About Douglas County CO
Douglas County is committed to protecting its scenic, agricultural, wildlife, and historic values. Virtually in the geographic center of Colorado, Douglas County is approximately 844 square miles (540,000 acres) of striking natural beauty in its mountains, foothills, and plains. Elevations range from 5,400 feet in the northeast, to 9,836 feet at Thunder Butte in the Pike National Forest.
According to Census 2000, Douglas County's 191% population increase between 1990 and 2000 made Douglas County the nations fastest growing county for the decade (based on percentage change). Approximately 73% of the population lives in unincorporated areas.
Douglas County is strategically located between Colorado's two largest cities: Denver and Colorado Springs. Approximately 80% of its workforce commutes to jobs and offices in these urban centers. In order to provide local employment opportunities, and to diversify its tax base, the County actively plans for, and pursues, well-managed, quality commercial development.
The County's strength, as the centerpiece of the Denver/Colorado Springs Development Corridor, comes from a perfect blend of quality lifestyle and business environment. To preserve the area's natural environment, 70% of the corridor will retain agricultural, ranching, parks, and open space uses. Recreational facilities include over 146,000 acres of Pike National Forest, two state parks (Roxborough and Castlewood Canyon), a state recreation area (Chatfield), and numerous county, municipal, and local parks, trails, and open spaces. The pioneer spirit and eternal beauty of the mountains, foothills, and plains remain in Douglas County.
The schools that our children attend are within the Douglas County School District RE 1. For additional information about Douglas County Schools visit our " Links" section. It is accessiable via the websites navigational tool bar.
History of Douglas County
Eons ago, the area that is now Douglas County was temperate and moist, containing such unlikely vegetation as palms, magnolias, and fig trees. Fossil palm trees found near Parker lend credibility to the concept of the Tertiary Period of geological history. Dinosaur fossils have been found near Perry Park and other large animal fossils exist near Louviers.
French and Spanish explorers entered Douglas County in the early 1700s. They were followed by trappers and traders in the 1800s. However, these were mere visitors compared with the thousands of '59ers who responded to the tales of gold in the small settlement of Russellville. This initial gold discovery triggered the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, the greatest migration in our country's history. Those initially drawn by the lure of gold were enchanted by the relatively mild climate, the many days of sunshine, and the wooded hills and mountains of what was to become Douglas County. The woodlands provided the basis for a thriving lumber industry, while the railroads created the demand and the transportation. Coal was discovered at three outcroppings, and the mines that opened at Archer, Wakeman, and Lehigh continued to operate for nearly 40 years.
In 1861, the Colorado Territorial Session Laws created Douglas County, named after Stephen A. Douglas. Known as the "Little Giant," Douglas battled his own Democratic Party, as well as the Republican Abraham Lincoln, over issues of slavery, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and popular sovereignty. Douglas County originally stretched from the Rockies to the State of Kansas border.
Douglas County, Colorado is strategically located between Colorado's two largest cities, Denver and Colorado Springs. This strikingly beautiful area has approximately 844 square miles of mountains, foothills and plains. Douglas County has a population of 215,226 residents and contains four incorporated municipalities: Castle Rock, Larkspur, Lone Tree, and Parker. Approximately 73% of the population lives in unincorporated areas. The county is an ideal mix of rural and suburban areas, village centers and large plots of open space including ranches, greenbelts, public parks and national forest lands.
The Southeast I-25 corridor of Douglas, Arapahoe and Denver Counties is becoming the dominant economic center of Colorado and a clear leader in creating new partnerships and coalitions to respond to issues of growth, transportation, community enterprise housing, workforce development, and quality of life. Douglas County is at the forefront of this bustling economic environment with leading employers such as Lucent Technologies, AT&T Broadband, First Data Corp., Merrill Lynch, Information Handling Services, EchoStar Communications, Evolving Systems, and DIRECTV. The estimated median household income for 1999 was $82,929, making this the highest per capita income for any county in the United States.
Castle Rock, the county seat has a population of 28,800 residents and is located 30 miles south of downtown Denver. Castle Rock has a diverse mixture of housing and neighborhoods. Housing styles range from the historic homes of the turn of the century post World War II, 60s and 70s style single-family homes, to tract housing and custom styles of today. Prices for condos and townhomes range from the low $100,000's to the $400,000's. Prices for single-family homes range from $150,000 for entry level and tract housing to over $1 million for custom homes. Homes on acreage start in the mid $300,000's.
The towns of Parker and Franktown are located on the eastern side of Douglas County. They offer a variety of subdivisions and life-styles. There are sophisticated planned communities with parks and recreational amenities, charming rural acreage properties to thrill any equestrian, unique golf course and country club neighborhoods, and working farms and ranches of varying sizes.
Although Highlands Ranch has never been incorporated as a town, this award winning, master planned community gives residents the opportunity to live, work, and play within their own neighborhood. Highlands Ranch is situated in northern Douglas County just 12 miles south of Denver. This master planned community consists of 22,000 acres with more than 13,000 acres set aside for parks, open space, and community facilities. A 22-mile walking and biking trail links the individual neighborhoods.
Residents within Douglas County enjoy shopping at one of the nations largest outlet malls, the Prime Factory Outlet at Castle Rock, which features hundreds of stores and most of the best retailers in the country. Or they delight in experiencing the quaint downtown charm of specialty shops and exceptional restaurants throughout the region. Probably the most favorite is the Park Meadows Mall, located at the southern edge of the Tech Center. Park Meadows is one the nations premier malls and attracts visitors from around the world.
Major outdoor attractions include Pike National Forest offering fun and exciting camping, fishing, backpacking and even some hunting. Chatfield State Park which is located on the South Platte River in northwester Douglas County. In addition to reservoir boating, fishing and swimming, other features of the park include horseback riding, a model airplane field and a wildlife pavilion. There is also a newly created 20-acre wetland area. Roxborough State Park is located southwest of Chatfield State Park. The park features such diverse plant and animal life that it has been declared a National Natural Landmark and Archaeological District. The park is dominated by outcroppings of red rock and has a 12-mile trail system.
Douglas County School District is one of the fastest growing districts in the entire nation. With a growth rate that has remained between 6 and 7 percent every year for the last decade, today DCSC has a total of 41,000 students and more than 5,000 staff members. The district has many innovative programs and educational approaches giving resident students a quality foundation. Parents can find many different choices throughout the district such as open enrollment, charter schools and other special programs. The district's elementary schools emphasize a mastery of the basics while incorporating time for art, music and physical education. Formal computer instruction begins in the elementary grades and continues from there.
Douglas County has so much to offer! With excellent schools, beautiful landscape, a thriving economy and scenic neighborhoods, Douglas County is an outstanding place to live, work and raise a family.