The history of Edgewater, Colorado is closely tied to the development of Sloans Lake. The lake was created in 1861 when Thomas Sloan, hoping to farm the area, dug a well that overflowed and flooded 200 acres. The City's name 'Edgewater' was derived from its proximity to the water's edge. The formation of the lake initially attracted a few fisherman and ice-cutters to the area. However, it wasn't until the 1887 establishment of Fort Logan that development began to increase, thanks to the creation of Sheridan Boulevard as a major access route. The increase in traffic moving past the lake brought new residents, and spurred the idea for Manhattan Beach resort on the northwest shore of Sloans Lake. Though the resort was abandoned in 1914, when it opened in 1889 it was the largest amusement park west of the Mississippi, attracting many visitors. The following year the West End Street Railroad opened, running along 29th Avenue to Sheridan Boulevard and connecting Denver to Manhattan Beach and the growing Edgewater community.
By the turn of the century, Edgewater had attracted enough residents to open a post office, school, and a few small stores on 25th Avenue. However, without any public infrastructure, and with a tendency to flood, the Edgewater community was known primarily for its muddiness and saloons, making it difficult to attract wealthier families and quality homes. In an effort to distinguish itself from this identity, Edgewater's approximately 300 residents narrowly voted in 1901 to incorporate as a City, with official state recognition coming in 1904. The first steps for newly-elected leaders were to build wooden boardwalks, replace the town's well with piped water, establish street names and extend telephone and electricity lines. This was followed by ordinances regulating sanitation and dangerous behavior.
The mid- 20th century saw substantial growth in Edgewater. The population increased from less than 1500 in 1930 to 5,500 in the mid 1970s. During this period, the City paved its streets, developed new retail along Sheridan, and continued to annex new land for residential development until the surrounding communities of Wheat Ridge and Lakewood incorporated in the 1960s, land-locking the City. In the 1980s, the City formed the Edgewater Redevelopment Authority (ERA) to address the need for road and public facility improvements, as well as, flood and storm water issues; the ERA continues to work to ensure quality physical and economic development throughout the City. Finally, the City also established a Parks, Recreation, Historic Preservation and Arts Advisory Board to help ensure that Edgewater's history is protected and celebrated into the future.
Edgewater is nestled between the cities of Denver, Wheat Ridge and Lakewood, on the western shore of Sloans Lake. It is a small city, with an area of less than 1 square mile and a 2010 population of 5,170. This is actually a slight decline in population from 5,445 in 2000, despite overall growth in the Denver Metro area and the state. At the same time, Edgewater's population has become more diverse, with nearly half of the City's population composed of residents with Hispanic, African, or Asian descent, according to the 2010 census.
Edgewater offers a unique small town atmosphere within minutes of downtown Denver area. Approximately half of the City's land area is made up of single-family neighborhoods, and more than half of all residential units are renter-occupied. most of the City's multi-family and commercial development is located at the City's perimeter, along Sheridan Boulevard, 20th Avenue and 26th Avenue, with smaller neighborhood-serving businesses situated along the 25th Avenue "Main Street".