The Colorado State Archives has many records which document the legal history of
businesses, irrigation ditches, road companies, fraternal organizations, churches, and
other non-profit associations.
Businesses in Colorado's earliest territorial existence filed their incorporation
papers in the county (normally at the County Clerk and Recorder's office) where their
principal place of business was located. In these early years a corporation could also be
established by law through the Territorial Legislature. These incorporations were recorded
in the "Private Acts" section of the Colorado Session Laws.
From 1861, the Secretary of the Territory (after statehood, the Secretary of State) was
responsible for recording incorporations and subsequent legal instruments regarding the
status of corporations.
of Early Territorial Incorporations.
On-line Index of 66,000 Incorporations 1861-1914 in the
Historical Records Database.
On-line Index of Business Trademarks in the
Historical Records Database.
Digital representations of Business Trademarks:
Corporation searches may be conducted personally at the Archives or you may request
that a staff member do the search for a fee. Address all inquiries to the Colorado State Archives.
For records after 1975, contact the Colorado
Secretary of State's Office, Commercial Recordings.
Types of Incorporation Records Found at the Archives
- Indexes (1861-1975) - Since 1914 the Secretary of State's office periodically
compiled indexes of their corporate legal filings. Besides referencing the original
documents, these indexes provide valuable information concerning the legal history of
businesses and incorporated organizations. The State Archives also has Ditch and Water
(1862-1902); Mining and Milling (1863-1902); and Road Company indexes (1864-1899).
- Recordings (1861-1957) - Legal actions regarding the status of corporations were
recorded in volumes filed at the Secretary of State's office. The State Archives has
custody of those volumes that span 1862-1957. The incorporation books contain
chronologically arranged records, which may include the Articles of Incorporation;
amendments to the Articles; name changes; Dissolution documents; and other legal
- Filings (1861-1974) - The filings are compilations of the legal instruments that
are recorded in the volumes. They are organized alphabetically by company name. The
filings may contain the documents that are also on file in the Recordings including the
Articles of Incorporation; Dissolution documents; and other legal instruments.
- Annual/Biennial Financial Reports (1902-1975) - Businesses voluntarily filed a
financial statement with the Secretary of State's office before 1912. Thereafter, annual
or biennial reports were mandatory. If a company failed to file a report for two
consecutive years, it was usually declared defunct and inoperative (D&I). Information
found in the annual statements include the names and addresses of the officers and
directors; whether or not the business was still engaged in active operation; and various
statistics concerning its financial status.
- Trademark Recordings (1877-1963) - The Trademark Recordings include a sample of
the company's legal trademark; the date it was filed and by whom; and what the company
produced in the way of merchandise or services under that trademark. An alphabetic index
to these books exists on microfilm.
Last modified January 27, 2010