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The City of Arvada is a Home Rule Municipality located in Jefferson and Adams counties, a part of the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area of the U.S. State of Colorado. The United States Census Bureau estimated the city population at 111,707 residents as of July 1, 2013, ranking Arvada as the seventh most populous municipality in Colorado.
The Olde Town Arvada historic district is located 7 miles (11km) northwest of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. The first documented discovery of gold in the Rocky Mountain region occurred on June 22, 1850, when Lewis Ralston, a Georgia prospector headed for the California gold fields, dipped his sluice pan into a small stream near its mouth at Clear Creek. Ralston found about 1/4 ounce (6 g) of gold, then worth about five dollars. Ralston's companions named the stream Ralston's Creek in his honor, but they all left the next morning, drawn by the lure of California gold. During the Pike's Peak Gold Rush in 1858, Ralston brought another group of prospectors back to the site of his first discovery. The placer gold in the area soon played out, but hard rock deposits of gold were found in the mountains to the west. Some of the miners abandoned their search for gold and returned to farm the rich bottom land along Ralston Creek and Clear Creek. They found an eager market for their crops among other gold seekers. The Territory of Colorado was formed on February 28, 1861, and the farms in the valley expanded to feed the growing population of the region.