Lewis Northey Tappan was an abolitionist, politician, and Colorado pioneer and entrepreneur.
After and early business career in Boston, Lewis went to Kansas in 1857 to join his cousin, Samuel Forster Tappan (1831–1913), who was already heavily involved in the Free-State movement as clerk of the Topeka Constitutional Convention and later, acting Speaker of the State House of Representatives. Lewis became Secretary of the Senate under the Topeka Constitution and one of the Fort Scott Treaty Commissioners.
Lewis was one of the fifteen armed men who went to Lecompton to recover the infamous candle box containing fraudulent election returns, the discovery of which caused the downfall of the Kansas pro-slavery party.
In 1859, Lewis moved to Colorado Territory where he joined the first city government of Denver, built its first frame building with his brother George Hooper Tappan (1833–1865), and operated the first store in the Colorado Territory. He was a member of Governor Gilpin's council and a staff member to Governor Cummings.
Tappan, along with several other town promoters, met in Denver City and organized the Colorado City Town Company on August 11, 1859, founding Colorado City on August 12. A few days later, on August 15, 1859, Tappan and many of the same eager town promoters organized the El Paso Claim Club, a vigilante form of civil government, to record real estate claims and settle land disputes. Tappan not only became the Town Company's director, secretary, and treasurer, but he also became the Claim Club's director, secretary, and recorder. Colorado City is now a national historic district within Colorado Springs, where Tappan operated a general and mining supplies store.
Tappan was one of the first 3 white men to enter the region known as "Garden of the Gods", which they named. The name of the park goes back to August 1859.