Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Valmont School, Boulder

The Valmont School was built in 1911 and served the town of Valmont, a small farm community that was located north of Boulder, CO. The town site now falls within the boundaries of Boulder.

Valmont (a contraction of "valley" and "mountain") was established in the years immediately following the Pikes Peak Gold Rush of 1859, and was built to serve the needs of the tide of settlers and prospectors who flocked to the area in search of wealth and adventure. The community was laid out near the confluence of the North and South Boulder Creeks. Valmont Butte, a high ridge of volcanic basalt, formed an easily visible landmark in what was then a largely treeless valley and the town grew relatively quickly, populated not by miners or prospectors, but the people who followed them west, merchants, saloon owners, barbers, farmers, and blacksmiths who provided material support and supplied the miners with the supplies they needed to explore the Rocky Mountains. For a number of years the Valmont community was larger and more developed than the nearby town of Boulder, with Valmont playing host to the areas first flour mill and newspaper. It was a short lived triumph though, and following the creation of the Colorado Territory in 1861 Boulder won the bid to be named the county seat. The town of Valmont was formally platted in 1865 and was continued to rival Boulder in size and commercial activity.

There are a number of original buildings that are still standing and, impressively, still in use. The original stagecoach stop that was built in 1860 by Tommy Jones still stands, as does a small cemetery and a number of small outbuildings and sheds. The Valmont Presbyterian Church is also still in use. Built between 1866 and 1881, is is the oldest continually meeting Presbyterian church in Colorado. Perhaps most visible of all though is the Valmont School, which stands immediately off of 61st Street, north of Boulder. It is still largely intact and looks the part of the iconic one-room American schoolhouse. Though it's behind a fence you can still see the school quite well and the surrounding neighborhood is really beautiful, full of small farms and rustic charm.

Getting There By Bike...
The Valmont area is an easy bike ride away from downtown Boulder. Luckily Boulder is particularly well served by a network of bike paths and bike lanes, so getting around the city is quite easy. If you follow the Boulder Creek Bicycle Path east and north across Arapahoe Road, you'll eventually find yourself paralleling Pearl Parkway. At the end of the trail merge onto 55th St. north, make a right onto Valmont Road, and then a left on 61st St. Valmont Road is quite busy and has some fast traffic, but it also has a very large shoulder. Be careful anyway, it never hurts.

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