Lakewood is a home-rule municipality that is the most-populous municipality in Jefferson County, Colorado, United States. Lakewood is the fifth-most populous city in Colorado and the 172nd-most populous city in the United States. The city population was 142,980 at the 2010 United States Census. Lakewood is west of Denver and is part of the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colorado, metropolitan statistical area.
The urban and suburban development of the community known as Lakewood was started in 1889 by Charles Welch and W.A.H. Loveland, who platted a 13-block area along Colfax Avenue west of Denver in eastern Jefferson County. Loveland, the former president of the Colorado Central Railroad, retired to the new community of Lakewood after many years of living in Golden.
Until 1969, the area known as Lakewood had no municipal government, relying instead on several water districts, several fire districts, and the government of Jefferson County. Lakewood was a community with policing provided by the Jefferson County Sheriff, several volunteer-staffed fire districts, and some neighborhoods without street lights or sidewalks. However, the community had already existed for about 80 years.
The City of Lakewood was incorporated in 1969 as Jefferson City. Soon after, an election was held and the city's name was changed to Lakewood, due to an overwhelming dislike of "Jefferson City" and the belief that it would be confused with existing communities in Colorado and Missouri. At the time of incorporation, the city population was already over 90,000.
Lakewood never had a traditional downtown area.