1860: Colorado came close to be named “Lafayette”

When the question of territorial organization came up in the United States Senate the name “Jefferson” was promptly turned down. The list of proposed names included “Tampa,” “Idaho,” which was the name first accepted, “Nemara,” “San Juan,” “Lula,” “Arapahoe,” “Weappollao,” “Tahosa,” “Lafayette,” “Columbus,” “Franklin” and “Colona.” When the bill was about to pass, the name “Colorado” was ordered substituted for that of “Idaho.” On February 28, 1861, President Buchanan signed the bill creating the Territory of Colorado.

The name “Colorado” is the past participle of the Spanish verb “Colorar,” “to color,” with a secondary meaning of “ruddy” or “blushing;” and was originally applied by the Spaniards to the Colorado river, whose water is red in hue when swollen by the heavy rains from the disintegration of the reddish soils through which it flows.

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The 1927 Columbine Mine Massacre: Trouble in Serene

A 1921 panorama of the Columbine Mine call camp at Serene, located five miles northeast of Lafayette, Colo. Photo courtesy the Lafayette Public Library.

THEY’VE torn down Serene. During 1972 and 1973 the remaining buildings were systematically torn down for salvage. Serene joined the hundreds of other Colorado ghost towns that are only memories.

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Reprints: 1964 – Lafayette’s new school brings back old memories

The second Baseline School built in 1904 at Baseline and Iowa. Photo from the Lafayette Public Library.

The opening of the new grade school (Lafayette Elementary on Bermont Avenue) today, February 24, brings back memories of the opening of the new school or should I say old grade school on an October day in 1904.

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Reprints: 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: 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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