It was in the spring of 1959 that Perl-Mack Co. finalized plans for a large subdivision north of Denver in unincorporated Adams County. The plans for this new community included designs of commercial, industrial, recreational and school areas that was to be centered around a regional shopping complex.
On June 30, 1959, more than 15,000 people visited the first five show homes, located on the northeast corner of what is now the intersection of Interstate 25 and 104th Avenue. Those visitors were so impressed with the homes, which ranged in price from $13,500 to $20,350, the high volume of orders swamped Perl-Mack's staff.
By October 1962, this new development grew to have 10,000 residents and 3,000 homes. Only a few years old, the development received national recognition and was named "The most perfectly planned community in America" by Life magazine. The regional shopping center planned for this new community opened in 1968, it was called the Northglenn Mall.
Despite the effort of the city of Thornton to annex the North Glenn subdivision, opposition by active citizen groups and a ruling of the Colorado Supreme Court in 1969 allowed Northglenn to proceed with incorporation. Northglenn officially became a city on April 18, 1969. The first municipal election was held in April 1969 to elect the first Mayor, City Council, City Clerk and City Treasurer. Hugh Danahy was elected the first Mayor of the city.
The first body of elected officials had to begin the city's operations without any revenues or staff. With the assistance of local financial institutions, operating funds were borrowed and city offices were set up in the Melody Building on Melody Drive just north of 104th Avenue. One of the first tasks of the new Mayor and Council was to establish a Public Safety Department. A Law Enforcement Committee was formed in July of 1969 and by the end of the year Richard Colby was named Public Safety Director. In January 1970, the city swore in fifteen officers to patrol North Glen in two cars borrowed from the Adams County Sheriff's Department.
Several services provided to the citizens of Northglenn have remained under the control of Adams County. The Adams County Library, located on Huron Street just north of 104th Avenue, was opened on December 4, 1969. This community library was built for a cost of $216,000 with 14,100 square feet of floor space and contained 16,000 books and periodicals.
Other services to the new city included fire protection. West Adams County Fire Protection District built two of its four firehouses in the city limits. Station No. 3, at Irma and Muriel Drive was built in 1962, and Station No. 4, located next to the library, was built in 1967.
Early on, the Northglenn Recreation District provided recreational needs of the city. The district merged with the city in 1972. It was finally dissolved in 1984 upon final payment of bonded indebtedness.
The temporary city offices in the Melody Building were eventually replaced with a new municipal building built at 10969 Irma Drive and opened July 19, 1970. The property on which the new City Hall was built was donated to the city by Perl-Mack, which helped keep the cost of the new municipal building to $60,000. The City Council hired the first City Administrator, Thomas E. Pugh, shortly after moving into the new building.
By December 1971, the city offered it citizens police protection, animal control, trash collection, street maintenance, building inspection, municipal court, zoning control, and code enforcement. The city personnel at that time totaled 61 full time employees.
In August 1972, residents were asked to vote to make Northglenn a home rule city instead being regulated by state law as a statutory city - the vote for home rule status failed by a citywide vote with 550 in favor and 698 opposed.
In 1973, the City Council decided the city needed a logo and a flag. The colors of the logo were chosen with the blue representing the sky, the white representing the mountains, and the green to represent the grass. The trees were selected as pine trees, typical of many of the trees in Colorado.
The first flags were ordered from a fabric shop in Hillcrest Plaza. One flag was sent to Germany with the Northglenn High School Jazz Band in 1974 and the second city flag flew in front of City Hall until it was retired April 1986.
In 1975, the city became a Home Rule Charter City, the Community Center (now the Recreation Center) opened, and High School Park was completed. The Northglenn Post Office was built just south of 120th Avenue on Washington St. in 1976 and two new shopping centers were under construction.
Also in 1975, a three-acre park just north of Northglenn Mall was approved for construction with seven types of landscaping for a demonstration to residents. The seven types of landscaping included formal, modern, plains, oriental, mountain, old fashion, and Mediterranean.
On March 11, 1976 the park was dedicated as Centennial Park with a special celebration including the presentation of a Liberty Bell, the burial of a time capsule, the construction of an American flag in concrete, and the singing of the City song composed for the centennial by Eleanor Wyatt, Wayne Ethridge, and Police Capt. C. A. Gunderson.
The old City Hall on Irma Drive was sold to the Northglenn Elks in 1981 and was moved to its current location at 11701 Community Center Drive in October of that year.
In 1984, the Northglenn Police Department had its first, and only to date, casualty while on duty. E. B. Rains, Jr. was shot answering a call to a home, and later died from his wounds. Webster Lake Park was changed to E. B. Rains, Jr. Memorial Park in 1985.
Once the largest shopping mall on the north side of town, come the 1990s the Northglenn Mall was in decline. It started to loose many businesses and in turn, customers. In 1999 the Northglenn Mall was razed. With recycled debris from the original mall as its base, the Northglenn Marketplace was built. By teaming with the original Northglenn Mall developer, Jordan Perlmutter & Co., the city gave rise to a bustling open-air mall consisting of a variety of large and small retail stores, and restaurants.
Over the more than 30 years Northglenn has been a city, it has had its share of growing pains. But from that first residential development in 1959, Northglenn has grown to a home rule City with a population of 36,889 that encompasses 7.5 square miles of land. There is a well-planned trail system makes it possible to walk virtually in any direction within the city. Recreational facilities include 550 acres of parks and open space, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, ball fields, and a recreation center.
By the late '90s, the city's most used and most loved parks, the 39-acre, E. B. Rains, Jr. Memorial Park, was beginning to show its age. In the middle of the park, the 11-acre, 114-year-old manmade irrigation pond, named Webster Lake, had a deteriorating shoreline and a degrade fish habitat. It was obvious - a comprehensive rehabilitation of Northglenn's largest park was seriously needed. The new and improved E. B. Rains, Jr. Memorial Park was unveiled July 4, 2001, with an added three acres improved trails and irrigation systems, new picnic tables, flower beds, and 30 new trees.
In December of 2001, Northglenn received America's Crown Community Award by American City and County Magazine for the rehabilitation and re-design E.B. Rains, Jr. Memorial Park and Webster Lake. To date, Northglenn has been named Tree City USA 11 times.
Today, the residents of "the most perfectly planned community in America" continue to maintain that identity and embrace "the city that pride built."
Where to begin...
Northglenn is located nine miles north of Denver, Colorado, in western Adams County. It began as a planned community in the spring of 1959, when a housing and land development firm finalized plans for a large housing subdivision north of the Denver Metropolitan area. The vision of a well-balanced community included acres of open space for park and recreation development along with residential, industrial, educational and commercial plans. From the first residential development in 1959, Northglenn has grown to a home rule city with a population of 36,889 and encompasses 7.5 square miles of land.
Northglenn is a community recognized for a well-planned trail system that makes it possible to walk virtually in any direction within the city. Recreational facilities include 550 acres of parks and open space, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, ball fields, and a recreation center.
In December of 2001, Northglenn received America's Crown Community Award by American City and County Magazine for the rehabilitation and re-design of one of the City's major parks-Webster Lake and E. B. Rains, Jr. Memorial Park.
We invite you to come live, work and play in an open rural atmosphere. We welcome you to the city of Northglenn!
City of Northglenn Song
The City song was composed by Eleanor Wyatt, Wayne Ethridge, and then Police Capt. C. A. Gunderson in March 1976.
(To the tune of "Five Foot Two")
1) Several years ago
No way to grow
Now we've built a City for show
Then everybody loved our Glenn
2) With a City our size
We must Realize
That we have to learn to harmonize and everybody loves our Glenn
Now if you find a way
To achieve this day
Speak up right now
Don't despair if we don't seem to care
We'll try next time to be more fair.
3) With dreams so large
Ahead we charge
Never we forget our City at large
Forever we will love
Forever we will love
Forever we will love our Glenn.