The little town of Niwot is nestled in the Left Hand Valley of eastern Boulder County halfway between Boulder and Longmont. It was named after the Northern Arapahoe Chief, Niwot, whose people hunted and fished in this valley before gold was discovered in the foothills in 1858. “Niwot” translates into the name “Left Hand” and for years was spelled Ni-Wot by local residents.
A Farming Community
After the discovery of gold, homesteads were established in the Niwot area along Left Hand Creek. People were raising livestock and field crops there when the Colorado Central Railroad laid tracks through the valley in 1873. Seeing the opportunity to ship local agricultural products to distant markets, in 1875 a man named Porter Hinman drew up plans for a new community near the local section house. He named the new town “Niwot.” By 1900, a prosperous business district had taken shape on the east side of the tracks.
Turn-of- the-Century Charm
Although the train doesn’t stop there anymore, it was the railroad that secured Niwot’s place in history. The depot was removed years ago, but many of the original buildings in the business district remain today. Niwot’s original turn-of-the-century charm can be found in the small post office, antique shops and quaint restaurants that are popular destinations for residents and tourists. In 1993, the Board of County Commissioners designated Old Town Niwot the first locally commissioned historic district in Boulder County.
Niwot Homes and Neighborhoods
In the late 1980s, several subdivisions of large, upscale, custom homes appeared on the hillsides in Niwot. In the beginning, these homes were especially popular with executives who were employed the new IBM plant located just a few miles away. Today, new homes are still being built in these subdivisions which remain popular choices for many people who desire executive homes on spacious lots. Other Niwot subdivisions offer a lovely selection of homes in various sizes and price ranges.
No longer just a destination for tourists, Niwot’s small town charm attracts people who find it a perfect place to call “home.”
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