Brighton, Co. was established in 1887 and is located just 20 miles northeast of Colorado’s capital city of Denver, on the edge of the eastern Colorado plains. Brighton was the first incorporated town in Adams County and was selected as the county seat in 1904.
Brighton has a long history in agriculture and business and was established as the commerce center of the area when it became a stop along the Front Range rail line in 1884. The first official “industry” in the town was the Brighton Creamery – also established in 1884 – where local farmers went to sell their milk.. Brighton-area produce has been a key product in the state of Colorado, dating back to 1889, when The Brighton Canning Company began. However, that company failed after a few years, as did the Colorado Vinegar and Pickle Company, which followed soon after. But in 1907, Max Kuner, who owned a large canning company in Greeley, built a small facility in Brighton to package sauerkraut and pickles. This venture worked and the Kuner facility was later sold to Stokely-Van Camp, and continues to provide a market for local farmers today.
Railroad construction in the area attracted a large number of Japanese laborers, many who would eventually settle in the Brighton area. By the early 1900s several Japanese-American groups had formed, eventually leading to the current Brighton Japanese American Association. The group, representing citizens of varied backgrounds, is a strong and vital force in the town.
In the early part of the century, Colorado “wheelmen” (now known as “bicyclists”) considered Brighton the local center of their sport. In fact, the Brighton Wheel Club, sponsored a number of challenging road races, and remained active until the popularity of the car overwhelmed the club. It was this early commitment to cycling that was key to helping Adams County build an interlocking system of hiking and biking trails throughout the county.
Town Known For: Every year, Brighton hosts the Adams County Fair, in which during past years, an infamous tomato-throwing contest painted contestants and parts of the town red.
For outdoor pursuits, enthusiasts head to Brighton's own day-use facility - Barr Lake State Park. Here visitors can partake in wildlife viewing, jogging, horseback-riding, biking, fishing and boating (on the north side of the lake only small boats are allowed). Home to the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, with over 300 different species, Barr Lake is also a birder's paradise. Find some of the best views from the lakeside gazebo, where even red fox and deer can be spotted.
Region: Metro Denver Area Regional Information
Proximity to other towns: Located 11.1 miles from Thornton, 7.7 miles from Fort Lupton, 11.2 miles from Commerce City, 11.7 miles from Dacono
Elevation: 4,983 feet
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