The city of Arvada ( /ɑrvædə/) is a Home Rule Municipality located in Jefferson and Adams counties in the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area of the U.S. state of Colorado. Olde Town Arvada is located 7 miles (11 km) northwest of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. The 2010 United States Census recorded 106,433 residents, making Arvada the eighth most populous city in the State of Colorado.
The first documented discovery of gold in the Rocky Mountain region occurred on June 22, 1850, when Lewis Ralston, a Georgia prospector headed for the California gold fields, dipped his sluice pan into a small stream near its mouth at Clear Creek. Ralston found about 1/4 ounce (6 g) of gold then worth about five dollars. Ralston's companions named the stream Ralston's Creek in his honor, but they all left the next morning, drawn by the lure of the California gold fields.
During the Pike's Peak Gold Rush in 1858, Ralston brought another group of prospectors back to the site of his first discovery. The placer gold in the area soon played out, but hard rock deposits of gold were found in the mountains to the west. Some of the miners abandoned their search for gold and returned to farm the rich bottom land along Ralston Creek and Clear Creek. They found an eager market for their crops among other gold seekers. The Territory of Colorado was formed on February 28, 1861, and the farms in the valley expanded to feed the growing population of the region.