4800 West 92nd Avenue Westminster, CO 80031

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The Vanished Town of Semper

Location: West side of the Westin Hotel, north of 104th Avenue and east of Westminster Boulevard.
Artist: Winsor Fireform Fabrication - Tumwater, Wash.
Year Installed: 2010.
How Acquired: Funded by the City of Westminster.
Comments: The history panel is located at the base of one of sixteen custom-designed light towers.

Vanished Town of Semper History Panel

Panel text:

The Vanished Town of Semper

In the 1880s, settlers were shifting from large ranching tracts to smaller farms and town building.   Prairies bloomed with buckwheat, corn, alfalfa, wheat and other crops, Railroads provided easy transportation to markets in neighboring towns and even other states.

Founded by pioneers Charles and Julia Semper who homesteaded in 1881, the town of Semper was platted in 1886 on the land southwest of the corner of Pierce Street and 92nd Avenue.  The tiny farming town hosted a railroad depot, a post office, a general store and a school.  In 1902, phone lines were extended to Semper.  By 1904, the Denver & Interurban passenger rail line was established parallel to the freight rail, charging 30 cents to ride from Denver to Boulder.

After the Sempers entered the land to stake their claim, they built a house and outbuildings, sank a well, planted trees and established residency.  In the first year, they irrigated 60 acres, planted 16 acres of barley, and claimed 90 acres for pasture.

The Sempers chose their farm where plentiful land, water, and transportation were available.  The nearby freight rail was established around the time of their settlement, the Farmers’ High Line Canal was dug next to their home in the 1880s and the Overland Wagon Road, formerly the Cherokee Trail, was nearby.

Other enterprising immigrants to Semper included Mary and John Wick, who lived at the top of the hill at 90th Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard.  They raised four children and were known for their agricultural experimentation, especially with grains, bees, dairy cattle, fruit and fowl.  The unique 14-sided stacked-wood silo is all that remains of their farm.

The town of Semper never grew beyond a handful of farming families and faded away during the 20th century.  The area was eventually annexed by the growing City of Westminster.    The Charles and Julia Semper Farm can be found at 9215 Pierce Street on the north side of the Farmers’ High Line Canal Trail.  The farmhouse was restored in 2008. Farm outbuildings, the largest common apple tree in the state and a dense stand of trees provide a rural enclave reminiscent of the City’s agricultural heritage.

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