We Are Rox!
BY KATHY WEISS
Something new, created just for you… Read, connect, and embrace Rox Lifestyle
There’s a sense of awe and reverence that many who live here share. It’s a feeling captured in the simple joy of coming home.
Whether approaching the area from Santa Fe Drive or Wadsworth Boulevard, you can almost feel the day’s stress slip away as the beauty of those verdant green foothills come into view. Who among us doesn’t marvel at the sight of those monolithic red rock formations traversing Arrowhead Golf Course and Roxborough State Park, or the wild and rugged Dakota Ridge? Who can resist scanning the shoreline of the South Platte River when passing through Waterton Canyon, or glancing up to admire the majestic stands of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir in the surrounding Pike National Forest? Who hasn’t stopped their car to let a doe and her fawns cross the road? Or paused to take a quick photo when the lighting, cloud shadows, or double rainbows enhance that million-dollar view? For those who work in the city, the often-hurried drive to Denver each morning is countered by a sense of calm and anticipation one feels returning home later that afternoon. How fortunate we are in such a booming real estate market as the Denver metro area to have landed near the end of what are basically dead-end roads! We live in an area that’s ideally situated between the cycling/equestrian/camping/boating/stand-up paddleboard lovers’ paradise of Chatfield State Park and the hiker’s dream of Roxborough State Park, where a sign near the Visitor’s Center proclaims, This is a treasured and tranquil place. Indeed!
To grasp how truly special this place is, consider the area’s rich archaeological history. Glacial runoff at the end of the Ice Age left behind lakes, springs, and savannas dotted by those majestic red rock monuments to the past. As the land warmed and turned to desert, nomadic Paleo-Indians who lived here thousands of years ago were forced to adapt from hunting woolly mammoth and bison to pursuing smaller mammals. Prehistoric hunter-gatherers of the Archaic period (5850-3050 B.C.) hunted rabbit, deer and antelope, and gathered wild plants. Around A.D. 200-500, corn was cultivated. Inhabitants built shelters with stone walls and made pottery for storing food. Two quarries in Roxborough’s hogback were sources of jasper, opal, quartzite, and petrified wood used for tool making by these early residents.
The Denver Chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society conducted its first archaeological study of this area in 1977. Another study completed in 2000 further researched known sites and explored new ones. On County Road 18 in Roxborough State Park, 12 archaeological sites of nomadic Paleo-Indians and Native Americas were identified, as well as artifacts from early European American settlers. These surveys indicated that the lifestyle of these earlier people transitioned from primarily hunting bison to a culture that farmed, created its own goods, and traded as part of a complex society.
According to a Wikipedia excerpt on the Roxborough State Park Archaeological District, which is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places and designated as a National Natural Landmark: “Trade by the ancient culture is suggested by the presence of catlinite pipe pieces at both the Franktown Cave [located near Franktown, CO] and Roxborough sites. Catlinite is indigenous to Minnesota. The majority of artifacts, though, were from the late Archaic and Woodland periods. While at Roxborough, people lived in protected areas near water. Based upon their use of south- and western-facing shelters, it is conjectured that they wintered in the area. Ancient people who lived or traveled through the land were ancestors to Apache, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche and Ute tribes. Utes…passed through the area to their northern grounds. Their trails became [Douglas] County Road 14 and 18.” Studies show that Arapahoe, Cheyenne, and Ute Indians lived here until the 1860s.
During the mineral boom from 1872 to 1889, the Denver, South Park, and Pacific Railroad stopped at Waterton Canyon on its way to serving the towns and mines of central Colorado. Also at Waterton, the now ghost town of Kassler was established in 1901. A company town, it was named after Edwin Sebbins Kassler, a board member of the private firm that eventually became Denver Water. Kassler had one purpose: to operate one of the first water filtration plants, filtering the water of the South Platte River for the growing Denver population. Its population consisted of employees (and their families) who operated the plant and managed the dams and reservoirs of the canyon.
The area’s abundant limestone spawned another small community—now also vanished—in the early 1900s. Appropriately named Silica, people who lived there operated a thriving brick-making industry for a relatively short period. The historic kiln of the Silicated Brick Company remains the only evidence of the town, still located today behind the West Metro Fire Station at the entrance to Roxborough State Park. In 1910, the company employed 27 men to mine local mineral deposits and make the silica bricks, yet it struggled, changed hands, and by 1919 the property was sold and the area returned to ranching and mining. The kiln site was designated a Douglas County historical landmark in 2007 and was recently restored so that future generations can visit and learn from it.
Today thousands of people from around the world trek here annually to observe our more than 100 bird species, to hike the trails of Roxborough State Park, Waterton Canyon, and the Colorado Trail while others on horseback take to the trails at Chatfield, the adjacent Highline Canal, and Sharptail Ridge Open Space located on Roxborough Road. Exploring nature in this area frequently leads to sightings or encounters with deer, fox, snakes, black bears, coyote, and elk—quite different from the urban dweller’s experience.
Yes, we are Littleton, yet our community is far removed from Main Street. The area bordered to the north by C-470, to the east and west by South Santa Fe Drive and South Wadsworth Boulevard, respectively, encompasses Roxborough Park, Roxborough Village, Chatfield Farms, Ravenna, and the newly emerging Sterling Ranch community, all connected by dozens of rural acreages where horses and cattle roam, lending that peaceful, pastoral element that first drew many of us to the area.
Together, we create a caring community with a small-town vibe, where family comes first, and residents look out for one another. Look closely and you’ll see the many ways that “family” is woven into the fabric of this community, and how it brings us all closer. It’s true that we value our privacy, yet we value our connections with one another too. We reach out via neighborhood email lists and private Facebook groups to alert others when wildlife breaches a fence, when a pet goes missing, in cases of questionable solicitations or potential crime, and when looking to buy or sell something, or request a recommendation for a local contractor or handyman.
Such a special place deserves a better, more unified vehicle for connecting, a way to reach out, to learn about the area, its history, business community, recreation, and upcoming events… Which brings us to Rox Lifestyle, a new local magazine created, actually, just for us. According to Martin Alvarez, Rox Lifestyle publisher who also lives here, the purpose of this new digital publication is “to provide the Roxborough area with community-based content that helps you know and understand the area’s people, ongoing development, and the local businesses that make up this unparalleled community.”
The focus of Rox Lifestyle, Alvarez explains, is “to provide relevant content and stories of locals by way of spotlights, articles, and newsworthy information that is relevant to the general population.” Articles will focus on topics such as community development, family, healthy living, fashion, local trends, things to do, family adventures, places to eat, local events, real estate, travel, personal/business spotlights, arts, culture, preserving our environment, wildlife, and so much more. Our intent is to bring our circle together by means of positive and engaging content that will help build and shape the community in which we live.
So, now that you’re in the circle, what do you think? What inspires you in this community? What would you like to see featured in a future issue of this Roxborough-focused effort? Your feedback is welcome, along with your ideas. Check it out online at www.RoxLifestyle.com or post a comment on the Rox Lifestyle Facebook page. Become a subscriber and spread the word among your friends and neighbors. Tell them that there’s a new player in town who wants to meet up and unite us all to make our beautiful community even more connected.