Thornton, Colorado
Thornton welcome sign on Interstate 25.
Thornton welcome sign on Interstate 25.
Flag of Thornton, Colorado
Location of the City of Thornton in Adams and Weld counties, Colorado.
Location of the City of Thornton in Adams and Weld counties, Colorado.
Thornton is located in Colorado
Location of Thornton in the United States
Thornton is located in the United States
Thornton (the United States)
Coordinates: 39°54′11″N 104°57′16″W / 39.90306°N 104.95444°W / 39.90306; -104.95444
Country United States
State Colorado
Counties[2]Adams County
Weld County
IncorporatedJune 12, 1956[3]
Named forDaniel I.J. Thornton
 • TypeHome rule municipality[1]
 • MayorJanifer "Jan" Kulmann (Since 2019)
 • City ManagerKevin Woods (Since 2017)
 • Total37.947 sq mi (98.282 km2)
 • Land35.924 sq mi (93.043 km2)
 • Water2.023 sq mi (5.239 km2)
Elevation5,351 ft (1,631 m)
 • Total141,867
 • Rank6th in Colorado
191st in the United States
 • Density3,949/sq mi (1,525/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]
Denver 80221, 80229, 80233, 80241, 80260
Brighton 80602
Area code(s)Both 303 and 720
FIPS code08-77290
GNIS feature ID0181265
WebsiteCity of Thornton
Sixth most populous Colorado city

Thornton is a home rule municipality located in Adams and Weld counties, Colorado, United States.[1] The city population was 141,867, all in Adams County, at the 2020 United States Census, an increase of +19.44% since the 2010 United States Census.[4] Thornton is the sixth most populous city in Colorado and the 191st most populous city in the United States. Thornton is 10 miles (16 km) north of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver and is a part of the Denver–Aurora–Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Thornton consisted solely of farmland until 1953, when Sam Hoffman purchased a lot off Washington Street about seven miles (11 km) north of Denver. The town he laid out was the first fully planned community in Adams County, and the first to offer full municipal services from a single tax levy, including recreation services and free trash pickup. Thornton was named in honor of then-incumbent Colorado Governor Dan Thornton.[7]

The Thornton Community Association (TCA) was formed in 1954 to help guide the new community's development. By the end of 1955, Thornton had 5,500 residents in over 1,200 homes. The TCA was instrumental in Thornton's 1956 incorporation as a city. Oyer G. Leary was elected the first mayor.[8]


Thornton is located at 39°54′11″N 104°57′16″W / 39.90306°N 104.95444°W / 39.90306; -104.95444 (39.903043, -104.954406).[9]

At the 2020 United States Census, the town had a total area of 24,286 acres (98.282 km2) including 1,295 acres (5.239 km2) of water.[4]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the 2010 census, there were 118,772 people, 41,359 households, and 30,254 families living in the city. The population density was 3,409.1 inhabitants per square mile (1,316.3/km2). There were 43,230 housing units at an average density of 1,240.8 per square mile (479.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 77.4% White, 4.4% Asian, 1.8% African American, 1.1% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 11.4% from other races, and 3.8% from two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race were 31.7% of the population.[10]

There were 41,359 households, out of which 43.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.7% were married couples living together, 6.2% had a male householder with no wife present, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.9% were non-families. 20.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 4.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86, and the average family size was 3.32.[10]

The distribution of the population by age was 29.5% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 6.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32.0 years. The gender makeup of the city was 49.5% male and 50.5% female.[10]

The median income for a household in the city was $65,578, and the median income for a family was $74,233. Males had a median income of $49,154 versus $39,596 for females. The city's per capita income was $26,100. About 7.8% of families and 9.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.1% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.[10]


Thornton has 81 city parks and nearly 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) of parks and open space.[11] There are over 80 miles (130 km) of trails throughout the city. Recreational facilities include the Margaret Carpenter Recreation Center[12] and the Thornton Community Center.[13] Golf courses include the Thorncreek Golf Course[14] and Todd Creek Golf.[15]


Major highways in Thornton are I-25, I-76, SH 7, SH 44, SH 224, and E-470.

Thornton is served by the Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD), which provides bus service to Thornton and the rest of the Denver metropolitan area. The agency opened the N Line commuter rail to Thornton in 2020.

The major airport that serves Thornton is Denver International Airport.


Thornton is served primarily by four school districts: Adams County School District 12, Adams County School District 14 Mapleton Public Schools, and Brighton School District 27J. These include: Eight high schools (Thornton High School and Horizon High School {Both Adams 12}, Riverdale Ridge High School {Brighton 27J}, and five of Mapleton's small by design high schools), eleven middle schools (Five in Adams 12, one in Brighton 27J, five in Mapleton) and twenty elementary schools (Twelve in Adams 12, two in Brighton 27J, and six in Mapleton).

There are also several charter schools in or near Thornton, including Stargate School, Colorado Virtual Academy, New America School, and Westgate Community Charter School.

Lord of Life Lutheran School is a Christian Pre-K-8 school of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod in Thornton.[16]

Thornton has several libraries and is served by the Rangeview Library District, also known as Anythink Libraries.[17]


Thornton has several shopping areas, such as Larkridge Mall, Thornton Town Center, and Thorncreek Crossing Shopping Center. Larkridge is home to national anchor tenants, big box retailers and restaurants, and has a pedestrian village. DaveCo Liquor Store is the largest liquor store in the world.[18]

Notable people

Notable individuals who were born in or have lived in Thornton include:

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Local Government. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  2. ^ "Colorado Counties". State of Colorado, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Local Government. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  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 4, 2021.
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup" (JavaScript/HTML). United States Postal Service. Retrieved January 6, 2008.
  7. ^ "Thornton History", City of Thornton website
  8. ^ Wagner, Alvin (1977). "Thornton Was First Planned Community". Adams County: Crossroads of the West. Vol. II. Brighton, Colorado: Board of Adams County Commissioners. ISBN 0-930952-01-4.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  10. ^ a b c d "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  11. ^ Thornton city parks and recreation facilities Archived 2010-07-06 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Margaret Carpenter Recreation Center Archived 2010-02-23 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Thornton Community Center
  14. ^ Thorncreek Golf Course
  15. ^ Todd Creek Golf
  16. ^ "Lord of Life Lutheran School". Retrieved February 27, 2020.
  17. ^ Rangeview Library District
  18. ^ "Largest off licence (liquor store) | Guinness World Records".
  19. ^ Groke, Nick (January 28, 2014). "Tesho Akindele of Colorado Mines takes unusual route to MLS". The Denver Post. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  20. ^ "Josh Bredl". WWE Tough Enough. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  21. ^ "Edward Casso's Biography". Vote Smart. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  22. ^ "John Denney". Miami Dolphins. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  23. ^ "Beth Martinez Humenik's Biography". Vote Smart. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  24. ^ Samuelson, Ruth (November 2, 2009). "Meet Real World DC Cast Member Mike". Washington City Paper. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  25. ^ "Nikki Marshall". University of Colorado Athletics. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  26. ^ "Former Packers defensive back Mike C. McCoy dies at age 62". ESPN. February 22, 2016. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  27. ^ "Adrian Mora". BoxRec. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  28. ^ "Joseph Salazar's Biography". Vote Smart. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  29. ^ "Kyle Sleeth". Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  30. ^ "Member Profile: Neal Ulevich". Blurb. Retrieved April 27, 2016.