A Voice of Colorado No. 207 Version 5.0:

Washburn Station, established in 1864 by settler John Washburn, served as the beginnings of a new settlement in northern Colorado. In 1867, because of the settlement, John Douty built a flour mill near the stage station, and the new town was known as “Old Saint Louis” or ‘Big Thompson’. In 1874 a plat was filed for the community, with the name “Winona” – for John Washburn’s daughter, Winona.

The stage station did not last long because in 1869 The Transcontinental Railroad was undertaken and the need for long distance travel by stagecoach and wagon was eliminated.

“Old Saint Louis” remains within the boundaries of present-day Loveland, CO., by way of a street name.


A Voice of Colorado No. 205 Version 5.0:

In 1864 a stage station and bridge were established by John Washburn on his homestead, located roughly two miles downstream of Namaqua Station on The Big Thompson River – near the intersection of the river and present-day United States Highway 287. The name of the station was expected – Washburn Station.

A Voice of Colorado No. 175 Version 5.0:

The history of water in Loveland, CO. reflects the history of water in the State of Colorado, and the history of the land.

Before white man arrived to the area Arapaho hunting parties traveled through The Big Thompson Valley, camping along the river which some called “The Big Pipe” near sulphur springs that bubbled from the ground on the southeast side of Mariana Butte.

When explorers made their way westward they used the low-lying river as a path to pierce the wilderness. From 1837 until approximately 1842 the explorer Philip Thompson explored, trapped, and traveled the river. Because of his journeys the river would be named for him – The Big Thompson River. Additionally, he may have been the first white man in the valley.

In 1843 John C. Fremont’s expedition followed the river, which he described at the time as “a fine river”, with depth and width. (It is estimated at the time he visited the river was some sixty feet wide and three feet deep.)

In 1861, three years after the mountain man and settler Mariano Medina settled on banks of The Big Thompson River, and established Namaqua, the Colorado Territory was established. Larimer County, one of the original counties, was created shortly thereafter, with a population of only 100. The same year a drought caused crop failure, and settlers determined to stay began to divert water from The Big Thompson River to water their gardens and crops. During the 1860s and the 1870s, using this technique agriculture in the area grew as an industry. So, too, did the need for water. With an annual rainfall of less than fifteen inches a means of retaining water became an issue of great importance and contention.

In 1876, when the State of Colorado was established, Water Rights Laws concerning surface water became part of the state constitution. It was declared that the water of every natural stream is public property, and it was established that an appropriation system would be used to determine how individuals acquire rights to use water.

Under this system persons may appropriate water even though they intend to use the water far from the source – a stream. The law in the Colorado State Constitution states that whoever first claims the water for beneficial use has established the right to use it. The date of appropriation then becomes the basis for determining which rights are senior and which rights are junior. This principle of “first in time, first in right” is known as ‘The Doctrine of Prior Appropriation’. It differs from The Riparian Doctrine in the humid eastern portion of the United States of America, where owners of land along a stream are entitled to full use of the water, as long as it is undiminished in quality or quantity. Two main classes of appropriation are identified in the Colorado State Constitution: 1) Diversion of water from the stream for immediate use (direct flow rights). 2) Diversion from the stream for storage for late ruse. A direct flow appropriator cannot store his water for later use, and the storage appropriator usually may fill his reservoir only once a year. In each of the two main classes, uses are also prioritized in order of importance: Domestic, agricultural, and then manufacturing and mining.

Because of this law Colorado has become a leader in the legal concept of water rights, now generally adopted and used in all western United States.

A Voice of Colorado No. 147 Version 5.0:

In 1860 the well-known mountain man, Mariano Medina, and his family, along with a small group of Spanish settlers returned to the Big Thompson Valley area. He acquired land near The Big Thompson River, and established the community of Namaqua, named for the town post office. Eventually Namaqua would give away to Loveland, CO. A small cemetery and a park marked the approximate location of Namaqua.

A Voice of Colorado No. 125 Version 5.0:

Loveland, CO. owed much in its early days to David Barnes, who established a flour mill in the area, with his wife, Sarah. They previously lived in Golden, CO., and acquired 320 acres north of the Big Thompson River, and between Namaqua and St. Louis. Barnes moved to the Loveland area in part because his friend, William A.H. Loveland, told him that a newly-constructed rail line would pass through the area, bringing prosperity.

Barnes raised wheat on his farm, but found time to survey and plat a new town on an 80-acre site near the surveyed line for the railroad that passed through his wheat field. In 1877 he donated a portion of his farm to the railroad for a right-of-way, and by December 1877 the railroad had established a depot.

In the spring of 1878 development of the town of Loveland began. With development came changes, including the arrival of merchants from nearby St. Louis who decided Loveland was more to their liking. Some made this known by moving their businesses and buildings to the new town site. On May 11, 1881 the residents of Loveland voted to incorporate. Many wanted the new town to be named for Mr. Barnes, who had been so instrumental in establishing – Barnesville, but he declined the honor, and requested it be named for his good friend, W.A.H. Loveland.

In 1886 Mr. Barnes, whom many called “Uncle Dave” passed away. His original home remains, and is a private residence.