In the midst of the gold rush of the early 1860s, many people traveled to the Little Thompson Valley in search of their fortunes. Filing homestead claims, they found the land arid and tough, and left it to others hardier than themselves.
When in 1872 plans were made for the Colorado Central Railroad Company to cross Little Thompson Creek, Lewis Cross, a Central City miner-turned-rancher, staked a homestead claim to the area. By the time the tracks were laid in 1877, there was a depot, section house and water tank, and the area was renamed Berthoud, in honor of the engineer who surveyed the rail route.
Gradually, families settled the area, building homes, businesses and public services. In the early 1880s, the railroad realized that Berthoud’s location required the locomotives to strain to ascend the grade out of the valley, and at their request, the town was moved to its present location one mile north of the river.
Once at its new location, the proprietor laid out the city in plots, which were quickly sold. Agriculture thrived in Berthoud, as water was diverted from the Little and Big Thompson rivers for irrigation. To provide services to the farming community, merchants and shop owners moved in, and the community and economy flourished.
With the advent of the automobile, Berthoud altered its image to one of a quaint community with safe residential areas, tucked in among natural splendors and a rural boundary. A haven from increasing modernization, Berthoud simultaneously followed economic trends and yet retained its small-town appeal. Today Berthoud bridges the gap between the past and future, as a progressive community with deep historic roots.