A surprising number of Coloradans work in Denver but live in unincorporated Douglas County...although they generally refer to themselves as residents of local townships: Deckers, Sedalia, Castle Pines Village, etc. These are towns that Denverites know from their local news, places where weather happens, fires rage and citizens live…but where are they again?
And that’s the point. People who choose to live in UDC don’t want you to know where they are. They don’t want you telling them that they can only have a certain number of dogs and chickens. They think that city issues like the disappearance of the dumpsters are eye-rollingly useless. And they definitely don’t want you telling them where they can ride their horses. But what else raises their unincorporated hackles? One of our readers who lives in unincorporated Douglas County spills some of the secrets.
8. Horse Shit
Ask any resident of the UDC and they’ll tell you: Horses are pretty much an everyday thing. You have one or you deal with the people who do, and either way, your life is relatively equine-heavy. Our UCD mole reports a story in which a non-horse-owning neighbor respectfully asked in a Facebook post how she should handle the constant piles of horse crap that were always at the end of her driveway. The horse people pounced, as the question itself was apparently an affront. One of them helpfully suggested to the original poster that “maybe you should just move to Highlands Ranch.” Them’s fighting words in unincorporated Douglas County, much like “maybe you’d be happier in unincorporated Douglas County” is the sickest burn in the Ranch.
Door-to-door salespeople are not welcome in UDC, unless they happen to be hawking signs that say, “No Soliciting! This Means You!” — which would put the residents in the sort of mind-twisting paradox that you more often find in M.C. Escher lithographs or songs by Alanis Morissette. One resident puts it succinctly: “I don’t read magazines, I don’t want to support your group or school, I can make my own cookies, I already have a good vacuum, and I sure don’t need any encyclopedias.” This was a tough quote to get, mind you, coming as it apparently did from the 1950s.
6. Incorporated Douglas County
Between the relative juggernauts of Castle Rock, Parker and other incorporated municipalities in Douglas County, the unincorporated folks often feel dragged along through the political process. Just as rural Colorado tends to resent how Denver, Boulder and the Springs drive most of state politics, Douglas County is similarly driven by its more traditionally organized territories. Not only that, but the UDC has to put up with all the decisions of the other towns: the commuters in and out of Parker, the sprawling neighborhoods of Castle Rock, and the headaches that come with the annual Renaissance Festival in Larkspur, known locally as the Cleavage and Turkey Leg Jamboree.
Douglas County in general is considered a Republican stronghold — and with good reason. The area boasts four state reps, all GOP stalwarts, three out of the four parts of Ted Cruz’s “Colorado Leadership Team,” along with the likes of Gordon Klingenschmitt. In 2012, 62 percent of the county as a whole voted for Mitt Romney for President, even when the rest of the state was going blue. So it stands to reason that the minority of Democrats in the area would keep it on the down-low; just this month, when a Democratic Party circular went out to most of the households in the UDC, they were hand-delivered by a resident who wouldn’t take credit for it even when called out on social media. Self-preservation usually wins out over party affiliation.
I grew up in a rural area, and I can attest: Living out in the sticks essentially means that speed limits are pointless, and drivers know it. My own aunt once called me a “Granny” because I was driving the speed limit on a county blacktop. The same holds true for unincorporated Douglas County, where everyone speeds and everyone resents it — unless they're the speeder. Residents get irate about “maniacs” making their roads unsafe, driving recklessly and with abandon, and generally making it feel like Grand Theft Auto V: Unincorporated Douglas County. (Less prostitution, but 650 percent more cow-tipping.)
3. And Driving Suspiciously Slowly
But frankly, it’s slow-driving that will get your license-plate number written down and called in to the sheriff. As our UDC mole says, “If you’re driving slowly through our neighborhoods, obviously you’re a hoodlum and a criminal. Within ten minutes, the whole block will be out on the street writing down every identifying detail of you and your vehicle.” And seriously, if you’re driving slowly because you’re selling books about how horses are a nuisance, god help you.
Do you have any ill-fitting, out-of-style, possibly stained clothing for sale?
John Beagle at Flickr
2. The Inherent Danger of Garage Sales
When people in most of the country have a plethora of junk, they generally have a garage sale or a yard sale or take to Craigslist to unload some of it and maybe make back enough cash to take the family out to dinner or something. In unincorporated Douglas County, this is frowned upon because, according to our local informant, it “brings in all the wrong people…all the punks will discover the place and come back to rob us.” The threat of crime is ever present: the fear that someone’s going to break in and steal their turquoise jewelry and flatware and collection of limited-edition Western-themed plates from the Franklin Mint.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
1. Incursions on Their Personal Space
Because space is the reason why residents of unincorporated Douglas County live where they do. They just want to be left alone. “The only thing that I want crossing over into my property,” says one resident, “is weather.” And even then, he adds with a wink, “I still complain about it.”