BOULDER – If Pearl Street is the central go-to-hub for Boulder’s many socialites, The Hill is the go-to (and off-campus) hangout for students attending the University of Colorado-Boulder.
Located just west of the CU-Boulder campus, The Hill (short for “University Hill”) is a unique neighborhood that’s part-residential, part-business.
Join us Friday on Instagram as we tour University Hill and its shops, restaurants, and unique historical facts that make it the funky mix of college kids and residential homes it is today, sitting adjacent to the University of Colorado.
‘The Hill’ and its history of college culture
Until the 1930s, the University Hill neighborhood in Boulder was just open frontier: filled with grasshoppers and weeds.
Streets weren’t paved and it certainly wasn’t filled with college kids playing beer pong in their front yards!
Instead, students crowded into University Hill soda shops between classes.
In 1859, a group of men organized the Boulder City Town Company, made up of miners and workers. The men decided to map out and build on the 1,280 acres along Boulder Creek – east of the canyon – that we today call Boulder.
The company set exorbitant rates for the land purchase: $1,000 for a 50-foot by 140-foot lot! On the contrary, homesteaders could buy land for just $1.25 an acre from the federal government. Safe to say growth was slow for the first few decades of Boulder.
By 1876, mining and a silver discovery had infused some money into the sleepy town. In that same year, Colorado became a state, and the University of Colorado was established.
Although the Pearl Street area was Boulder’s first downtown, The Hill began to rise in popularity as more college students and families searched for a place to live near the University.
In 1906, University Hill Elementary school was established, one of the oldest in the city.
The real estate market flourished in the 1920s in Boulder. With the end of the great war, enrollment at CU doubled, and many families moved to Boulder so their college-bound kids could attend the University and live at home.
Many summer residences were also built as a respite for tuberculosis.