A Brief History of Woodland Park
On January 28, 1891, Woodland Park was officially incorporated with a population of 121 residents. The early settlers needed a government loan to fund a water line installation from Loy Gulch into the town reservoir, now Memorial Park. The founding fathers’ first ordinance was to establish a morals and decency act banning the sale of alcohol, and prohibiting gambling, obscene language and inappropriate attire. Homesteaders, miners, loggers, health seekers and speculators were attracted to Woodland Park due to four (4) factors: the Gold Rush of the 1857 – 1919; the Midland Railway 1883 – 1949; lumbering and timber mills 1873 – 1936; and resorts and tourism 1887 – 1955. With influx of tourists and other travelers, the town began to develop with hotels, restaurants, livery stables, mercantile general stores and homes. This growth created the need for churches, schools, and recreational activities, such as, rodeo events, dances and baseball games. By 1900 the population had more than doubled to 269 persons.
Throughout the first half of the 20th century, lumbering continued to be area’s largest, year-round, economic driver. During the summer months, dude ranches were a great draw for tourist who enjoyed experiencing the Wild West and natural beauty of Pikes Peak country. The Paradise Ranch was one of those ranches that put Woodland Park on the map along with the Woodland Park Rodeo Association.
Today, Woodland Park’s population is 8,074 persons with approximately 3,200 total dwelling units. Over 250 existing structures, both residential and commercial buildings are more than 50 years old. Many of these structure are log cabins or rustic slab sided cabins which represent early settlement days of Woodland Park.