The History of Rock Creek Farm
Plains Indians, including Cheyenne and Arapaho, lived in this area prior to the discovery of gold in Boulder County. The women of these tribes were recognized for their quilling or beading. Mothers used extravagantly ornamented cradleboards to transport their babies. She carried her child in its cradle on her back with a buckskin band across her chest and upper arms. On longer trips, the baby in its cradle might have been put into a willow basket attached to a crude vehicle, called a travois, drawn by a dog or horse.
In the late-1850s, miners who came to Boulder County and did not strike it rich, turned to other trades such as farming. Agricultural opportunities in eastern Boulder County gave way to settlements such as Longmont, Valmont, Lafayette, and Pella. Mary Miller was affectionately known as the “Mother of Lafayette.” In 1863, she and her husband came west, bringing the first threshing machine to the Colorado Territory. They ran a large road house and stage station for the Overland Mail Stage Route from 1864 to the 1870s on what is now county open space. Stage traffic at the Rock Creek Station dropped to almost nothing but local trips because of competition from the Denver Pacific and Kansas Pacific railroads. The Millers then ran a successful cattle ranch in the area and meat market in Boulder. Mary Miller founded the town of Lafayette in 1888 and named it for her husband who died of heat stroke in 1878.
Boulder County purchased a portion of the Rock Creek Valley for agricultural preservation in 1980. Since that time, open space has provided a large buffer between the growing communities in southeastern Boulder County. It was the first acquisition which the then open space director, Carolyn Holmberg, promoted in 1979. After her death in the fall of 1998, Rock Creek Farm was rededicated to include her name in 2000.