Looking Back: The 2002 Stapleton Land Rush

Stapleton Land RushBack in 2002, when George W. Bush was president, we were still searching for Bin Laden, and the Patriots beat the Rams in the Super Bowl, a pioneering family took advantage of the Stapleton land rush. “The city was looking to expand, and wanted to do so before Aurora claimed the concrete infested former airport,” said 86 year old former Deputy Mayor Hans Schmit. “So, we essentially offered free titles to anyone who was willing to move out into the barren wasteland. And, really that is how Stapleton started.”

There weren’t many takers. “It seemed as if it was in the middle of nowhere,” said original Stapleton land-rusher Clive Taylor (72). “Plus, a former airport and nothing around for miles. For most of us, we would have rather lived in Sterling. But, the land was free, and that was just the head start that most of us needed.” Taylor and his family made the move, settled on a plot of land, and began construction on their home. “When we settled here, there weren’t builders, not even Laing or Trimark. You found your land, and started building your house.”

Clive stayed in Stapleton for many years before finally selling his house. “Some things have stayed the same,” said Taylor. “You can still have chickens and goats like you could way back in ’02. But, the changes that have come with big business and a growing community were just too much for simple folk like us.” Clive and his family became frustrated with bickering between neighbors, late night parties, and most of all, the lack of an Eastbridge Town Center. “It was the one thing we were promised before the rush. And we are pretty sure we will not be alive if it ever happens.”

So much has changed in Stapleton since the ’02 land rush. Land that was once free is now coveted by almost anyone in Colorado who can’t afford to live in a gated community. “To see where it is today from where it started is incredible,” said Schmit. “We originally just wanted to expand our lands before Aurora scraped it up. But now, it is a thriving, sustainable Denver community. I am glad I was a part of it.”

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