Smith and Goss Ditch


Smith Goss Ditch

Established: November 15 1859

Priority Number: 2

Acres under ditch: 400 originally

Water Source: Boulder Creek



As more and more ditches claimed Boulder water, disputes multiplied about who had what rights. It took a while for government to catch up with what was happening on the ground. Finally, in 1882, adjudication hearings were held in Boulder to establish, once and for all, the priority, size and water rights of each Boulder ditch. J. P. Maxwell presided. The handwritten transcript of this hearing is at the Carnegie Branch Library. The hand-written testimony above is Marinus Smith’s testimony about the Smith-Goss Ditch.

Marinus Smith rolled into Boulder from Illinois in June 1859. He was a veteran of the California gold fields. This time, he decided, he would make money by supplying miners, not being one.

Smith immediately acquired 220 acres of rich bottom land along Boulder Creek, in what is now the Goss-Grove and Highland Lawn neighborhoods. With four friends, he set about digging the Smith-Goss Ditch. Water was let into the ditch during the summer, and Marinus officially filed on it November 20th, 1859. Marinus had been in Boulder only 5 months.

The short stretch of the Smith-Goss Ditch in front of Naropa University along Arapahoe Avenue is the oldest surviving man-made structure in Boulder.


Marinus Smith.

Photo and testimony courtesy of Carnegie Branch Library of Local History.

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