Auraria, Denver

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Settlement (historic) Neighborhood (current)
The Ninth Street Historic Park in Denver, Colorado
The Ninth Street Historic Park in Denver, Colorado
Etymology: Auraria, Georgia
CountryUnited States of America
Founded byWilliam Greeneberry Russell
 • Total705
ZIP Codes

Auraria was a small mining settlement in the Kansas Territory in the United States. Today it survives in its original location as a neighborhood of Denver, Colorado, south of the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River.


Auraria is located in central Denver. It is just west of downtown Denver and is shaped roughly like a triangle. It borders Colfax Avenue on the south, Cherry Creek to the northeast, and South Platte River to the northwest.


The town was founded by William Greeneberry Russell and party of fellow settlers from Georgia on October 3, 1858, over a month before William Larimer platted the future "Denver City" across Cherry Creek.[2] The town was named for the gold mining settlement of Auraria, Georgia. In April 1859 Auraria was the site of a convention to create the provisional state of "Jefferson" to govern the surrounding territory, but the government was never recognized by the U.S. government. Auraria ceased to exist as a separate town on April 6, 1860 when it was incorporated into Denver, and was referred to as West Denver.

Auraria suffered from a devastating flood in 1864. In response, many businesses left the neighborhood for Denver proper. Some speculate that Auraria never truly recovered from this event.[3]

In the 1960s and 1970s, Auraria became the focal point for urban renewal in Denver. It was decided that the neighborhood would be converted to a campus to house the University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan State University, and the Community College of Denver. Demolition of old Auraria began on March 10, 1973.[4] Few buildings from old Auraria are still standing today.

The name "Auraria" survives in Denver as the neighborhood along the west bank of Cherry Creek to the east bank of the South Platte River, bordered on the south by Colfax Avenue. Auraria is easily confused with, but is entirely distinct from the City of Aurora, Denver's neighbor some six miles to the east.

Arts and culture[edit]



Auraria contains the Pepsi Center arena, home of the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Mammoth, and the Colorado Crush, as well as the venue of concerts and other events.


The neighborhood of Auraria is dominated by the Auraria Campus, which is home to three institutions of higher learning: University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver), Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver), and Community College of Denver (CCD). Vestiges of the old neighborhood remain, however, in the Ninth Street Historic Park on the campus. The three institutions occupy the bulk of the Auraria Neighborhood, so there is very little permanent residence. The schools mainly serve commuter students, though housing has recently been developed at Campus Village Apartments (UCD), Auraria Student Lofts, and Regency Student Housing.


There are two student newspapers that are published in Auraria. The University of Colorado Denver's newspaper is called the "CU Denver Sentry" and Metropolitan State University's newspaper is "My Met Media".[5][6]


Auraria is serviced by the Regional Transportation District. It has two light rail stations within its boundaries: the Colfax at Auraria station and the Auraria West station.


  1. ^ "Census Neighborhood Demographics (2010)". City of Denver.
  2. ^ Summers, Jodi (2003). Auraria: From Neighborhood to Campus (PDF). Denver: University of Colorado at Denver. p. 32.
  3. ^ Goodstein, Phil (2015). How the West Side Won: The History of West Denver. Denver: New Social Publications. p. 11. ISBN 978-0986074813.
  4. ^ Goodstein (2015). How the West Side Won. p. 92.
  5. ^ "My Met Media".
  6. ^ "CU Denver Sentry".

Coordinates: 39°44′35″N 105°00′20″W / 39.74306°N 105.00556°W / 39.74306; -105.00556