The Town of Berthoud is a Statutory Town in Larimer and Weld counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. The town population was 5105 at the 2010 United States Census. Berthoud is situated north of the Little Thompson River, approximately halfway between the cities of Fort Collins, Colorado and Denver, Colorado along the Front Range Urban Corridor.
Berthoud is a small town surrounded largely by farmland, nicknamed the "Garden Spot of Colorado." In many parts of town, trees overarch the city streets. There is an annual community parade on "Berthoud Day", which occurs on the first Saturday in June and ends in Berthoud Park, where families gather and enjoy music in a picnic-like atmosphere. Another community event held annually in June is "Berthoud Outdoor Quilt Show", in which quilters display their works in Fickel Park. Fickel Park also is growing a sculpture park with many new sculptures placed each year. The sculptures have brought a new look to the park and the town. Through the summer, the town also plays host to its farmers' market which occurs every Thursday and is sponsored by the town's main street organization. The town has several parks, including Berthoud Park (which has an outdoor swimming pool, playground and tennis court), Fickel Park (which also has a tennis court), and Roberts Lake Park.
White settlers first came to the present-day Berthoud area in the early 1860s, following the Colorado Gold Rush. Many settlers filed homestead claims, but most bellied up and left the valley to hardier souls who ranched and farmed the arid prairie that straddled the river bottom.
In 1872, a miner-turned-rancher from Central City, Colorado, Lewis Cross, staked the first homestead claim where the Colorado Central Railroad planned to cross Little Thompson creek. When the tracks were laid through the valley in 1877 a depot, section house, and water tank were installed at this strategic site. The tiny settlement known as Little Thompson was renamed Berthoud in honor of Edward L. Berthoud, who had surveyed the rail route through the valley.
Over the next few years the settlement grew to include a handful of homes, a blacksmith shop, a mercantile store, a small grain elevator, and a log cabin that served as school and church for the community.
In the early 1880s, the Colorado Central Railroad recognized that Berthoud's location on the river bottom caused their steam-powered locomotives to labor excessively to ascend the grade out of the valley. At their urging, during the winter of 1883-84, the buildings of the town were loaded on skids and pulled by teams of draft animals to the town's present-day location on the bluff one mile (1.6 km) north of the river.
Agriculture in the Berthoud area flourished. Farmers diverted water from the Little and Big Thompson Rivers into a network of reservoirs and ditches that allowed the arid uplands to be irrigated. Harvests of alfalfa, sugar beets, wheat, corn, and barley were sold on the open market or used to fatten pens of sheep and cattle. The town grew as merchants and shopkeepers set up businesses to serve farmers and ranchers from the nearby countryside.
Schools and Education
Students from the area attend the four public schools which are part of the Thompson School District: two elementary schools (Berthoud Elementary and Ivy Stockwell), a centrally located middle school (Turner Middle School), and a high school (Berthoud High School).
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