Colorado Places by County
These pages provide a directory to Colorado place names and show the county in which that place exists or existed We have attempted to include every settlement, trading post, military post, mining camp, ghost town, stage station, railroad stop, post office, rural community, town and city from the earliest known into the present. We did not include geographic features. We did not attempt to include a history of each place. If you know of any Colorado places we missed please let us know.
The information is derived from several sources. This compilation was originally created by Don Stanwyck for the Colorado Genealogy Web Project (COGenWeb) part of the USGenWeb Project. Please send additions and corrections to Colleen Pustola, Web Mistress.
Copyright 1998 & 2009 COGenWeb. All rights reserved.
These pages last updated: 19 July 2009
The tables are divided into two sections: place name, and county. In both cases, more than one entry may be present in the table row. The place names are sorted alphabetically using the space as a character. This may cause some confusion to the reader who doesn't check obvious variations. For example, El Moro and Elmoro Junction are both listed but are separated by forty-four other place names. Elk Horn was officially Elkhorn according to the postal archives; Deer Creek was Deercreek; La Veta, Laveta, Laveta Pass and Veta Pass each have their own widely separated table entries.
To save space in the tables, several commonly used words were abbreviated as follows:
The county column has information about the place name. If the city was incorporated in Colorado, then the date of incorporation and the county of incorporation is listed (this information was extracted from the Colorado State Archives, see Sources.) Many towns were incorporated or existed as part of a county which was later split or had its boundaries moved, which left the towns in a different county than they started in (see History of County Divisions.) To the degree to which we have been able to gather the information (including the several people who have sent us information) we have tried to trace the history of the place with respect to the county in which it was founded and now exists or existed. Many places existed for quite some time before incorporation and some that achieved fairly large populations never did incorporate.
An example rural post office listing:
|Bryant||PO 1888-1916, Logan Co.
Later Phillips Co.
In 1904 PO was moved into Yuma Co.
This table entry indicates that when the Bryant post office was established in 1888 it was in Logan County, but that it later became part of Phillips County (in 1889) when the original Logan County was divided between three counties - Logan, Sedgwick and Phillips. Then in 1904, when Mattie Turner became postmaster, the Bryant post office was moved from Phillips County to the Turner farmstead in Yuma County. While it was moved a short distance in 1910 and again in 1913, it remained within Yuma County until it closed in 1916.
You will note that we did not provide a location within the county for the places listed. For those details you are invited to review our sources.
Some towns have used variant spellings during their history. If the spelling is extremely close, e.g., dropped or added a space [West Cliffe, Westcliffe], or dropped or added one letter that doesn't affect the sound of the name [Ridgway, Ridgeway], then the names are shown both ways in the same entry. Names which have changed significantly are shown as two individual entries with a pointer to the other [Fletcher; see Aurora], except where the earlier names were short lived or never significant, in which case those other names are shown as prev or briefly [Byers; prev Bijou]. Place name progression is shown by keywords: orig, prev, later, then, now. In other cases, two (or more) names for a place were in common use. These are shown: aka (also known as).
Many Colorado place names were derived from the original French, Spanish and Indian names. The tables attempt to provide the "correct" or "common" place name and "official" variants. Other spelling variations of these names, adopted by later settlers, are also common and are not always noted. Probably the most common Colorado name variant is Canon, locally pronounced as Canyon, which was derived from the Spanish Cañon (meaning Canyon). When you look up a name in the tables, Canon, Cañon and Canyon should be considered interchangeable. Another common variant in southern Colorado is Pinon (common) from the Spanish Piñon (proper) which is locally pronounced and sometimes spelled Pinyon. A bit of historical trivia - American travelers on the Santa Fe Trail dubbed the Purgatoire River the "Picketwire" River. That name variation has been carried forward to present day maps that show the Purgatoire River flowing through the Picketwire Valley in Las Animas County.
Many dates are uncertain. The various sources used differ on the dates of settlement, dates of incorporation, etc. Establishment is easy to determine when a new town is platted, but more difficult when a community simply grew up around an original settler or, as in many of the mining communities, simply was a collection of miners who adopted a name for the general area they were mining in. The dates listed are as best we can determine from these sources.
If you don't find what you are looking for here, please check the USGS Geographic Name Server or the MIT Geographic Name Server. If you find a useful answer, please drop us a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let us know what you found so we can add it to this list.