Sterling, Colorado

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Sterling, Colorado
Main Street
Main Street
Nickname(s): A Colorado Treasure
Motto(s): A Colorado Treasure
Location of Sterling in Logan County, Colorado.
Location of Sterling in Logan County, Colorado.
Coordinates: 40°37′32″N 103°12′42″W / 40.62556°N 103.21167°W / 40.62556; -103.21167Coordinates: 40°37′32″N 103°12′42″W / 40.62556°N 103.21167°W / 40.62556; -103.21167
Country United States
State Colorado
County[1] Logan County - seat[2]
Settled 1868
Platted 1890
Incorporated December 3, 1884[3]
 • Type Home Rule Municipality[1]
 • Mayor Courtney Hewitt
 • City Manager Jackson Conn
 • Total 7.62 sq mi (19.72 km2)
 • Land 7.62 sq mi (19.72 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)  0.0%
Elevation 3,937 ft (1,181 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 14,777
 • Estimate (2016)[5] 13,988
 • Density 1,836.90/sq mi (709.26/km2)
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code[6] 80751
Area code(s) 970
FIPS code 08-73935
GNIS feature ID 0202901
Website City of Sterling

Sterling is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Logan County, Colorado, United States.[7] The city population was 14,777 at the 2010 census.[8]

Sterling is the largest city in Northeastern Colorado and the county seat of Logan County and the site of the domed Logan County courthouse, built in 1909.


A post office called Sterling has been in operation since 1874.[9] The community was named for Sterling, Illinois, the native home of a railroad official.[10]


Sterling is 128 miles (206 km) northeast of Denver, and is located on Interstate 76, on the 'eastern plains' of northeastern Colorado.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.9 square miles (18 km2), all of it land.


According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Sterling has a semi-arid climate, abbreviated "BSk" on climate maps.[11]

Climate data for Sterling, Colorado (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 42
Average low °F (°C) 14
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.30
Average snowfall inches (cm) 4.0


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 540
1900 998 84.8%
1910 3,044 205.0%
1920 6,415 110.7%
1930 7,195 12.2%
1940 7,411 3.0%
1950 7,534 1.7%
1960 10,751 42.7%
1970 10,636 −1.1%
1980 11,385 7.0%
1990 10,362 −9.0%
2000 11,360 9.6%
2010 14,777 30.1%
Est. 2016 13,988 [5] −5.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
Sterling Railroad Station 1880s
Sterling's Main Street in the 1920s, looking northwest from the railroad tracks.
The original Sterling High School, built in 1909. This building later served as the Sterling Junior High School until the 1980s.
The Blizzard of 1949 near Sterling

As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 11,360 people, 4,604 households, and 2,790 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,653.1 people per square mile (638.4/km²). There were 5,171 housing units at an average density of 752.5 per square mile (290.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.75% Caucasian American, 0.75% African American, 0.79% Native American, 0.41% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 5.60% from other races, and 1.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.20% of the population.

There were 4,604 households out of which 30.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.2% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.4% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the city, the population was spread out with 25.5% under the age of 18, 12.9% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,337, and the median income for a family was $39,103. Males had a median income of $27,921 versus $20,508 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,287.


Logan County Courthouse in the 1930s
Logan County Courthouse today
Northeastern Junior College

Major employers in Sterling include Northeastern Junior College, the RE-1 Valley School system, Sykes Enterprises, a computer software customer services company, and the Sterling Correctional Facility.

Sterling is the major shopping hub for most of northeastern Colorado and hosts stores like Wal-Mart, The Home Depot, and J. C. Penney, as well as many local retailers located primarily on Main Street. Six different banks have branches in Sterling and there are local AM and FM radio stations as well as a local television station, and a long established regional newspaper, the Sterling Journal-Advocate and South Platte Sentinel [1].

Parks and recreation[edit]

The Overland Trail Museum in Sterling

Just a few miles northeast of Sterling is located the North Sterling State Park, situated on the North Sterling Reservoir, a man-made lake fed by waters from the South Platte River. This new state park has three state of the art boat ramps, and three modern camping areas with over 150 camping sites, as well as multiple picnicking sites. The park is famous for its superb swimming, boating, water-skiing, camping, and fishing.

Pheasant, duck, and deer hunting are excellent in the high plains and South Platte River Valley surrounding Sterling.

Sterling is the home of two beautiful golf courses, Riverview Golf Course and the Northeastern Eighteen (the former Sterling Country Club - now owned by Northeastern Junior College), each offering excellent 18-hole courses.

The Overland Trail Museum, located east of Sterling near Interstate 76, houses an eclectic mix of historical items in the main building, which resembles an early fort, as well as a restored local one-room schoolhouse and other restored historical buildings. Museum admission is three dollars, and picnic grounds are adjacent.

The Overland Trail Recreation Area features a 5-acre (20,000 m2) fishing pond open to all ages as well as biking trails, grass, trees, fishing, picnic tables, BBQ grills, walking path, off road parking, restroom, and fishing pier.

Each summer, Sterling hosts the annual Logan County Fair, a typical old-time county fair complete with 4-H animal shows, baked goods competitions, a carnival, music shows, demolition derby, and a rodeo as well as the annual Sugar Beet Days harvest festival in the fall.

The Recreation Center now has an indoor pool with a capacity of 225, including the diving well and an outdoor pool with a capacity of nearly 450. The outdoor pool includes several water features including a Multi-Play 5 and three slides The pool has a 50x50 beach entry as well as a separate wading pool with a mini water dome and six water jets.

The largest attraction at the pool is the double flumed slide, complete with a translucent blue speed slide about 130 feet long and one open flume slide about 220 feet long. Picnic tables and chairs can accommodate over 300 patrons and the seven shade structures provide plenty of protection from the sun's ultra violet rays.


The Colorado Department of Corrections operates the Sterling Correctional Facility in Sterling.[15]


Sterling is the home of Northeastern Junior College, a residential two year college in Colorado.

Sterling is also the location of the award-winning[which?][when?] RE-1 Valley School District, whose academics, music programs, and athletics programs are consistently among the most highly rated in the state of Colorado.[citation needed]



Crosson Field Municipal Airport serves Sterling, but there are no scheduled flights available from there. The closest airport served by scheduled flights is Denver International Airport, located 121 miles (195 km) away.

Sterling is also served by railroads, although only freight carriers serve the town. The main rail operator is Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), but other operators, like Union Pacific, serve Sterling as well. The closest Amtrak station is located in Fort Morgan, about 47 miles (76 km) away.

Scheduled bus service is offered by Black Hills Stage Lines with service to Ft. Morgan and Denver in Colorado, as well as number of cities in Nebraska including North Platte, Kearney, and Omaha.


Health care[edit]

Sterling is a regional center for health care as well, and is the home of the Sterling Regional Medical Center.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  2. ^ "Colorado County Seats". State of Colorado, Department of Public Health and Environment. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  3. ^ "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. 2004-12-01. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  4. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 25, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  6. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup" (JavaScript/HTML). United States Postal Service. Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  7. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population for All Incorporated Places in Colorado" (CSV). 2005 Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. June 21, 2006. Retrieved November 17, 2006. 
  9. ^ "Post offices". Jim Forte Postal History. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 
  10. ^ Dawson, John Frank. Place names in Colorado: why 700 communities were so named, 150 of Spanish or Indian origin. Denver, CO: The J. Frank Dawson Publishing Co. p. 48. 
  11. ^ Climate Summary for Sterling, Colorado
  12. ^ "Average Weather for Sterling, Colorado - Precipitation and Temperatures". Retrieved October 22, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  14. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  15. ^ "SCF - Sterling Correctional Facility." Colorado Department of Corrections. Retrieved on April 19, 2012. "Facility Location: 12101 Hwy 61 Sterling, CO, 80751"

External links[edit]