Unique for Colorado in 1955 was the establishment of a championship golf course surrounded and interspersed among its fairways by some 200 home sites. The 17 founding members selected as a beautiful, natural setting the 295-acre Heckendorf Farm located along the South Platte River Valley west of the city of Littleton. The area offered an open view of the mountains, a plateau and a winding river valley, all of which reflects a feeling of quiet spaciousness. The State flower was used to name the project “Columbine Country Club.”
A spirit of pioneering, neighborliness and fun characterized the early community, which grew at a moderate pace. As in later years, the elected leaders met often to solve new problems as they arose. The changeover from a farm to a suburban atmosphere was not immediate. Deer were frequent visitors to the golf course, and occasionally livestock from neighboring farms got loose and wandered over the golf fairways.
The success of the community attracted the interest of neighboring communities, particularly Littleton and Denver. There were rumblings of annexation to increase the tax base of these cities. The Bow Mar development was likewise threatened, and incorporation there was initiated as a protective measure. Columbine homeowners began holding meetings on the subject and the eventual vote to incorporate the entire area was overwhelming.
On August 15, 1959, the Secretary of State of Colorado signed the incorporation papers of the Town of Columbine Valley. Harding Lawrence of 28 Wedge Way was elected the Town’s first Mayor. A Town budget had to be prepared in accordance with State law; taxes were levied; ordinances pertaining to police powers, building codes, traffic, dogs and the like had to be compiled, published and enforced in a newly created Municipal Court. The price of protection from annexation was great, but was also to prove rewarding in many aspects.
Probably the most catastrophic event to affect Columbine Valley was the great flood of the South Platte River on June 16, 1965. Approximately 25 Columbine homes were either destroyed or severely damaged by this “100 Year” flood. The financial loss was estimated to be $2 million in Columbine Valley, with no flood insurance. The tournament of the Professional Golf Association (PGA), scheduled for the following year, was postponed until 1967.
Renovation of the golf course and the adjacent homes was rapid, new trees were planted and a successful PGA tournament was held in a serene and beautiful setting in 1967. The flood was to scar the community temporarily, but the healing was to be sound and the process a binding together of residents in a common goal.
Initially there was no thought of Town expansion. However, the desirability of controlling the type and quality of construction immediately adjacent to the Town’s boarders became evident as the community of Columbine Valley grew in number of homes and in stature as an outstanding area in which to live.
The outward appearance of the Town is one of quiet, peaceful existence. It is said that the person who works in downtown Denver, no matter what the daily frustrations may be, experiences a feeling of relief and restfulness as he enters the gates of Columbine at the end of the day. This is the way the community was planned, the way it has developed, and the way it should be.
Excerpts from A HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF COLUMBINE VALLEY by William A. Newton.
Newton, B. History of Columbine Valley. May, 1978