Commerce City, Colorado
City of Commerce City[1]
Commerce City Civic Center at 60th Avenue and Trenton Street
Commerce City Civic Center at 60th Avenue and Trenton Street
Flag of Commerce City, Colorado
Location of the City of Commerce City in Adams County, Colorado
Location of the City of Commerce City in Adams County, Colorado
Commerce City is located in the United States
Commerce City
Commerce City
Location of the City of Commerce City in the United States.
Coordinates: 39°52′59″N 104°47′44″W / 39.882968°N 104.795452°W / 39.882968; -104.795452[2]
Country United States
State Colorado
CountyAdams County[1]
Incorporated as townDecember 12, 1952, as Town of Commerce Town[3]
Incorporated as city1962 as City of Commerce City
 • TypeHome rule municipality
 • MayorSteve Douglas
 • Total36.399 sq mi (94.273 km2)
 • Land36.002 sq mi (93.246 km2)
 • Water0.397 sq mi (1.027 km2)
Elevation5,164 ft (1,574 m)
 • Total62,418
 • Density1,734/sq mi (670/km2)
 • Metro
2,963,821 (19th)
 • CSA
3,623,560 (17th)
 • Front Range
Time zoneUTC−07:00 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−06:00 (MDT)
ZIP Codes[6]
80022 & 80037 (PO Box)
Area code(s)Both 303 and 720
FIPS code08-16495
GNIS feature ID0184666
HighwaysI-76, I-270, US 6, US 85, SH 2, SH 35, SH 44, SH 224, SH 265

The City of Commerce City is a home rule municipality located in Adams County, Colorado, United States.[1] The city population was 62,418 at the 2020 United States Census, a 35.95% increase since the 2010 United States Census.[4] Commerce City is the 18th most populous municipality in Colorado. Commerce City is located north of Denver and is a part of the Denver–Aurora–Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Front Range Urban Corridor. Commerce City is a mixed residential and industrial community that is known for an oil refinery with a capacity of 90,000 barrels per day (14,000 m3/d), operated by Suncor.[7][8] Dick's Sporting Goods Park, a soccer stadium in Commerce City, hosts the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer.


In 1859 after fighting in Bleeding Kansas, 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 north of Denver, from which he sold meat and provisions to gold seekers on their way up the South Platte River Trail to the gold fields during the Pikes 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. Henderson Island is today the site of the Adams County Regional Park and Fairgrounds.

Among the first establishments in the modern Commerce City were cemeteries. Riverside Cemetery, founded in 1876, is located in the city's southwest corner at East 52nd Avenue and Brighton Boulevard. Rose Hill Cemetery, in the heart of historic Commerce City, was established in 1892 on what at the time was an open plain by the United Hebrew Cemetery Association.

The first school in the area began in 1871 as a one-room schoolhouse, with other schools added in 1899 and later in 1907. This latter school is now part of the North Building at the former site of Adams City High School, now Adams 14 School District Administration Buildings.

Several towns were founded in this part of Adams County in the 19th century. Derby, a Burlington Railroad station in 1887, was laid out as a town in 1889, although it was largely vacated by 1891. Irondale was first settled in 1889, named after a foundry that was opened that year. It was incorporated as the town of Irondale in 1924, but unincorporated in the 1930s due to increasing vacancy. Meanwhile, Adams City was laid out in 1903, with developers hoping the county seat would be established there; however, Brighton was elected county seat in 1904 and Adams City was vacated in 1922.

Until the late 1920s, the area was devoted to agriculture, including wheat fields, dairies, and pig farms. Industry moved in, with a refinery established in 1930 and grain elevators built in the late 1930s. Rocky Mountain Arsenal was founded in 1942 due east of the growing community.

In 1946 and 1947, Adams County School District 14 was formed from surrounding schools, and Adams City was redeveloped about that time. In 1951, as Denver was considering annexing the area, a plan to incorporate all of southern Adams County was developed. In July 1952, area residents voted 251 to 24 to incorporate Commerce Town, comprising neighborhoods such as Rose Hill and southern Adams City. Commerce Town annexed part of Derby in 1962, increasing the population over fourfold, enough for the town to gain the status of a city. The city name was duly changed to Commerce City.[9] In April 2007, the citizens of Commerce City voted more than 2:1 to retain their city's name.[10]

The Mile High Kennel Club, a greyhound racing park founded in 1949, is no longer operational. With the onset of widespread off-track gambling, the physical moving of races around the country to different parks became unnecessary. The City of Commerce City has purchased the land with future development use unknown at this time.

A new Adams City High School has been constructed on land at 72nd and Quebec streets. This was formerly part of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. The new school campus opened in 2009.[11]


Commerce City, Colorado, recognized for its distinctive geographic and developmental areas, comprises the core city—often referred to as the heart of Commerce City—and the expansive Northern Range, also known as Commerce City North.[12][13] Mayor Steve Douglas's administration acknowledges these two distinct regions, emphasizing a strategic approach to development that addresses their unique characteristics and potential. This recognition is instrumental in guiding the city's growth and development initiatives, aiming for balanced and inclusive advancement across both areas[14]

Commerce City is located at 39°50′27″N 104°54′4″W / 39.84083°N 104.90111°W / 39.84083; -104.90111 (39.840735, -104.901139).[15]

At the 2020 United States Census, the city had a total area of 23,295 acres (94.273 km2), including 254 acres (1.027 km2) of water.[4]


Climate data for Commerce City, Colorado
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 47
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 22
Source: Accuweather[16]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census[17] of 2000, there were 20,991 people, 6,668 households, and 4,974 families residing in the city. The population density was 812.2 inhabitants per square mile (313.6/km2) under the age of 18, 11.5% from 18 to 24, 30.6% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females, there were 109.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 111.1 males.

The demographic breakdown of the city shows a composition of 74.15% White, 3.39% African American, 1.23% Native American, 2.46% Asian, 13.15% from other races, and 5.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino individuals of any race constitute 46.8% of the total population.

The median income for a household in the city was $69,268 and the median wage in the city was $54,340. The labor force was 28,684 with 31,086 jobs residing within the city. About 15.3% of families and 19.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.5% of those under age 18 and 15.1% of those age 65 or over.


Over 1,400 companies call Commerce City home, ranging from international and national headquarters to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, home of the Colorado Rapids Major League Soccer franchise

Commerce City is home to an oil refinery with a capacity of 98,000 barrels per day (15,600 m3/d).[8] Originally, this facility existed as two separately owned refineries, one on each side of Brighton Boulevard.

Suncor Energy bought the west refinery from ConocoPhillips in 2003.[18] A project to upgrade this facility began in August of that year.[19]

Suncor purchased the east refinery from Valero in June 2005 with the eventual goal of combining the two operations.[7] As a result of a lawsuit by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a number of states (including Colorado) alleging violations of the Clean Air Act, Valero agreed in June 2005 to make pollution-reducing changes to its refineries, including the Commerce City facility. Suncor's purchase agreement included an assumption of all liability from this suit.[20]

The west refinery's upgrade project, named "Project Odyssey," was extended to the east refinery. The west plant was shut down in February 2006 to complete the upgrade, while the east plant continued to refine 34,000 barrels (5,400 m3) of oil per day. The completion of the $445 million project was announced in June 2006 and allows Suncor to meet the EPA's mandate to reduce the sulfur content of diesel fuel. It also gives the refinery the ability to process Suncor's Canadian sour crude oil sands. The combined facility is the largest refinery in the Rocky Mountain region.[21]


Adams County school districts 27J and 14 serve Commerce City.[22]

Notable people

Notable individuals who were born in or have lived in Commerce City include:

In popular culture

Denver-based band DeVotchKa recorded a song called "Commerce City Sister".

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Active Colorado Municipalities". Colorado Department of Local Affairs. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  2. ^ "2014 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Places". United States Census Bureau. July 1, 2014. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  3. ^ "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. December 1, 2004. Retrieved September 2, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c d "Decennial Census P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data". United States Census Bureau, United States Department of Commerce. August 12, 2021. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup". United States Postal Service. Archived from the original (JavaScript/HTML) on September 3, 2007. Retrieved September 5, 2007.
  7. ^ a b "Suncor Energy acquires second refinery near Denver, Colorado". June 1, 2005. Archived from the original (News release) on October 16, 2006. Retrieved November 10, 2006.
  8. ^ a b "Suncor Refining and Marketing". Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  9. ^ Wagner, Alvin (1977). "Commerce Town Stops Denver Annexation". Adams County: Crossroads of the West. Vol. II. Brighton, Colorado: Board of Adams County Commissioners. ISBN 0-930952-01-4.
  10. ^ "Commerce City voters keep name the same". The Denver Post. April 3, 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  11. ^ Whaley, Monte. "Old Adams City High School to be renovated". Denver Post. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  12. ^ Patterson, Kelly D.; Armon, Bruce D. (October 21, 2022). "Partisan Goals and Redistricting". Commonwealth. 7 (1). doi:10.15367/com.v7i1.551. ISSN 2469-7672.
  13. ^ Wise, Stephen (June 1999). "Extracting raster GIS data from scanned thematic maps". Transactions in GIS. 3 (3): 221–237. doi:10.1111/1467-9671.00019. ISSN 1361-1682.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  16. ^ "Commerce City Weather". Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  17. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  18. ^ Raabe, Steve (November 30, 2003). "Canada's sands of gold". The Denver Post. Archived from the original on May 12, 2004. Retrieved November 10, 2006.
  19. ^ "Suncor Energy's Commerce City refinery maintenance shutdown to begin February 3" (News release). Suncor Energy. February 2, 2006. Retrieved November 10, 2006.
  20. ^ "Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Announces Agreement with Valero Refining Company; Air Pollution Emissions to be Reduced Dramatically at Commerce City Refinery". State of Colorado, Department of Public Health and Environment. June 16, 2005. Archived from the original on September 23, 2006. Retrieved November 10, 2006.
  21. ^ "Environmental and operational enhancements complete - Suncor Energy completes upgrade to its Commerce City refinery". June 26, 2006. Retrieved November 10, 2006.
  22. ^ Kirk, Alexander; Jordan Chavez (August 13, 2018). "No more Mondays for students in this Denver metro school district". 9 News. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  23. ^ O'Brien, David (August 2, 1993). "Playing By The Book Dolphins Rookie Ronnie Bradford Is A Student Of The Game". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  24. ^ "Dominick Moreno's Biography". Vote Smart. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  25. ^ "Joe Rogers, Colorado's second black lieutenant governor, has died". The Denver Post. October 8, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
  26. ^ "JoAnn Windholz, Rep. R-Commerce City, discusses powdered alcohol bill". The Denver Post. January 23, 2015. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved May 2, 2016.