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City of Louisville, Colorado
The Louisville Public Library, built in 2006(American Institute of Architects Award, 2007)
The Louisville Public Library, built in 2006
(American Institute of Architects Award, 2007)
Location in Boulder County and the state of Colorado
Location in Boulder County and the state of Colorado
Country United States
State Colorado
County Boulder County
First settled 1877
Incorporated June 3, 1882
 • Type Home Rule Municipality
 • Total 8.0 sq mi (20.7 km2)
 • Land 7.9 sq mi (20.4 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
5,335 ft (1,626 m)
 • Total 18,376
 • Density 2,330/sq mi (899.8/km2)
Time zone UTC-7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 303, 720
FIPS code 08-46355
GNIS feature ID 0181261
Highways US 36, SH 42, Northwest Parkway NW Parkway

The City of Louisville is a Home Rule Municipality in Boulder County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 18,376 at the 2010 United States Census. Louisville began as a rough mining community in 1877, suffered through a period of extraordinary labor violence early in the 20th century, and then, when the mines closed in the 1950s, made a transition to a suburban residential community. According to CNN/Money and Money magazine's list of the 100 best places to live in the United States, Louisville was placed third in 2007, first in 2009 and 2011, and second in 2013.

Early history

The town of Louisville dates back to the start of the Welch Mine in 1877, the first coal mine in an area of Boulder and Weld counties known as the Northern Coalfield. The town was named for Louis Nawatny, a local landowner who platted his land and named it for himself. Incorporation came several years later, in 1882.

The Northern Coalfield proved to be highly productive, and eventually some 30 different mines operated within the current boundaries of Louisville, though not all at the same time. During the years of peak production (1907–09) twelve mines were in operation in Louisville, including the Acme Mine whose two million tons of coal came from directly beneath the center of town. The presence of many independent mining companies in Louisville saved the town from becoming a "company town", wholly owned and dominated by a single mining company.

Coal from the Northern Coalfield was sub-bituminous (low grade) and could not be transported long distances because of problems with self-combustion. Mining generally took place in winter months since that was the period that demanded fuel for heating. During the summers the miners played in local baseball leagues, with the home field named "Miners Field".

A great deal of mythology has arisen around the stories of tunnels that connected saloons throughout the city, but these have proven to be unfounded and undocumented. Instead, during labor conflicts many citizens found refuge in dirt basements to avoid errant bullets being fired from mine compounds into the city. From 1910–14 the Northern Colorado Coalfields were in the midst of a strike by the United Mine Workers and the Rocky Mountain Fuel Company based on working conditions, pay, and working hours. When miners walked out on the Hecla Mine northeast of Louisville the company hired the Baldwin–Felts Detective Agency to guard the mine compound. A machine gun and spotlight were placed in a tower on the Hecla property, and when miners took out their frustration by shooting their guns at the compound, the detectives responded by returning their fire by randomly firing at the town.

Eventually the coal remaining in the Northern Coalfield became increasingly uneconomical to mine, and the last coal mines operating in Louisville closed in the 1950s.

Recent events

In recent years, Louisville has been recognized in several publications as one of the best places to live and raise a family in the United States

As of 2012, the City of Louisville offers its residents a recreation/senior center, 26 city parks, 1,800 acres (730 ha) of open space buffer zones, 26 miles (42 km) of trails and bicycle paths, and an award-winning $9 million public library with study rooms, teen areas, and a fireside reading room. The Louisville Public Library has long had one of the highest circulation rates in the state of Colorado.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 450
1890 596 32.4%
1900 966 62.1%
1910 1,706 76.6%
1920 1,799 5.5%
1930 1,681 −6.6%
1940 2,023 20.3%
1950 1,978 −2.2%
1960 2,073 4.8%
1970 2,409 16.2%
1980 5,593 132.2%
1990 12,361 121.0%
2000 18,937 53.2%
2010 18,376 −3.0%
Est. 2015 20,396 11.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 18,937 people, 7,216 households, and 4,950 families residing in the city. As of the census of 2010 there were 18,376 people. The population density was 2,223.6 people per square mile (858.2/km²). There were 7,389 housing units at an average density of 867.6 per square mile (334.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.17% White, 0.93% African American, 0.54% Native American, 3.55% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 1.83% from other races, and 1.90% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.02% of the population.

There were 7,216 households out of which 41% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56% were married couples living together, 9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31% were non-families. 22% of all households were made up of individuals and 5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.6 and the average family size was 3.1.

In the city, the population was spread out with 29% under the age of 18, 6% from 18 to 24, 36% from 25 to 44, 23% from 45 to 64, and 6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $69,945, and the median income for a family was $92,121. Males had a median income of $57,159 versus $36,659 for females. The per capita income for the city was $31,828. 3% of the population and 2% of families were below the poverty line. 2% of those under the age of 18 and 6% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

High technology

Louisville is the home of several high-technology companies, including the Space Systems component of Sierra Nevada Corporation, a prime systems integrator for commercial spacecraft. SNC Space Systems' Dream Chaser was not chosen as one of three commercial spacecraft chosen by NASA to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. It may however help transport supplies.


Louisville is located in southeastern Boulder County at 39°58′34″N 105°8′39″W / 39.97611°N 105.14417°W / 39.97611; -105.14417 (39.976035, −105.144067). It is bordered by the city of Lafayette to the northeast, Broomfield to the southeast, and Superior to the south. The unincorporated community of Paragon Estates borders Louisville to the west. U.S. Highway 36, the Denver-Boulder Turnpike, forms the southwest border of the city. The Northwest Parkway, a partial beltway around Denver, passes just to the southeast of Louisville.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.0 square miles (20.7 km2), of which 7.9 square miles (20.4 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 1.35%, is water.

Community attractions and lifestyle

Louisville's historical downtown includes Steinbaugh Pavilion, which is used for a concert venue during the summer Louisville Street Faire and an ice rink in the winter months. 740 Front Street is the oldest operating tavern in the state of Colorado.

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