During the Pikes Peak gold rush of 1859, engineer Richard Sullivan Little made his way to the area as part of a group of engineers that laid out the system of ditches to carry water to farms and businesses. Surveying in an area south of Denver, Little fell in love with the site of present day Littleton. He staked a claim, brought his wife out and began to farm.
The Littles joined with several neighbors to build the Rough and Ready Flour Mill in 1867, providing a solid economic base in the community for years to come. In 1872, the Littles filed a plat to subdivide much of their property into the village of Littleton. Upon the extension of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad into the are in 1871, the town grew. In 1890, the 245 residents voted to incorporate the Town of Littleton.
Agriculture was the staple industry of Littleton until after World War II. Beginning with electronics and pneumatics, moving to munitions and finally to aerospace, manufacturing became the important employer and a magnet for the boom in housing development during the 1950s to 1970s. Littleton added Arapahoe Community College in 1965 and Chatfield Reservoir in 1972. When Littleton celebrated its centennial in 1990, its population had grown to 33,661.
At Ketring Lake, the Littleton Historical Museum is a living history museum that attracts 100,000 visitors each year. The 668 acre South Platte Park is one of the largest suburban parks in the United States. The city has an agreement with South Suburban Parks and Recreation to maintain most of the parks in the city. South Suburban's district includes the cities of Littleton, Sheridan, Centennial, and Lone Tree, as well as parts of unincorporated Arapahoe, Jefferson and Douglas counties.
The town's internationally recognized economic development program focuses on helping new and established businesses succeed. The Business/Industry affairs department offers services including demographics, business research, start-up information, custom mapping, marketing assistance and focus groups. The majority of services are free to any City of Littleton business. Called the "Economic Gardening Program", this endeavor assists entrepreneurs and large businesses alike. The Department works with the City Council, making recommendations to maintain and improve the business climate of Littleton.
Littleton real estate is a diverse blend of architectural styles, including many unique custom designs. Littleton homes vary significantly in price, with everything from attractive single family homes, to exquisitely designed masterpieces.
Median household income: $56,527
Earned college degrees: 47%
Achieved advanced degrees: 13%
The average household size is 2.29