Established: April 15 1872
Priority Number: 26
Acres under ditch: 7152 originally
Water Source: South Boulder Creek
"There are few people in Boulder County who do not know this bluff old pioneer, and all who know him cannot help but like and respect him." -Daily Camera: May 19, 1892
William Davidson was one of Colorado's earliest and most industrious pioneers. When Boulder was settled in 1859, the town was made up mostly of men who came to mine. Davidson and partner Samuel Breath established Boulder's first grocery and mining supply store in the log cabin they built on the northeast corner of 11th and Pearl. This later became Boulder's first hotel, the "Boulder House".
After discovering the Niwot mine, Davidson launched the first and largest milling and mining enterprise in Colorado. In 1870, he built his farm on 600 acres in east Boulder. Joining other prominent Boulder men such as Mr.'s Teller, Loveland and Welch, he formed the Davidson Coal and Iron Company, which owned over 7,000 acres of land adjacent to his. Water was critical to mine the coal and iron this land contained and to provide agricultural capability. Tapping South Boulder Creek at the mouth of the canyon, an eleven-mile "canal" was built along the northern slope of the Marshal bluffs and across what was later named Davidson Mesa, continuing north and east through Boulder Valley. This $13,000 investment in Davidson ditch offered a rare opportunity not only to mine, but to create and market arable land in Boulder County. The subsequent improvements to his own farm made it one of the finest in this area at the turn of the century.
William A. Davidson. Photo courtesy of Carnegie Branch Library for Local History.
Newspaper clipping from Boulder County News, Jan 2, 1874