If you've ever traveled along I-25 past the town of Castle Rock, you may have spotted the enormous star that sits atop a giant mesa. During certain times of the year, the star shines bright with dozen of tiny lights, yet in other months, it stays dark.

So what's the story behind the city of Castle Rock's iconic star?

The origin of the star dates back to 1936. Times were tough due to the Great Depression, and people in Colorado were looking for signs of hope. The star soon became that beacon of light for those living in Castle Rock.

Mountain States Telephone donated recycled electrical wire, which was used to construct the five-pointed design. One hundred lightbulbs were attached along the outer rim, allowing the star to illuminate when activated by a sensor. The owner of Schweiger Motor Co., William Sloan, did much of the design and welding for the project. Castle Rock Motor Company donated the gas for welding and the Town Council provided additional financial aid as needed.

Once it was built, the local fire department volunteered to help place the wire star on top of the town's large rock (which is also the destination's namesake).

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For the past 86 years, an annual star-lighting celebration is always held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Hundreds of people gather in the streets and parking lots downtown to watch the traditional lighting take place. The exciting evening is capped off by a brilliant display of fireworks.

Kelsey Nistel/TSM, Canva
Kelsey Nistel/TSM, Canva

After the initial celebratory lighting, the bulbs on the star turn on each night with the help of a sensor, which activates approximately when the sun sets. The star goes dark for the season once the National Western Stock Show in Denver comes to an end. This year, that happened on January 21.

Many Castle Rock residents have lobbied for their charming town star to stay lit for a longer period of time, but that has yet to happen.

However, there have been a few times throughout history when a few exceptions were made. Following World War II, the town illuminated the star with a "V" for victory. In 1998 and 2014, the local landmark was lit blue and orange to celebrate the Denver Broncos being in the Super Bowl. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the star's white lights were turned on as a symbol of hope, and to serve as a reminder that Castle Rock is a strong and united community, with residents full of perseverance.

The star is still maintained by Castle Rock Fire and Rescue to this day.

With the Stock Show coming to an end over the weekend, the wire statue will now remain dark until star-lighting 2023. The event is set to take place on Saturday, November 18.

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