The Colorado city of Lakewood is nestled against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains about 7 miles west of the state capital of Denver. Located in Jefferson County, Lakewood is surrounded by several major thoroughfares, including Interstates I-25 and I-70, Colorado State Highways 26 and 470, and U.S. Routes 6 and 285. The main campuses of Colorado Christian University and Red Rock Community College are located in Lakewood.
Lakewood was first settled in the late 19th century and established itself early on as a summer resort district for wealthy Denver residents. In 1893, an electric tramway network (known as "the Loop") was established, connecting Lakewood with Golden and Denver. The community continued to grow and in 1914 Colorado Christian University was founded in the city. In 1941 the Federal Government awarded what was then the largest contract in Colorado to the Remington Arms Company ammunition factory, which took root in Lakewood. The city became incorporated in 1969 after its population had exceeded 90,000, making the city one of the largest in the nation at the time of its original incorporation.
Lakewood history comes to life at the Lakewood Heritage Center. Located in beautiful Belmar Park, the museum boasts close to a dozen historic structures, thousands of preserved artifacts, a festival area and an outdoor amphitheater. The Center offers tours, programs, and "A Day in the Country School" where a costumed teacher will re-create a classroom experience for students based on the 1920's curriculum used in the Denver Area. The Heritage Center also serves as the host site of the annual Cider Days Harvest Festival, which has been a Lakewood institution for more than 30 years. The Lakewood Cultural Center is a 38,000 square foot facility which offers performances and exhibits by nationally & internationally recognized artists as well as community presentations and exhibits featuring work by local artists. The Washington Heights Arts Center is an early 20th century renovated schoolhouse which hosts a variety of cultural art and dance classes for all ages.
Recreation in Lakewood is abundant and multi-faceted. In winter, the Rockies offer skiing in a variety of challenging forms. In summer, the mountains provide a breathtaking venue for fishing, backpacking, camping, and hiking. The William Frederick Hayden Green Mountain Park covers approximately 2400 acres of open space and offers a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities in an urban setting. Bear Creek Lake Park is home to a large array of wildlife and includes three lakes and 15 miles of dirt trails for biking and hiking. Other places of interest near Lakewood include the Colorado Railroad Museum, Lakeside Amusement Park, Buffalo Bill's Gravesite/Museum, Boettcher Mansion, and Golden Gate Canyon State Park.
Ten minutes from Lakewood is the city of Denver, home to a number of major league professional sports teams. Denver baseball fans can root for MLB's Colorado Rockies, while football fans can cheer on the NFL's Denver Broncos (winners of the 2016 50th Superbowl). NBA basketball action features the Denver Nuggets and fans of NHL hockey can follow the Colorado Avalanche. Fans of soccer and lacrosse have teams in the city also. Denver is home to the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer (MLS) and also to the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League (NLL).