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city, seat (1904) of Arapahoe county, north-central Colorado, U.S. Parts of the city also lie within Douglas and Jefferson counties. Located 11 miles (18 km) south of Denver, the city arose on the site of a flour mill and granary established in 1867 to serve the gold camps in the Rocky Mountain foothills farther west. Named for Richard Sullivan Little, a hydraulic engineer who purchased a large tract of land and settled in the area, it was designated the village of Littleton in 1872, a year after the railroad arrived there. The local economy was largely agricultural until World War II, when several war-materiel plants were built; many of those were converted to aerospace production after the war. Much of the original city centre was heavily damaged in a 1965 flood of the South Platte River, after which new housing developments were constructed