Community recognition of Thornton's history and heritage creates a sense of belonging, pride, and identity. Identification and preservation of buildings and structures from the city's history help make Thornton a special place. In December 2012, City Council adopted the "Historic Recognition Code" which is Chapter 19 of the Thornton City Code to provide a procedure for officially recognizing historic sites, structures, and districts within the city.
Like many suburbs built after 1950, Thornton's history begins at its agricultural roots in the late 1800s and early 1900s, long before its incorporation as a municipality in 1956. This history extends through the original post-WWII subdivisions into the extraordinary population growth of recent decades. Structures built before the early 1960s are now older than 50 years and are eligible for listing in the state and national register of historic places. Thornton's Historic Recognition Code now provides a mechanism for nominating these structures for local historic designation as well. Formally recognizing our collective history will preserve and enhance Thornton's past for future generations.