The history of Arapahoe County, Colorado is a captivating one, deeply intertwined with the state's journey to statehood. The county was named after the Arapaho Indians, a large tribe of Plains Indians who, along with the Cheyenne, occupied the area east of the foothills that now make up western Kansas. On August 25, 1855, the Kansas Territorial Legislature created a huge Arapahoe County to govern the entire western part of the Kansas Territory. When Kansas became a state in 1861, Colorado became a territory with Arapahoe County as one of its original 17 counties.
After the transfer of land to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded in the county courthouse, where current records are also located. You can get copies of these documents from the county court clerk's office. On November 8, 1904, Arapahoe County voters chose Littleton instead of Englewood by 1310 to 829 to be the permanent county seat. Governor James Bradley Orman designated Littleton as the temporary headquarters of South Arapahoe County.
In July 1858, gold was discovered along the South Platte River in Arapahoe County (in present-day Englewood). This discovery predated the Pike's Peak gold rush. The Colorado State Archives has records available for genealogical research in Arapahoe County in its online database. These include a PDF file of the Colorado state census of Arapahoe County 1885 from the Colorado Genealogical Society with all names indexed, Arapahoe County Civil Record Book 1867 - 1869, Arapahoe County Hospital 1891 - 1899, Arapahoe County Old Age Pension 1933 - 1936, Arapahoe County Poor Hospital 1895 - 1899, Arapahoe County Probate Cases 1902 - 1937, Arapahoe County Teacher Cards Dist 1 and 6 1953 and Arapahoe County Voter Records 1893 - 1905. In 1901, the Colorado General Assembly voted to divide Arapahoe County into three parts: a new consolidated city and county of Denver, a new Adams County, and the rest of Arapahoe County, which would be renamed South Arapahoe County.
The original Arapahoe County was 30 miles wide and extended from Sheridan Boulevard (the current western boundary of Denver, Adams and Arapahoe counties) to the Kansas border. The history of Arapahoe County, Colorado is an intriguing one that has been shaped by its people and events throughout its existence. From its creation in 1855 to its division in 1901 and beyond, this county has played an important role in shaping Colorado's history. With records available for genealogical research at the Colorado State Archives and documents available from the county court clerk's office, there is plenty to explore about this fascinating county.