,430 62.3%
1930 20,245 40.3%
1940 22,481 11.0%
1950 40,234 79.0%
1960 120,296 199.0%
1970 185,789 54.4%
1980 245,944 32.4%
1990 265,038 7.8%
2000 363,857 37.3%
2010 441,603 21.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2020[2]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 363,857 people, 128,156 households, and 92,144 families residing in the county. The population density was 305 people per square mile (118/km2). There were 132,594 housing units at an average density of 111 per square mile (43/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 77.29% White, 2.97% Black or African American, 1.19% Native American, 3.21% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 11.73% from other races, and 3.49% from two or more races. 28.19% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 128,156 households, out of which 37.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.80% were married couples living together, 12.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.10% were non-families. 21.20% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.27.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 28.60% under the age of 18, 10.30% from 18 to 24, 34.00% from 25 to 44, 19.40% from 45 to 64, and 7.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 102.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $47,323, and the median income for a family was $52,517. Males had a median income of $36,499 versus $28,053 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,944. About 6.50% of families and 8.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.90% of those under age 18 and 7.30% of those age 65 or over.

In 2000, the largest denominational groups were Catholics (with 60,429 members) and Evangelical Protestants (with 25,552 members).[11] The largest religious bodies were the Catholic Church (with 60,429 adherents) and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (with 6,808 adherents).[12]

Politics[]

Adams County is predominately Democratic, not having voted Republican since Ronald Reagan in 1984. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the county without a majority, becoming the first Democrat to do so since her husband Bill Clinton in 1992. In the 2020 election, Joe Biden handily won the county with majority of the vote, performing almost well as Barack Obama did in 2012 and 2008 in percentage but still gaining more votes than Obama did.

United States presidential election results for Adams County, Colorado[13]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 95,657 40.41% 134,202 56.69% 6,881 2.91%
2016 80,082 41.35% 96,558 49.86% 17,037 8.80%
2012 70,972 40.12% 100,649 56.90% 5,272 2.98%
2008 63,976 39.86% 93,445 58.22% 3,080 1.92%
2004 65,912 48.22% 69,122 50.57% 1,643 1.20%
2000 47,561 44.10% 54,132 50.19% 6,159 5.71%
1996 36,666 38.92% 48,314 51.28% 9,234 9.80%
1992 30,856 29.93% 45,357 44.00% 26,864 26.06%
1988 43,163 45.87% 49,464 52.57% 1,467 1.56%
1984 55,092 60.20% 35,285 38.56% 1,134 1.24%
1980 42,916 50.50% 31,357 36.90% 10,702 12.59%
1976 35,392 45.30% 40,551 51.90% 2,184 2.80%
1972 40,372 60.79% 24,170 36.39% 1,870 2.82%
1968 24,343 43.87% 25,111 45.25% 6,039 10.88%
1964 15,652 30.42% 35,498 68.99% 304 0.59%
1960 18,452 46.36% 21,168 53.19% 178 0.45%
1956 12,778 52.23% 11,470 46.89% 215 0.88%
1952 8,995 54.89% 7,321 44.68% 71 0.43%
1948 6,240 57.83% 4,419 40.95% 132 1.22%
1944 4,933 54.43% 4,101 45.25% 29 0.32%
1940 4,767 50.16% 4,674 49.18% 62 0.65%
1936 3,124 38.33% 4,865 59.69% 162 1.99%
1932 2,812 36.69% 4,554 59.41% 299 3.90%
1928 4,031 63.10% 2,265 35.46% 92 1.44%
1924 2,931 56.33% 1,209 23.24% 1,063 20.43%
1920 2,510 57.57% 1,633 37.45% 217 4.98%
1916 1,165 33.93% 2,120 61.74% 149 4.34%
1912 398 14.10% 1,312 46.48% 1,113 39.43%
1908 1,301 49.06% 1,232 46.46% 119 4.49%
1904 1,115 50.89% 1,041 47.51% 35 1.60%



Education[]

The school districts serving Adams County are:[14]

  • Adams 12 Five Star Schools
  • Adams County School District 14
  • Bennett School District 29J
  • Brighton School District 27J
  • Mapleton Public Schools (Adams 1)
  • Strasburg School District 31J
  • Westminster Public Schools

Communities[]

Cities[]

  • Arvada (part)
  • Aurora (part)
  • Brighton (part)
  • Commerce City
  • Federal Heights
  • Northglenn (part)
  • Strasburg (part)
  • Thornton (part)
  • Westminster (part)

Town[]

  • Bennett (part)

Census-designated places[]

  • Berkley
  • Derby
  • North Washington
  • Shaw Heights
  • Sherrelwood
  • Strasburg (mostly in Arapahoe Co.)
  • Todd Creek
  • Twin Lakes
  • Watkins (mostly in Arapahoe Co.)
  • Welby

Other unincorporated communities[]

  • Henderson (portions have been annexed by Brighton, Commerce City, and Thornton)

Populated Places[]

  • Cabin Creek
  • Comanche
  • Leader
  • Shamrock

License plate code[]

Up until 1999 when Colorado ceased coding license plates by county, Adams County used the following codes on license plates issued to passenger vehicles: TE-UF, GA-GG, SAA-SEW, and SEY-TZZ.[15]

In popular culture[]

Adams County was featured as the fictional rival of South Park's peewee hockey team in the South Park episode "Stanley's Cup".

See also[]

  • Outline of Colorado
  • Index of Colorado-related articles
  • Colorado census statistical areas
  • Colorado counties
  • Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area
  • Front Range Urban Corridor
  • Arapahoe County, Kansas Territory
  • Arrappahoe County, Jefferson Territory
  • Arapahoe County, Colorado Territory
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Adams County, Colorado

References[]

  1. ^ a b Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. pp. 23. https://archive.org/details/origincertainpl00ganngoog. 
  2. ^ a b c "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts". U.S. Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/adamscountycolorado. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Counties/Pages/FindACounty.aspx. 
  4. ^ a b "State Government History". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. April 18, 2001. http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/arcgov.html. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. https://www.census.gov/geographies/reference-files/time-series/geo/gazetteer-files.html. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census.html. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu. 
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/cencounts/co190090.txt. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs/phc-t4/tables/tab02.pdf. 
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov. 
  11. ^ "County Membership Reports". thearda.com. http://www.thearda.com/mapsReports/reports/counties/08001_2000.asp. 
  12. ^ "County Membership Reports". thearda.com. http://www.thearda.com/mapsReports/reports/counties/08001_2000_Adherents.asp. 
  13. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/. 
  14. ^ Education, Colorado Department of. "Index of Counties and School Districts". Colorado Department of Education. http://www.cde.state.co.us/edulibdir/directory_17.pdf. 
  15. ^ "Colorado County Codes". http://www.15q.net/coco.html. 

External links[]

Coordinates: 39°52′N 104°21′W / 39.87, -104.35

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