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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.
The town was founded by William Greeneberry Russell and party of fellow settlers from Georgia on November 1, 1858, three weeks before William Larimer platted the future "Denver City" across Cherry Creek. 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.
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.
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 The Regency.
The other two major features of modern Auraria are Elitch Gardens and 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.