Reprints: 1898 – Biographical sketch of Thomas Miller, Lafayette’s first mayor

THOMAS J. MILLER, who was the first mayor of the now thriving little city of Lafayette, Boulder County, is a native of this county, and from his earliest recollections has been earnestly interested in its upbuilding and development. He occupied the office of mayor for two successive terms, giving general satisfaction to the citizens, and later he served in the capacity of justice of the peace for four years.

He is identified with Lignite Lodge No. 64, Knights of Pythias, and is past chancellor of the lodge. In his political proclivities he is a Democrat, strongly in favor of free silver.

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Reprints: 1898 – Biographical sketch of Lafayette Miller

LAFAYETTE MILLER, in whose honor the village of Lafayette, Boulder County, was named, and who, from 1863 until his death, was a resident of this section, was born in Toulon, Stark County, Ill., March 18, 1840, the son of John and Mary A. (Able) Miller. He was one of eleven children, six of whom are still living. His father, who was a native of Rockaway County, N. J., born October 8, 1800, acquired in youth an accurate knowledge of both law and medicine, and engaged in professional practice in Cincinnati, Ohio, for some years. In 1836 he removed to Stark County, Ill., and from there, in 1852, went to Iowa, settling near Independence, Buchanan County. His death occurred in Johnson County, that state, May 13, 1884.

On the organization of Stark County, Ill., John Miller donated fifty acres of his farm as a site for a town, and upon that land the village of Toulon was built. For eight successive years he held office as judge of the county or the probate court. He also served as magistrate for the organization of the county until his removal to Iowa. The latter part of his life was devoted to farming and stock-raising.

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Lafayette’s first schools

A handful of students at the Willow Glen school; photo was taken in about 1885. Photo courtesy Lafayette Miner’s Museum.

There were enough school-aged children on the farms in the Coal Creek area by 1875 for parents to want a school close at hand for their children. 1875 was before any of the small towns were settled, before even the coal deposits had been established as a resource to be developed. The first step was for five “legal voters” to call for a special meeting to establish Coal Creek School District 29. The organizers were Lafayette Miller, David Kerr, William Willis, W. W. Eggleston and A. S. Eggleston, and the meeting was at the Kerr farm on Coal Creek. Officers elected were Albert Eggleston of Davidson as Secretary, A.C. Goodhue of Erie as Treasurer, and David Kerr, President. Minutes of the meeting record that a tax was levied to build a school for the district, to be located at an area called Willow Glen which was near U.S. Highway 287 and Colo. Highway 42.

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Reprints: $1,150,000 Contract Let for Installing Plant in Lafayette

That the Northern Colorado Power Company is a certainty, there can be no question of, as they have paid $750,000 in acquiring of plants, franchises and other property. The central station, from the present attitude of the Company, is to be located east of Lafayette in the vicinity of the Blue Ribbon Mine. The only thing that will prevent the location is the failure to find coal on the Elder property, which however, there can be no doubt about, if the opinion of the coal experts is correct.

Should the Elder property and the Blue Ribbon properties not be used for this undertaking, in all probability the location will be on what is known as the Hultz farm. The plant or central station alone was originally figured to cost $486,150, but owing to the fact that the power will be used in addition to its original calculations for power purposes in operating railroads, both passenger and freight, will probably increase the cost another $150,000.

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Slag pile at Waneka Lake a shadow of its former self

The Interurban Power Plant at Waneka Lake shown operating in about 1920. The 3-story pile of slack coal and other debris from the Electric coal mine, also containing coal ash from the power plant, can be seen at left, on the south side of the plant.

The large, lava-like boulders on the southwest corner of Lafayette’s Waneka Lake, about 100 yards south of the boat house and picnic structures, are remnants of the sizable slack coal dump from the Electric/Summit coal mine that operated from 1898 to 1918. The former Northern Colorado and Interurban Power Plant that operated from 1906 to 1924 also dumped coal ash at the site.

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