Glenwood Springs, Colorado
View of Glenwood Springs from Lookout Mountain
View of Glenwood Springs from Lookout Mountain
Location of the City of Glenwood Springs in Garfield County, Colorado
Location of the City of Glenwood Springs in Garfield County, Colorado
Glenwood Springs is located in the United States
Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Springs
Location of the City of Glenwood Springs in the United States
Coordinates: 39°32′44″N 107°20′05″W / 39.54556°N 107.33472°W / 39.54556; -107.33472
Country United States
State Colorado
CountyGarfield County seat[1]
Settled1883
IncorporatedSeptember 4, 1885[2]
Government
 • TypeHome Rule Municipality[1]
 • MayorIngrid Wussow
Area
 • Total5.844 sq mi (15.136 km2)
 • Land5.836 sq mi (15.114 km2)
 • Water0.008 sq mi (0.022 km2)
Elevation5,883 ft (1,793 m)
Population
 • Total9,963
 • Density1,707/sq mi (659/km2)
 • Metro
79,043
 • CSA
134,774
Time zoneUTC−07:00 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−06:00 (MDT)
ZIP codes[5]
81601, 81602 (PO Box)
Area code970
FIPS code08-30780
GNIS feature ID2410605[4]
Websitewww.ci.glenwood-springs.co.us

Glenwood Springs is a home rule municipality that is the county seat of Garfield County, Colorado, United States.[6] The city population was 9,963 at the 2020 United States Census.[3] Glenwood Springs is located at the confluence of the Roaring Fork River and the Colorado River, connecting the Roaring Fork Valley and a series of smaller towns on the Colorado River.

Glenwood Springs is known for its hot springs.[7]

History

For thousands of years, the area that is now Glenwood Springs has been inhabited by Indigenous people.[8] The oral history of the Kapuuta and Mouache bands recall that Glenwood Springs is located within the traditional Nuuchiu tuvupu (The People's Land) of the Subuagan and Parianuche bands. Fred Conetah's History of the Northern Utes[9] states that the Yampa or White River bands used the area, which is now in the Ute ancestral jurisdiction.[10] The Utes were nomadic hunter-gatherers who seasonally used the natural hot springs in the area. The U.S. government surveyed the land in the mid-19th century, although they had no claim on the land. An 1868 treaty negotiated by the Tabeguache Ute Chief Ouray preserved the hunting grounds in the area of present-day Glenwood Springs.[11]

For a short time in the 19th century, Glenwood Springs was known as "Defiance", a name sometimes still used by local teams or businesses. Defiance was established in 1883 as a camp of tents, saloons, and brothels with an increasing amount of cabins and lodging establishments. It was populated with gamblers, gunslingers, and prostitutes.[citation needed] Isaac Cooper was the founder of the town. His wife Sarah was having a hard time adjusting to the frontier life and, in an attempt to make her environment somewhat more comfortable, persuaded the founders to change the name to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, after her hometown of Glenwood, Iowa.[12]

Glenwood Hot Springs Bathhouse, Glenwood Springs, built c. 1888

Glenwood Springs, then a small encampment, was not the original county seat of Garfield County. Rather, a larger mining town that had been seeded with silver in order to attract miners on top of the Flat Tops mountains named Carbonate was the original county seat. Carbonate briefly had a post office, but the mail courier who won the contract to deliver mail to Carbonate found only one miner living there on his first delivery, which took 65 km horizontally and 1.5 km vertically. In the end, the courier paid the miner $100 in 1880s dollars to move out so that the post office could be closed and he would not have to make the journey again. Carbonate remained the county seat for only four months before Glenwood Springs was selected by voters as the new location.[13]

The location of Glenwood Springs, and its railroad stop, established a center of commerce in the area. The city has seen well-known visitors, including President Teddy Roosevelt,[14][15] who spent a summer vacation living in the historic Hotel Colorado. Doc Holliday, who was known for the O.K. Corral gunfight, spent the final months of his life in Glenwood Springs and is buried in the town's original Pioneer Cemetery above Bennett Avenue. Kid Curry is buried in the same location. The serial killer Ted Bundy was imprisoned in the Garfield County Jail until he escaped on the night of December 30, 1977, an escape which went undetected for 17 hours.[16]

Grand Avenue, Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs was one of the first places in the United States to have electric lights. The original lighting was installed in 1897 inside of the Fairy Caves in Iron Mountain. Later, a dam was built in Glenwood Canyon, providing water for the Shoshone power plant. The plant began producing power on May 16, 1909, and retains the largest and oldest water rights to the Colorado River,[17] the "Shoshone Call",[18] which is valuable for the protection of Colorado River water rather than the minimal electricity produced.[19]

Geography

Looking west from Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park above Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs is located in the narrow mountain valleys that host the confluence of the Colorado River and the Roaring Fork River. The surrounding terrain is steeply contoured on all sides, containing several caves.[20] The geology of the area includes geothermal activity, such as the local hot springs, but it is also evidenced through other features such as the Dotsero maar. Occasional proposals to leverage the geothermal energy for other purposes arise.[21] Glenwood Springs has experienced several mudslides throughout its history, a threat mitigated somewhat by public works.[22]

Glenwood Springs is considered a walkable town by PBS[23] and Walking Magazine,[24] included in the Walking Town Hall of Fame.[25] Though the town's geography makes it a natural environment for pedestrians and cyclists, there are also trails running throughout[26] and around the city[27] that resulted from planning efforts that began in the 1980s in response to congestion and traffic.[28]

Due to civic planning during the early years of the city, Glenwood Springs owns some senior water rights to tributaries of the Colorado River.[29] Glenwood Springs water supply is sufficient for its population, unlike some areas of the American West, conservation plans have been enacted anyway for largely environmental reasons.[30] The town's drinking water is supplied primarily through senior rights to major watersheds in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area, and the tap water is generally of safe quality.[31]

Mineral deposits exist further up the Crystal River and in the Roaring Fork area, and petroleum resources are ample in western Garfield County,[32] which brings tax revenue to Glenwood Springs. However, the town itself lies outside of the Colorado Mineral Belt, and there are no mineral or oil and gas sources near Glenwood Springs proper or its watersheds.[32] While the paucity of minerals and oil was disastrous for early miners hoping to strike it rich, modern Glenwood Springs has none of the typical Colorado mountain town legacy of resource extraction,[33] generally good air quality,[34] water, and land.[35] However, valley inversions and heavy traffic to Aspen can lead to air quality problems during exceptionally cold spells of winter.

At the 2020 United States Census, the city had a total area of 3,740 acres (15.136 km2), including 5.4 acres (0.022 km2) of water.[3]

Climate

Glenwood Springs has a generally continental steppe climate, much more consistently stable than that of the Front Range and most of Colorado, though still decidedly continental and prone to periods of extreme weather. Microclimates dominate Glenwood Springs, with areas close to the rivers often much more damp and cool than hillsides.

Climate data for Glenwood Springs (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1893–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 60
(16)
67
(19)
79
(26)
88
(31)
95
(35)
102
(39)
102
(39)
100
(38)
100
(38)
88
(31)
80
(27)
65
(18)
102
(39)
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 35.5
(1.9)
41
(5)
51.5
(10.8)
59.4
(15.2)
69.8
(21.0)
81
(27)
87.3
(30.7)
85.1
(29.5)
76.2
(24.6)
63.8
(17.7)
47.2
(8.4)
35.4
(1.9)
61.2
(16.2)
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 13.4
(−10.3)
18.5
(−7.5)
26.6
(−3.0)
32.1
(0.1)
39.2
(4.0)
46
(8)
52.8
(11.6)
52
(11)
43.6
(6.4)
33.2
(0.7)
23.9
(−4.5)
14.9
(−9.5)
33.1
(0.6)
Record low °F (°C) −38
(−39)
−30
(−34)
−14
(−26)
2
(−17)
17
(−8)
27
(−3)
30
(−1)
28
(−2)
20
(−7)
10
(−12)
−12
(−24)
−22
(−30)
−38
(−39)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.49
(38)
1.1
(28)
1.42
(36)
1.52
(39)
1.79
(45)
1.07
(27)
1.07
(27)
1.27
(32)
1.95
(50)
1.85
(47)
1.34
(34)
1.28
(33)
17.15
(436)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 17.9
(45)
11.2
(28)
6.6
(17)
1.8
(4.6)
0.3
(0.76)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1.1
(2.8)
5.3
(13)
14.9
(38)
59.3
(151)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 8 7 8 8 7 5 6 8 7 6 6 8 84
Source: WRCC (temperature and precipitation data 1981–2010, snowfall 1893–2012)[36]

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
1890920
19001,35046.7%
19102,01949.6%
19202,0732.7%
19301,825−12.0%
19402,25323.5%
19502,4127.1%
19603,63750.8%
19704,10612.9%
19804,63712.9%
19906,56141.5%
20007,73617.9%
20109,61424.3%
20209,9633.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

Glenwood Springs is the principal city of the Glenwood Springs, CO Micropolitan Statistical Area.

As of the census[37] of 2000, there were 7,736 people, 3,216 households, and 1,926 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,611 inhabitants per square mile (622/km2). There were 3,353 housing units at an average density of 698.5 units per square mile (269.7 units/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.42% White, 0.23% African American, 0.71% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 5.82% from other races, and 1.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 13.3% of the population. 13.9% were of German, 13.3% English, 12.9% Irish, 7.6% American and 7% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 3,216 households, out of which 30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.7% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.1% were non-families. 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 23.1% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 33.3% from 25 to 44, 24.9% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 103.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $43,934, and the median income for a family was $52,903. Males had a median income of $38,506 versus $29,272 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,449. About 3.5% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.

Despite being an expensive area in which to live, Glenwood Springs has the highest life expectancy in America for 40-year-olds making working wages.[38][39]

Economy

Historical image of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, its baths and Hotel Colorado

Glenwood does not primarily serve as a bedroom community. In 2020, it received stimulus money.[40] Due to severe geographic constraints,[30] if further population growth is to be accommodated, it must come primarily from multifamily infill development.[41][42]

Bloomberg Business named Glenwood Springs the seventh wealthiest small town in America in 2015,[43][44] due principally to the influence of Aspen.[citation needed] Glenwood Springs and Aspen share a micropolitan statistical area, and businesses often serve the entire Valley. Many small businesses start in the area due to the ambient wealth and a strong preference for local business, but they typically relocate to larger metropolitan areas after successful growth leads to needs for more affordable labor and physical resources.[45]

A ranch located in Glenwood Springs produces Red Delicious apples.[46]

Arts and culture

Strawberry Days Festival, founded in 1898, is Colorado's oldest festival, and the oldest continuously held civic celebration west of the Mississippi River.[47]

Parks and recreation

Hot springs

A hot springs pool in Glenwood Springs

There are numerous hot springs in the area, including several facilities in town that range from 93 to 104 °F (34 to 40 °C) with varying mineral content.[48][10] Native Americans believe the springs had medicinal and magical qualities, and prior to 1800, the Utes believed the springs were sacred.[8]

Yampah Hot Springs vapor caves are underground geothermal steam baths, historically used by the Ute people as a source of rejuvenation and healing.[49] The vapor caves consist of three connecting rock chambers, and temperatures average 110 to 112 °F (43 to 44 °C).[citation needed]

Iron Mountain Hot Springs features mineral water soaking pools.[50]

Water sports

Glenwood Springs is noted for its fishing.[51] There is a dedicated Glenwood Whitewater Park.[52]

Bike trails

Two bike trails end at Glenwood.[53] The Glenwood Canyon Recreational Trail[54] winds 16 miles (26 km) through Glenwood Canyon. The Rio Grande Trail[55] runs roughly 41 miles (66 km) along the former local Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, to Aspen.[56]

Glenwood Caverns

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is an amusement park located near Glenwood Springs.[57]

Glenwood Vaudeville Revue

The Glenwood Vaudeville Revue, founded in 2009, performs a dinner theater show in a renovated downtown movie theater.[58][59][60]

Education

K-12 education

Public education is administered by Roaring Fork Schools. Schools located in Glenwood Springs include:[61]

St. Stephen Catholic School offers an elementary and middle school curriculum.[62] Also located in Glenwood Springs is Yampah Mountain High School, which offers alternative education.

Higher education

Colorado Mountain College maintains two campuses in Glenwood Springs: a commuter campus in downtown Glenwood Springs, and the Spring Valley residential campus just south of the city.[63]

The University of Denver maintains its Western Colorado Master of Social Work program in Glenwood Springs. This program specifically focuses on training students to be social workers in rural communities.[64]

Media

Glenwood Springs' principal news source is the Post Independent,[65] a local daily newspaper created by the merger of the Glenwood Post, with a history stretching back in various forms to 1889,[66] and a newer competitor, the Glenwood Independent. It has received numerous awards over the years,[67] including the 2016 American Society of News Editors' Osborne Award for Editorial Leadership.[68] The newspaper and many of its reporters have been recognized by the Colorado Associated Press for a variety of distinctions.[69]

KMTS[70] provides local country radio along the Colorado River, and KSNO-FM[71] serves the Roaring Fork Valley.

The town is also served by local television KREG-TV, alongside K42EV-D, a repeater of Grand Junction ABC affiliate KJCT-LP and K32NO-D, a repeater of Rocky Mountain PBS.

Infrastructure

Transportation

The Glenwood Springs train station, run by Amtrak

Amtrak and other rail

Amtrak's California Zephyr, operating daily in both directions between Chicago and Emeryville, California, serves Glenwood Springs, the second busiest station in Colorado, behind only Denver's Union Station.[72] The first commercially successful dome cars were built for the Zephyr family, inspired by Glenwood Canyon.[73]

Starting in August 2021, the Canada-based luxury rail excursion company Rocky Mountaineer has provided direct passenger rail service between Moab, Utah and Denver, Colorado (with an overnight stop in Glenwood Springs, Colorado) on its Rockies to the Red Rocks route.[74]

The local transportation authority is Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA, pronounced "rafta"). RFTA retains ownership of the land previously used for rail traffic to Aspen,[75] a source of occasional consternation in balancing development needs.[76] Proposals to introduce light rail to the valley remain unrealized[77] but were not found economically feasible.[78] VelociRFTA service described below currently serves that role,[79] but RFTA remains committed to realizing the light-rail vision.[80]

Bus

RFTA provides bus transit in Glenwood Springs and throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. VelociRFTA(pronounced "Veloci-rafta", a pun on velociraptor) BRT service, the first rural BRT in the United States, began in September 2013, offering connections between south Glenwood Springs and Aspen roughly every 15 minutes with a 60-minute total travel time. Timetables vary by season, with different frequencies offered during spring, summer, autumn, and winter, to accommodate shifting seasonal demands.[81]

The city also operates an intracity bus service, Ride Glenwood.[82] Ride Glenwood offers a main route from the west side of town along the 6&24 corridor, through downtown, to the south part of Glenwood along Hwy 82.

Greyhound Lines stops in Glenwood Springs on trips between New York and Las Vegas twice per day.[81]

Bus service is provided twice daily by Bustang and runs from Glenwood Springs to both Grand Junction and Denver.[83][81]

Automobile

Glenwood Springs lies along I-70 at exit 116 (main exit), about 150 miles (240 km) west of Denver and 85 miles (137 km) east of Grand Junction. I-70 is one of the main east–west routes through the Rocky Mountains. Colorado State Highway 82 leads southeast from Glenwood Springs up the Roaring Fork Valley 12 miles (19 km) to Carbondale and 41 miles (66 km) to Aspen.

Airport

Glenwood Springs Airport is a municipal airport built in the early 1940s.

Notable people

See also

References

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