Before its incorporation, Woodland Park, then known as Manitou Park, was a tiny resort town that was used as a business center for its neighboring towns. The city was known for its strong saw milling economy. Workers in the city sold logs that were cut for railroad ties and braces for the gold mines in Teller County, a huge gold mining area back in the late 1800s. At the time, Woodland Park was producing millions of feet of lumber and tens of thousands of railroad ties. Besides lumber, tourism and ranching were the other economic benefits among residents in Woodland Park’s early days.
The Colorado Midland Railway helped boost the tourist economy in the city. Woodland Park was home to a passenger and freight stop which attracted thousands of people who passed through the city via train. Woodland Park also had multiple popular hotels in town that helped build their tourist population. In 1920, the Woodland Park Rodeo Association was created, helping to draw attention to the ranching background of the community. The association held events like parades, rodeos (naturally), and sports games. When the association was disbanded, Woodland Park still hosted a variety of rodeo and horse-related events. The city was also home to many different “dude ranches,” one of which still stands to this day.
The town was briefly renamed “Belmont” after Dr. William Bell, a tourist resort owner in the town. When the city was officially incorporated in 1891, its name was finally changed to Woodland Park.