A small town located on the Palmer Divide in Colorado. When driving up highway 86 from the west the feeling one gest is that of driving into the mountains rather than away from them. Climbing into the dense Ponderosa covered hills in Douglas County until the last rise is topped and the rolling hills spread out to the east. From that point on not all of hillsides are covered in trees. Though once the Black Forest covered the whole area with just isolated meadows breaking the dark covering of the land.
That was the reason Elizabeth was started way back in 1860. It was a mill town logging out trees for the fast growing boomtown that became Denver. The Smokey Hill Trail had been extended from Kansas through the area and it was one of the primary routes into the South Platte River Valley from the east. Later on after most of the pines the small town became primarily a cattle ranching community with some farming. Though not much of the latter, the soil tends to be quite sandy.
The nascent bit of community was called Webber Sawmill for many years until it was formally filed for a plat in 1882. Then it was named after Governor John Evans' sister-in-law, Elizabeth Ray Kimbark Hubbard. She is said to have arrived on the first train into town in 1880 and mentioned that she would like to have a town named after her. The residents thought it was a better name than the other suggestions and that it would curry favor with the governor. The town was formally incorporated in 1890.
Today it is a bedroom community home to about 1,000 people inside the town limits and about 9,000 more live spread out in developments and ranchets covering the western end of Elbert County. The main route in and out of town is highway 86 which runs west to Franktown and then I-25 and east to Kiowa and then I-70. Also important are the roads that follow the route of the Smokey Hill Trail and the later Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. (Decommisioned 1933) There were two important events in the town. The Elizabeth Folk Festival started by local crafts people in the 1970's and the Elizabeth Stampede (Rodeo) on the first weekend in June. Unfortunately the Folk Festival appears to have died in recent years, but who knows. It could revive.