Location: West side of the Westin Hotel, north of 104th Avenue and east of Westminster Boulevard.
Artist: Communication Arts, Boulder, Colorado.
Year Installed: 2000.
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.
Prior to the 1850s, the area that was to become Westminster, Colorado was inhabited by small herds of buffalo and antelope and was dotted with small marshy ponds. The discovery of gold in Little Dry Creek in 1858 encouraged pioneers to settle in Colorado rather than continue on to the promise of riches in California. The Homestead Act of 1862 also brought many people from the east to settle in the Colorado Territory.
When the mid-westerner Pleasant DeSpain brought his wife and six sons to Colorado in 1863, the vast territory between Denver City and the Rocky Mountains was rich and untamed. Having farmed in the lush Mississippi Valley of Illinois, DeSpain homestead 160 acres in what is now the City of Westminster and became the area’s first resident.
In 1871, the year after DeSpains homestead, another Midwesterner, Edward Bruce Bowles, homesteaded south of the DeSpain farm. A native of Springfield, Missouri, he had come west in 1863, driving a herd of cattle across the plains. The large red brick home which he built still stands at the 3294 West 72nd Avenue. The Bowles House is now a home to the Westminster Historical Society.