Westminster is a Colorado city located in Adams and Jefferson Counties, about 13 miles northwest of Denver, the state capital, and 18 miles southeast of the city of Boulder. Westminster is bisected by U.S. Route 36 (also known as the Denver/Boulder Turnpike) and is adjacent to Interstates I-25, I-70 and I-76. Denver International Airport (DIA) is situated only 30 minutes away from the city, which is also adjacent to one of the state’s largest corporate airports, Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport.
Early settlement in the Westminster area coincided with the discovery of gold on Little Dry Creek in 1858 and was strengthened by the subsequent enactment of the Homestead Act of 1862, which attracted many settlers from the east. Westminster’s first permanent settler was Pleasant DeSpain, who built his home in 1870 on 160 acres of farmland, and the area soon became known as DeSpain Junction. Other settlers soon followed, one of the more prominent being Edward Bruce Bowles, a horse breeder whose large red brick home stands today as a local museum. Another early settler was C.J. Harris, a real estate developer from Connecticut who inspired the community’s name change to Harris. In 1911, Harris became incorporated as a city and underwent yet another name change, this time to Westminster, in honor of a local school (Westminster University) modeled after Princeton University.