Douglas County, Colorado, USA

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Douglas County is the seventh-most populous of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 285,465. The county seat is Castle Rock.

Douglas County is part of the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located midway between Colorado's two largest cities, Denver and Colorado Springs. Douglas County has the highest median household income of any Colorado county or statistical equivalent. It is ranked ninth nationally in that category, and has the highest of any county or equivalent not in the northeastern US.

Douglas County is lightly wooded, mostly with ponderosa pine, with broken terrain characterized by mesas, foothills and small streams. Cherry Creek and Plum Creek rise in Douglas County and flow north toward Denver and into the South Platte River. Both were subject to flash flooding in the past, Plum Creek being partially responsible for the Denver flood of 1965. Cherry Creek is now dammed.

Most residents commute to workplaces elsewhere in the metropolitan area outside of the county. Suburban development is displacing the ranching economy of the county.

Douglas County was one of the original 17 counties created in the Colorado Territory by the Colorado Territorial Legislature on November 1, 1861.  The county seat was originally Franktown, but was moved to California Ranch in 1863, and then to Castle Rock in 1874. Although the county's boundaries originally extended eastward to the Kansas state border, in 1874 most of the eastern portion of the county became part of Elbert County.

In Henry Gannett's book (1905), The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States it is claimed that the county was named in honour of U.S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, who died five months before the county was created.  However, there is also a claim that it is named after James Douglas, who established a camp along the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad to provide wood for the locomotives.

Research note:
Camp Douglas, in Wisconsin, was named after James Douglas. Is it likely the claim above is true?



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Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017