New Arrivals To Wheat Ridge Discover A Historic Map


In remodeling their home, new arrivals to Wheat Ridge discovered a historic map folded up within the walls.

Lauren convinced her husband Will to try a move to Colorado for three years just to “scratch that itch.” 

Moving from Kansas to Jefferson Park, they recently moved again to what Will describes as their “forever home” in Wheat Ridge. The home was built in the 50’s and was in need of a remodel. Work began earlier this year, and as they knocked down walls, their contractor found a folded map in one of the walls. 

“We both knew we had something special here,” Lauren said.

Lauren and Will unfolded the map and realized they had something special on their hands. A 1971 stamped map of the city with detailed names of every neighborhood, including zoning and development plans and phases. It was also signed by Wheat Ridge’s first mayor Albert “Ed” Anderson. 

Since they enjoy the strip on 38th with all the stores combined with their love to support local businesses, they contacted Russell at Art Centric on 38th Ave. An art gallery that opened last year and provides framing services as well. Russell and Sam have been building an excellent reputation for not only the wonderful art in their gallery but the level of service they provide. 

It was Sam that first alerted me to this great find. I was so excited to hear about the map. It was in 1969 that Wheat Ridge became an actual city. With possibly being swallowed up by Lakewood or Denver, a group of residents came up with a plan for this area to become independent from any other city. Having drafted an initial map of what would be Wheat Ridge, they planned for a referendum that would for or against being independent. They walked the perimeter and knocked on every door to find out if the homeowners would be for or against the resolution. If you were against, they would use a Sharpie to exclude you on the map and if you were for this resolution, your house would be included inside the perimeter.

Now this map is not THAT map but pretty close. Drawn in 1971 and signed by the city’s first mayor A.E. Anderson. This 42” X 72” map includes the names and sub divisions throughout the city. Very rare for a developer to have possession of such a map. The home Lauren and Will bought was built in 1951 and was owned by Jack and Sandra Emery who in 1987 sold it to a local surgeon by the name of Hamilton Lockey. “Ham” was a popular gentleman and was known for bartering. The story goes that he traded a. Procedure for new hardwood floors in his home.  Ham in turn sold his home to his son Lockey JR in 2013 and then in 2022 it was purchased by Lauren and Will. 

The process to carefully open up the folded map was slow and methodical. Brushing the dirt off the 52 year old map and making light repairs on the thin areas where the folds had been was a delicate step in the process. Using a stretched canvas instead of a traditional sub-straight, Adding a sheet of 1/8th plexiglass instead of glass for safety purposes and a beautiful wood frame.  The map itself was not matted flat as you’d think but raised off slightly with the edges exposed. Almost like an artifact. This process is called “float mount” and Russell was very proud of it when we spoke. 

Both Sam and Russell each spoke about the personal touch and enjoyment they both experienced working on this project. Not that they are assembly workers but they understood the significance of the map. I felt the same sentiment from Lauren and Will when I spent a bit of time at their home. The map is a focal point when entering the home and they talk about plans for the room it’s in.  

Now before you go and start cutting up your walls looking for hidden treasures, consider what you can leave behind, to be found in 50 years. An issue of the Gazette, a menu from Clancy’s, maybe a bottle of whisky from Apple Jacks? History is all around us. If you look hard enough you’ll catch a glimpse of it.

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