During the past 50 years, the region currently known as Greenwood Village has changed dramatically. Arapaho Indians camped next to Little Dry Creek during the middle 1800’s, and there were orchards on Orchard Road in 1920. However, Greenwood Village remains the same in some important ways. Neighbors come together to celebrate the important events in the community, parents still want the best for their children, people of good will still step forward to lead and plan so that quality of life can be maintained, and horses can still be seen grazing in pastures.
In 1858, the discovery of gold close to what is currently known as the community of Englewood brought profound changes to the region. Large numbers of Pioneers and prospectors started arriving, which meant the Native Indians would have to live in smaller areas. For a while the two groups coexisted. However, eventually, the Arapaho and the Cheyenne were moved to a reservation just east of Colorado Springs.
Pioneers were relocating across the valley into log cabins close to the Platte River. A group of pioneers established the Littleton School District in 1864. In this arid land, pioneers were trying to grow crops and raise cattle by the 1870’s. The Mayor of Denver was petitioned by Arapahoe County ranchers to have an irrigation ditch dug from the Platte River in order to irrigate the high lands to the east in 1874. The Northern Colorado Irrigation Company announced plans to build a high line canal, starting with a tunnel from Platte Canyon and winding some 83 miles east across Denver and Arapahoe County in 1879. In 1883, the canal was completed. However, the amount of water wasn’t sufficiently reliable to raise crops. There simply wasn’t sufficient water for the 400 farmers who subscribed to the canal.
One Colorado pioneer named Rufus Clark had a major impact on this land. In 1859, when Mt. Clark arrived in Colorado, he purchased 160 acres next to the Platte River. Mr. Clark made good profits raising potatoes. Eventually he came to be known as the Potato King of Colorado.
Mr. Clark solicited some English investors to finance the development on the 15,000-acre Clark Colony in Arapahoe County in the middle 1800’s. Mr. Clark subdivided the property into five and 10-acre tracts and built a series of canals and reservoirs. Up until 1890, when the Castlewood Dam was constructed close to Franktown, water was still scarce. However, a reliable supply of water was provided when Mr. Clark connected his water system to Castlewood Lake.
The region was thriving orchards of pear, apricot, apple, plum, and cherry trees by the early 1900’s. However, disaster struck in 1933. Three bridges were washed out when the Castlewood Dam burst. The dam wasn’t rebuilt as the result of the Great Depression, which dried up the source of irrigation. Dairy farmers were still able to make a living. A man named Frank Pearce owned some land southwest of Dayton Street and Orchard Road and he managed to expand his grazing lands east as far as Havana Street and north into Orchard Hills. In 1944, Robert Pierce, who was the grandson of Frank Pierce, inherited the property. The part between Boston and Dayton Streets is currently known as Silo Park. In 1947, the original barn burned down, although the concrete silo was saved. In 1949, the current barn, which is currently picnic shelter, was constructed.
Between the 1930’s and the1940’s, the region was comprised of a combination of people who actually lived in Denver, but came to their county homes in the summertime, suburbanites, and farmers. The year 1950 brought the incorporation of Greenwood Village.
Between 1950 and 1952, a man named Charles Enos served the new mayor of the village. Between 1952 and 1965, a man named John Calkins followed Enos as mayor. The years 1967, 1970, and 1987 brought some of the major commercial regions that currently still exist.
In 1967, Greenwood Village annexed the area from Dayton Street to Holly Street. Greenwood Village operated on very tight budgets in the 1960’s, due to the fact that its rural and residential areas didn’t generate any income beyond modest property taxes.
Between 1969 and 1977 a man named Harold Patton served as mayor of the village. During this time period, Denver Public Schools were under a desegregation order and students were being bused from the neighborhood schools. The early 1970’s were good years. Development was booming and the city formed its own Recreation Department, Trails, and Parks. However, the resident was shocked to learn that the Supreme Court of Colorado declared that the previous annexations from 1967 through 1970 of the community were in error and nullified in 1975. A man named Sam Jenkins was elected mayor in 1977. The congested traffic became the most important issue in Greenwood Village by the early 1980’s. Once that problem was solved, in 1993, there was a resolution rename Horseman’s Park to the Rollin D. Barnard Equestrian Park.
Throughout the history of Greenwood village, the residents have been concerned about preserving their peace and quiet. The trustees of Greenwood Village have about the traffic dust and noise since the 1950’s. However, during the 1990’s, the commercial airline flights into Centennial Airport posed a new threat to the quality of the peaceful life treasured by the residents of the village.
Throughout the 1990’s, the primary concern was the amount close to and within Greenwood Village. However, the mayor named David Phifer signed numerous documents that involved the Joint Southeastern Public Improvement Association, Arapahoe County, was signed out by a man named David Phifer, for the annexation of some south metropolitan businesses. This agreement wanted some $500 million in transportation improvements for the Four Corners area.
By this time, the elected named Mayor Phifer had devoted a significant amount of energy to involving the young people who lived in the village. Mayor Phifer began a youth commission group that involved volunteers of high and middle school age.