Happy birthday, Littleton

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City celebrates 125th anniversary of founding with fireworks, trail opening

By Ramsey Scott

A two-day-long party? Yes, marking 125 years might just be worthy of such an extended fete.

Littleton celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding over the weekend with a two-day celebration that included a fireworks show and the opening of a new trail along the city’s historic ditch.

And to mark the quasquicentennial of Littleton becoming an official town, Gov. John Hickenlooper last week proclaimed March 8 as City of Littleton Day. Not bad for a little town that started with only 245 residents 125 years ago.

The celebrations started Saturday evening with fireworks in Ketring Park, followed by a sold-out birthday reception at the Littleton Museum hosted by the city and Breckenridge Brewery.

“It was an amazing event,” said city spokeswoman Kelli Narde. “We sold out of tickets by Thursday (before the event). We could have sold 1,000 tickets. It was just a great, great night.”

The Saturday reception at the museum featured historical re-enactors depicting life in Littleton throughout its history. The Breckenridge Brewery, one of the city’s newest residents, provided suds and a selection of food that will be featured at its new Littleton restaurant and brewery.

“It was a really lovely occasion,” said City Council member Randy Stein. “I think this has been an opportunity to celebrate both the history and the future of Littleton.”

Sunday saw a five-year-long project to create the Littleton Community Trail, along the city’s historic ditch, come to fruition. The trail, built in partnership with South Suburban Parks and Recreation, holds historic significance — creation of the ditch in the 1860s drew city founder Richard Sullivan Little to the area.

“The timing worked out great with the celebration of Littleton’s 125th anniversary and the city ditch’s 155th anniversary,” said John Ostermiller, a board member for South Suburban Parks and Recreation.

Little had moved to the area to build the ditch system, and in 1872 he and his wife, Angeline, subdivided a large portion of their property into the village of Littleton. In 1890, the 245 residents voted to officially incorporate into the town of Littleton.

After the trail opened Sunday morning, it was time for flapjacks. Hundreds of people attended a free pancake breakfast and carnival at Buck Recreation Center to cap the two-day birthday bash.

“I’ve been here for the past 59 years,” said Rosie Lucerne, a lifelong Littleton resident. “The best part about Littleton is it still feels like a small town, even though it’s 25 times bigger than it was when I was growing up.”

Mary Van Deroef, who has lived in Littleton for three years, waited for pancakes with her children Sunday morning.

“We wanted to come check out the carnival,” Van Deroef said. “Littleton just has such a great family environment. It still has that small-town feel, even being this close to the big city.”

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1035, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine. Check www .columbinecourier.com for updates.