In 1877 coal was discovered and the city formed around the industry. Louis Nawatny platted his farmland into city blocks and named the community after himself in 1878. Immigrant people of all nationalities traveled here and began to create a community. Italians, French, German and Slavic people formed their own neighborhoods. Most of the men worked in the mines, their sons often joining them at the age of fourteen. Everything they needed to support their daily life was available along two streets, Front and Main. Sixteen trains a day passed through Louisville, connecting it with Boulder, Eldorado Springs and Denver.
Mining life was hard and dangerous. There were wars between the miners and their bosses when the miners went on strike. Pioneer residents can point out where bullets pierced the walls of their childhood homes during the troubles. Saloons and brothels were part of the frontier scene as well as schools, churches, boarding houses, groceries, restaurants and even a little movie theater.
Many of these buildings still stand unchanged in downtown, historic Louisville, shadows of the town's lively past. Although the mines are now closed and silent, they are still beneath the city; the dark veins of Louisville's original life blood. New citizens are drawn to the community's old-fashioned qualities of friendliness, courtesy and honesty, and its commitment to the preservation and restoration of the historic downtown.
Its pulse beats faster as the city's carefully crafted preservation plan and design guidelines excite new businesses to join the diverse and unusual scene on its historic streets. Today, the population has more than tripled since 1970; standing now at over 19,000 on seven square miles, but the city retains its small-town feeling while pursuing commercial growth. In recent years, a new hospital, an 18-hole golf course, a recreation center and Monarch School campus have all contributed to the valuable quality of life.
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