The city of Wheat Ridge, Colorado is located west of Denver and within the Denver South Metropolitan Area, a region that includes Denver and its suburbs in Arapahoe County, Adams County, Douglas County, Jefferson County, Broomfield County, and Elbert County. The South Metro area is part of the Front Range Urban Corridor; however Wheat Ridge is not within the incorporated urbanized portion of Denver but rather serves as a bedroom community for its northern neighbors such as Golden and Lakewood.
Wheat Ridge is a relatively young city with a history based on agriculture and its location along regional travel routes. It began as an area where travelers would stop off to rest during the Gold Rush in the late 1850s, becoming known as Carnation City in the mid 1900s. Residential areas of unincorporated Jefferson County populated with Denver‘s workforce during the 1950s, and major transportation corridors extending from Denver grew with commercial services. In this era, utility and fire protection districts in these counties provided urban services to communities nearby. Eventually as annexation pressure increased from nearby municipalities Wheat Ridge incorporated in 1969.
As of the census of 2010, there were 30,166 people living in Wheat Ridge, 13,976 households, and 7,489 families residing. The population density was 3,243.7 people per square mile. The racial makeup of the city is 85.6% White, 1.2% African American, 1.2% Native American, 1.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 6.9% from other races and 3.4% from two or more races; Hispanic or Latino of any race are 20.9% of the population.
The cost of living in Wheat Ridge is high, with an index of 108.5 compared to the U.S average at 100. Median home values in 2013 were $237,500 and median selected monthly owner costs were $1,556 for those who had a mortgage and only $406 for those without one. Gross rents are also high at around 820 dollars per month as well.
For most of its history Wheat Ridge’s identity was defined by agricultural production. Orchards and crop fields dominated the landscape, with small pockets of homes and businesses scattered among the agrarian scenery. The city’s agricultural past is still visible, but Wheat Ridge has grown substantially in the last 40 years and most of it is built up with a combination of residential, commercial, and office use. Local Farms in Wheat Ridge include Clear Creek Organics, Sweet Ridge Farm, True Roots, Circle Fresh Farms, Five Fridges Farm, and Roost Farms.
Wheat Ridge is home to the James H. Baugh house, which has been listed in both the Nation and State registers of historic places. The cabin was originally built by hand in 1860, but this building now stands as a frame farmhouse with an addition from 1904. It’s one of many structures that make up Wheat Ridge Historic Park-a place where you can enjoy activities such as hiking or birdwatching right alongside historical buildings. In 2012, it became designated on August 14th after being restored by our Wheat Ridge Historical Society–in cooperation with Colorado Historical Society and city leaders from Wheat Ridge.
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