HISTORY OF BOULDER, COLORADO
The Arrival of Settlers, and Chief Niwot's Curse
Georgia miner William Green Russell's discovery of gold in July of 1858 at the mouth of Dry Creek in present-day Englewood (a suburb south of Denver) started the "Pike's Peak or Bust" gold rush of 1858-59, which historians estimate brought 50,000 people to Colorado in search of gold. A gold-prospecting party led by Captain Thomas Aikins, originally bound for Denver, continued west on their journey from Fort St. Vrain in the belief that the mountains outside Boulder contained gold. The prospectors stopped to camp by the red rock formation along Boulder Creek where Pearl Street, Fourth Street and Canyon Boulevard now merge just west of downtown (Red Rocks, now Settler's Park), near the entrance to Boulder Canyon. Chief Niwot, his deputies Bear Head and Many Whips, and other Arapahos rode out as a band to greet the new arrivals and promptly told them to go away. According to legend, Chief Niwot at that moment uttered a famous curse: "People seeing the beauty of this valley will want to stay, and their staying will be the undoing of the beauty."