History

Arapahoe County has a rich, vibrant history and the distinction of being Colorado's first county. Named for the Arapaho Indians, who along with the Cheyenne Indians occupied most of Colorado when it was only a territory, it spans 805 square miles and is a land of contrast. The western part of the county is mostly urban with residential, retail, office and industrial areas, while the eastern portion is relatively rural. 

Below, learn about the famous people, the memorable moments and the dedicated citizens that make up our unique history.

Our history dates back to 1855 when Governor Woodson of the Territory of Kansas signed an act that created Arapahoe County as part of the Territory of Kansas. In 1861, when Kansas became a state, Colorado was made a territory with Arapahoe County as one of the 17 original counties. In 1902, Arapahoe County was divided into five counties and Littleton became the new county seat. 

Arapahoe County began keeping photographs of the dedicated men and women who have served this great county around the turn of the century, and digital copies of these photos are available by contacting the Communication Services Department.