Job Hunting for People with Disabilities

Many Colorado businesses offer opportunities for persons with disabilities to become employed, a situation which can greatly enhance the person's life.  If you or someone you know is disabled and looking for employment in Colorado, be sure to view A Job-Hunting Guide for Colorado Citizens with Disabilities, produced by the Colorado Career Web of the Community Colleges of Colorado and available online from our library.

State publications of possible interest to employers include Colorado's Disability Program Navigators and Systems Change Employment Initiatives:  An Evaluation Report and Final Report on Employment and Community Participation Recommendations.  For further resources visit our library's online catalog.


New Senior Financial Fraud Hotline

Senior citizens are frequently targeted as victims of financial fraud.  So to help curb this worrisome trend, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies' Division of Securities has recently established a new hotline that seniors and/or their relatives or caregivers can use to report fraud and scams directed at the elderly.  The number for the hotline is 720-593-6720.

Several state agencies have set up websites that can help seniors -- and anyone -- who has been victimized by fraud, or to help educate the public on how to avoid becoming a victim.  If you are a senior or caregiver be sure to check out the following state websites and publications:


Time Machine Tuesday: The Arkansas River Compact

The Arkansas River Compact is an agreement between the states of Colorado and Kansas to avoid disputes over water usage rights and to "equitably divide and apportion" the waters between the two states.  The agreement, signed in 1948, further specifies the use of the waters in John Martin Reservoir.  You can read a copy of the compact at the Colorado Division of Water Resources website, along with other compact documents.

After the compact was negotiated and signed by the compact commissioners in 1948, they forwarded their recommendations to the governors and legislatures of the two states for review ratification.  Our library has digitized the report sent to the Colorado lawmakers, which you can read here.  The commission included nine members, four from each state along with a federal representative, Gen. Hans Kramer, a retired Army Corps of Engineers Officer, to serve as chair. (Read President Truman's letter appointing Gen. Kramer to head the compact negotiations here.)  Colorado's representatives included former state Attorney General Gail Ireland; Charles Patterson of the Colorado Water Conservation Board; Henry C. Vidal; and Harry B. Mendenhall.  The Colorado and Kansas legislatures approved the compact in 1949 and on May 13 of that year, it was approved by Congress.

The need for the Arkansas River Compact came after a long history of disputes and lawsuits between the two states.  The Colorado Water Conservation Board has put together a helpful timeline of the events leading up to the development of the compact.

For further resources on the Arkansas River, interbasin compacts, and water usage rights in Colorado, search our library's online catalog.


Colorado's Left Lane Law

It's a frustrating situation:  you're driving down the highway and come upon a slow-moving vehicle in front of you, so you wish to pass.  But you can't...someone is driving slowly or "hogging" the left lane, impeding your ability to pass the other vehicle.  It happens every day, but it's illegal.  Since the passage of Colorado's Left Lane Law in 2004, law enforcement officers have the ability to cite a driver for impeding the flow of traffic in the left lane.

The above excerpt of the Left Lane Law is from the Colorado State Patrol publication Colorado's Left Lane Law:  Understanding How the Left Lane Law Affects Your Driving, available online from our library.  The full text of the law can be found in the Colorado Revised Statutes, which are also available online.  Original legislation for the law can be found here.  For more information on this and other Colorado traffic laws see the official Colorado Driver Handbook.


Colorado Farm to School Program

Colorado's Farm to School program was started in 2010 with funding from the Colorado Department of Agriculture.  Under the motto "growing local markets, nutritious food, and healthy children," the program works to provide locally-sourced food products to school lunchrooms.  The program works with both schools and with agricultural producers to bring the two together.  The program's website includes many helpful resources, including how students, parents, and the community can get their local school involved.

Additional resources on the program and its benefits can be found in our library, including the program's biennial legislative report and the Colorado State University study Understanding the Effectiveness of Farm to School Programs Through Food Service ProfessionalsFor more resources on agriculture and local foods search our library's web catalog.


Time Machine Tuesday: Severe Storms

Yesterday the Colorado front range was hit hard with a storm producing heavy rains, hail, lightning, and high winds.  The months of May and June typically see the most severe thunderstorm activity on the Colorado plains...in fact, Colorado also experienced a severe storm exactly sixty years ago, May 8, 1957.  I found this factoid by viewing the Colorado Extreme Storm Precipitation Data Study, published exactly twenty years ago, May 1997, by the Colorado Climate Center.  A division of Colorado State University's Department of Atmospheric Science, the Colorado Climate Center keeps volumes of data on Colorado weather, which can be accessed on their website.  Many of their studies and reports, like the one referenced above, have been digitized and are available online. 

One of the Extreme Storm report's co-authors, Dr. Nolan Doesken, still heads the Climate Center and is Colorado's official State Climatologist.  In his forty years with CSU, Doesken has published dozens of reports, many of which you can find in our library, both online and in print.

The most notable aspect of yesterday's storm was the extensive, damaging hail.  In 1969, CSU's Atmospheric Science Department published two technical studies on Colorado hailstorms, The Influence of Vertical Wind Shear on Hailstorm Development and Structure and Stability and Dynamic Processes in the Formation of High Plains HailstormsBoth reports are available online from our library.  Also available online is the report of another year's severe spring weather:  Numerical Simulation of the May 15 and April 26, 1991 Tornadic ThunderstormsFor more Colorado meteorology resources, search our library's online catalog.


Image credit:  Wikipedia commons


Colorado Libraries Collaborate for 25 Years

This year the Colorado Libraries Collaborate (CLC) program is celebrating its 25th year!  Originally known as the Colorado Library Card program, CLC was launched in 1991 as a way for registered library users across Colorado to gain free access to materials in libraries across the state, therefore not limiting them to only the materials available in their own town, county, or school.  Today, all of Colorado's public libraries participate in CLC, as do most school and academic libraries, and even some special libraries -- greatly expanding the number of resources available to Coloradans.  For more information, see the program's website.

You can learn about the history and implementation of the CLC program through several publications available from our library:
Also, for background on the need for the establishment of the CLC program, see Resource Sharing in Colorado, a 1988 study done by the State Library.  It is available for checkout in print.


Colorado Governors: Alexander Cummings

After the resignation of John Evans, Alexander Cummings (served 1865-1867) was appointed Territorial Governor of Colorado by President Andrew Johnson.  Cummings had previously served as a special purchasing agent for the War Department during the Civil War and, after being discharged from this post, had in February 1864 attained the rank of Brigadier General and Superintendent of Troops of African Descent for the State of Arkansas.  Originally from Pennsylvania, Cummings' pre-war career had been as a newspaperman.

In Colorado, Cummings differed markedly from his predecessor.  Although both governors were Republicans, Cummings -- unlike Evans -- opposed statehood, and caused a deep divide between himself and those Coloradans working toward attaining statehood.  Amidst this and other controversies, Cummings left Colorado after less than two years to return to his native Pennsylvania, holding several posts with the federal government.  He died in 1879.

In 1957 William Hanchett wrote an article for Colorado Magazine about the turbulent governorship of Alexander Cummings, who Hanchett called "the villain of Colorado's territorial history."  You can read the article online or check out a copy from our library.


Time Machine Tuesday: Public Health in Colorado, 1937

You can learn a lot about American life and culture in past decades by viewing public health reports.  Here in Colorado, the State Board of Health began serving -- and keeping statistics on -- Coloradans in 1876.  Today, the agency now known as the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment still maintains the state's vital statistics office (birth, death, etc. records) along with studying and reporting on communicable diseases, epidemiology, healthcare practices, health trends, needs of special populations, and more.  Today let's look at the state of health in Colorado 80 years ago, as seen through the Annual Report of the State Board of Health, which has been digitized by our library.

 Back in 1937, the state's public health agency focused on various topics, some of which are still important to us today, such as Maternal and Child Health, and some which are no longer as much of a concern, such as tuberculosis.  In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, tuberculosis was a major public health issue throughout the United States, and thousands flocked to Colorado for what was known as the "climate cure."  Scientific treatment methods for tuberculosis, however, didn't really become successful until after WWII.  Therefore, the 1937 report includes considerable discussion on efforts to control tuberculosis.

The report also shows that wastewater was a significant public health concern in 1937, especially in rural areas where plumbing standards were still low.  In 1937 the health department included both a "Division of Sanitary Engineering" and a "Division of Plumbing," the latter division working to "raise the standard of sanitation and thereby protect the public against installations which are a menace to their health and safety."  They investigated 104 complaints that year.  

A young patient at Children's Hospital in Denver circa 1930s.
Another area of emphasis in the 1937 report was what they then referred to as "crippled children."  This was, of course, prior to the development of the polio vaccine and other medical advances; therefore, 1,332 children were reported as being "crippled" in Colorado in 1937.

Much of the 1937 report contains statistics, such as morbidity rates; health services provided to the public; communicable diseases; birth and death data; and more.  For additional reports and statistics on the state of public health in Colorado throughout its history, search our online catalog.   

Photo courtesy Denver Public Library Western History & Genealogy Department


Caring for Storm-Damaged Trees

Spring snowstorms and freezes like those experienced in Denver metro area this weekend can cause significant tree damage, due to the cold in combination with the weight of the snow on trees that have already leafed out.  If you experienced tree damage this weekend, the Colorado State University Extension and Colorado State Forest Service have several publications that offer helpful tips on caring for storm-damaged trees, and how to prevent damage before a storm:

Photo courtesy Colorado State Forest Service


Health and Wellness at School

The health of children and youth is an important consideration in schools.  Here are some resources available from our library to help educators achieve happy, healthy schools and students.












In addition to the above-listed state resources, see the CDC's Healthy Schools page for more.


Time Machine Tuesday: Anti-Discrimination Laws

Most Coloradans are aware that we have laws in our state that prohibit discrimination in places of public accommodation.  But did you know that it was 100 years ago when our state first passed such a law?

Back in 1917, the Colorado Legislature passed Senate Bill 200, sponsored by Senator Herman Kluge of Palisade and Representative Clement Crowley of Denver.  That year, as the Great War raged, discrimination against Americans of German ancestry was bitter and widespread.  Also during this time, the Ku Klux Klan was making a resurgence, with a Klan organization having been founded in Denver in 1915.  These conditions were likely the impetus for the 1917 law, which declared it unlawful for any places of public accommodation to distribute communications that discriminated against "any religious sect, creed, denomination, or nationality, or against any of the members thereof." 

Unlike the current statute, C.R.S. 24-34-601, which defines places of public accommodation as

any place of business engaged in any sales to the public and any place offering services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to the public, including but not limited to any business offering wholesale or retail sales to the public; any place to eat, drink, sleep, or rest, or any combination thereof; any sporting or recreational area and facility; any public transportation facility; a barber shop, bathhouse, swimming pool, bath, steam or massage parlor, gymnasium, or other establishment conducted to serve the health, appearance, or physical condition of a person; a campsite or trailer camp; a dispensary, clinic, hospital, convalescent home, or other institution for the sick, ailing, aged, or infirm; a mortuary, undertaking parlor, or cemetery; an educational institution; or any public building, park, arena, theater, hall, auditorium, museum, library, exhibit, or public facility of any kind whether indoor or outdoor

the 1917 statute did not include retail businesses.  Instead, places of public accommodation in the 1917 statute were defined as inns, hotels, taverns, restaurants, public transportation, bath houses, barber shops, theaters, and music halls.  Obviously, with the rise of the Klan in the 1920s and the continued civil rights struggles of the next several decades, this law in and of itself had little effect; yet it was a single step toward the acknowledgement of a diverse and multi-ethnic Colorado.  With the exception of a 1933 law prohibiting discrimination in public employment based on religious belief, it was not until the Civil Rights era of the 1960s and '70s that further anti-discrimination laws were passed in Colorado.


2017 Colorado Wildfire Outlook

On April 14 the Governor and the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention & Control (DFPC) presented on the outlook for the 2017 wildfire season.  "The number, intensity, and complexity of wildfires in Colorado have been growing exponentially, and experts predict that it will continue to worsen," notes the Department of Public Safety's press release.

Each year the DFPC submits a Wildfire Preparedness Plan to the governor.  These plans are available from our library.  You can search our library's online catalog for numerous other resources on Colorado wildfire preparation, response, and recovery. 

The High Park Fire, June 2012, in Larimer County. 

Photo by Sgt. Jesica Geffre, U.S. Army/Colorado National Guard, via Wikipedia


House Resolution Recognizing Libraries

The Colorado House of Representatives has scheduled for today the consideration of HR17-1008, a resolution recognizing the importance of Colorado libraries.  The resolution states, in part, that "Colorado libraries are a vital and essential public resource that provide free and equal access to educational and recreational material and enrich the lives of all citizens."  The resolution goes on to stress the importance of IMLS funding for libraries.  And, in paragraph 9, State Publications is listed as one of our state's "essential library programs and services." 

You can watch the presentation of the resolution live on the House floor today (or, if you are reading this after today, you can view a recording) by going to the Colorado Channel.

The Colorado House chambers.  Photo by Tony Eitzel courtesy of Colorado General Assembly.


What is the Colorado Commission on Uniform State Laws?

The Colorado Commission on Uniform State Laws (CCUSL) is a commission under the auspices of the state General Assembly which compares state laws around the country and determines discrepancies between Colorado laws and other states on topics of potential national importance.  Each state has such a committee, which act as participants in the federal Uniform Law Commission (ULC). 

The topics examined by the CCUSL and ULC are varied in subject and scope.  The commission discusses various topics and makes recommendations for legislation.  For example, in 2016 the CCUSL authored five Senate Bills:  SB16-071, concerning registration of athletic agents; SB16-084, concerning "health care decision-making documents," SB16-085, concerning property trusts; SB16-088, concerning "fiduciary access to digital assets," and SB16-103, concerning domestic violence protection orders.  Two of these bills, SB16-085 and SB16-088, were passed into law.

You can find out about the CCUSL's work, and their legislative recommendations, in their annual reports.  These are available from our library back to 2002.  You can find out about the legislation CCUSL has proposed for the current 2017 session by viewing this blog post from the State Legislature.


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Rehabilitation Farms

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Farm Security Administration (FSA) sponsored a program to purchase under-performing farmland from poor farmers and resettle them in group farms to enhance cultivation.  Despite criticism from some who considered the program to be socialist collectivism, the federal government did establish some of these farms in Colorado.  Here in our state they partnered with the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station to administer the program.  The annual income & expense reports for the program have been digitized and are available from our library for 1937 (the first report), 1938, and 1939.  The coming of World War II eased some of the economic burdens on agriculture, and the program was abandoned by 1944.  Check out these reports for an interesting look into a mostly-forgotten chapter in Colorado's agricultural past.


Dental Health in Colorado

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has many programs promoting oral/dental health.  Specific programs target Coloradans of various ages, such as the Cavity Free at Three program and the Dental Assistance for Seniors program.  CDPHE also oversees water fluoridation and keeps statistics on Coloradans' dental health.  For information on CDPHE's programs, see their website.  For publications about dental health in Colorado, check our library's online catalog.  Some examples of resources include


Colorado Egg Production

Buying Easter eggs this week?  You may not realize that the eggs you buy must go through a rigorous inspection process by the Colorado Department of Agriculture before they can appear on the shelves of your favorite grocery store.  Egg producers and dealers are required to be licensed by the state.*

The Colorado Egg Law and You and the Colorado Department of Agriculture's egg FAQs are two publications that discuss egg safety and quality.  Use this publication to learn about the inspection process; the difference between Grade AA, A, and B eggs; how to select organic or cage-free eggs; how you can keep eggs fresh longer; and how eggs are officially sized (from jumbo to peewee!)

*Some exceptions exist for small producers under the Colorado Cottage Foods Act.


Time Machine Tuesday: Gilpin County

During the Colorado Gold Rush, Gilpin County was one of the leading areas attracting miners and prospectors to attempt to strike it rich.  Today, as home to Central City and Black Hawk, two of the Colorado towns that allow gambling, people are still heading to Gilpin County to try to strike it rich.

In 1920 Thomas Maitland Marshall, a history professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder, put together a lengthy volume of Early Records of Gilpin County, 1859-1861.  This wonderful resource has now been digitized by our library.  It contains a history of the Gold Rush in Gilpin County and reprints of hundreds of articles of correspondence, meeting minutes, mining district legal documents, and much more.  If you are researching an early Gilpin County mining district, you can now find all in one place the records you might have had to visit numerous libraries and archives to view.  This is a terrific resource for learning about the mining business in early Colorado.

For more resources on the history, geology, etc. of Gilpin County, search our library's web catalog.  Also be sure and check out Riches and Regrets:  Betting on Gambling in Two Colorado Mountain Towns, by Patricia A. Stokowski (University Press of Colorado, 1996) for a history of gambling in Gilpin County.  Among the recipients of gambling funds is the State Historical Fund, which preserves historic sites around Colorado, including many of the historic buildings in Gilpin County itself.  For more on the State Historical Fund, see Guide to Colorado Historic Places:  Sites Supported by the Colorado Historical Society's State Historical Fund, also available for checkout from our library.   

1860s views of Black Hawk and Central City.  Photos courtesy Denver Public Library Western History Department.


National Library Week

National Library Week is here!  Celebrated April 9-15 this year, Library Week "is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and library workers and to promote library use and support," says the American Library Association.  Libraries provide a vital service in our communities and this week is a great time to show your support.  In our own library's collection are many resources that illustrate the impact and importance of all types of libraries:


New Report on Heroin Use in Colorado

Today the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) and several partner agencies released a new report on heroin use in Colorado.  Heroin in Colorado:  Preliminary Assessment is the product of the Heroin Response Work Group, which includes the Colorado Department of Human Services, the Colorado Attorney General's Office, the Governor's Office, and other partners in addition to CDPHE.  The need for the report comes from a recent spike in heroin use and overdoses in Colorado, according to CDPHE's press release

While this report is, according to CDPHE, the first ever State of Colorado report specific to heroin, we do have in our library other reports on drug use in Colorado that can provide additional statistics on heroin and overall drug use in the state.  These resources include


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado and the Great War

This coming Thursday, April 6, will mark the 100th anniversary of America's entry into World War I.  Europe had been embroiled in the Great War since 1914, but U.S. President Woodrow Wilson had vowed to keep Americans out of the conflict.  As the bloody war dragged on, however, it became apparent that the United States could no longer sit on the sidelines.  Several U.S. ships had been damaged or sunk by German mines in the Atlantic, and when the British passenger ship Lusitania was torpedoed in 1915 -- resulting in the deaths of 128 Americans -- public opinion began to favor going to war with the Germans.  Many statesmen such as former President Theodore Roosevelt urged American entry into the war, but Wilson resisted.  By the late winter of 1917, however, the Germans had sunk several more American ships, and on April 2 Wilson finally asked Congress for a declaration of war.  The vote passed the Senate on April 4 and the House on April 6. 

This graphic appeared in the Boulder Daily Camera one hundred years ago today.
From the spring of 1917 through the war's end on November 11, 1918, more than 43,000 Coloradans served in the military, including soldiers and nurses "over there" as well as those filling military roles stateside.  Colorado Governor Julius Gunter wrote in the Rocky Mountain News that "our state is well advanced in preparation to bear its part and to do its share in all of the services President Wilson had in mind when he said: ‘It is not an army we must shape and train for war; it is a nation,’ and it further means that Colorado’s people, zealous to give their abilities and resources to the cause of the world’s democracy and liberty, are coordinated and unified in organizations that can quickly and effectively translate into action the policies of their chief executives, state and nation."*

America's participation in the Great War affected everybody, even schoolchildren.  The Colorado Superintendent of Public Instruction issued A War-Modified Course of Study for the Public Schools of Colorado, which has been digitized by our library.  Americans of German heritage were also affected, as they were targeted for their ethnic background even if they had been United States citizens their whole lives.  An interesting article on this topic, "The Ordeal of Colorado's Germans During World War I," appears in the Fall 1974 issue of the Colorado Historical Society's Colorado Magazine.  That magazine's successor, Colorado Heritage, also devoted the entire Winter 1992 issue to "The Turbulent Teens:  1910-1920," to accompany the Colorado History Museum's series of exhibits on each decade in Colorado history.  This publication can be checked out in print from our library.  Finally, you can read original newspaper accounts of Colorado's reaction to the entry into war by visiting the Colorado State Library's Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection

*Reprinted at https://coloradogenealogy.com/history/colorado_world_war.htm 


Protecting Colorado's Groundwater

Pesticides and chemicals can have an unhealthy effect on groundwater, so the Colorado Department of Agriculture, Colorado State University, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have teamed up "to protect groundwater and the environment from impairment or degredation due to the improper use of agricultural chemicals while allowing their proper and correct use." 

For further information, check out the program's website, including reports and information on current investigations.  You can also find numerous reports on the topic available from our library, including
Search our library's web catalog for additional reports.


Colorado Governors: John Evans

Colorado's second territorial governor, John Evans, is remembered for his many contributions to the development of Denver, including bringing the railroad to the young town and founding the Colorado Seminary, which became the University of Denver.  Evans is also remembered for being disgraced by his role in the Sand Creek Massacre and his subsequent resignation as governor.

Originally from Ohio, Evans was a medical doctor who, after moving to Chicago, quickly rose to the top ranks of his field.  He helped found Chicago's Mercy Hospital and Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois, home of Northwestern, is named for him), founded the Illinois Medical Society, taught at Rush Medical College, and made several innovations in the field of obstetrics.  In addition to his medical work, Evans also invested in railroads, which brought him wealth.  Evans used his wealth to involve himself in Republican politics and became an avid supporter of Abraham Lincoln.  The President showed his gratitude by offering Evans the governorship of Washington Territory, which Evans declined; however, Evans accepted when Lincoln offered Colorado Territory a year later.  Evans served as territorial governor from 1862 to 1865.

In Colorado Evans continued his interest in railroads, using his influence to encourage the railroad builders to build to Denver, ensuring that the city would thrive.  He also worked with William N. Byers and others to encourage settlement in Colorado.  A devout Methodist, Evans got to know Colonel John Chivington, a Methodist minister, through their work in establishing the Colorado Seminary, which was founded in March 1864.  That summer, Indian attacks on white settlers and transportation systems caused many to call for their governor to do something to protect civilians.  Evans failed to create policy that would bring peace, so in November 1864, while Evans was away in Washington, D.C., Col. Chivington and his Colorado Volunteers attacked a peaceful camp of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians at Sand Creek.  Because most of the victims of the massacre were women, children, and the elderly, Coloradans and Congress alike were indignant, and Governor Evans was forced to resign.*

Although Evans' political career had ended, his influence in Colorado had not, and until his death in 1897 he continued to be recognized as one of Denver's leading citizens.  He was responsible for finding the financing to bring the Union Pacific Railroad from Cheyenne to Denver in 1870 (Cheyenne being on the Transcontinental Railroad) and continued to serve on the Board of Trustees for both Colorado Seminary and Northwestern University until his death.  Today, Mount Evans, Denver's Evans Avenue, and the city of Evans, Colorado are all named for the governor.  Evans' children were also important in Denver's history.  William G. Evans ran the Denver Tramway Company, Anne Evans helped to found the Denver Art Museum and the Central City Opera, and Josephine Evans married a later Colorado governor, Samuel Elbert.

In our library you can find many resources about Governor Evans, the Evans family, and the Sand Creek Massacre.  There is a lengthy bio starting on page 10 in Volume 4 of the Colorado Historical Society's 1927 History of Colorado.  Also, Colorado: A History of the Centennial State (University Press of Colorado, 2005), which can be checked out from our library, covers Evans in depth, particularly regarding his financing of the railroad.  Evans is also profiled in several Colorado Magazine and Colorado Heritage articles:
  • Regarding Evans' influence on the railroads, see articles in the Spring 1973 issue.
  • For articles on Sand Creek, see the Fall 1964 and Fall 1968 issues. 
  • To learn about Evans' role in an early bid for statehood, see the January 1931 issue.
  • For biographies of the two Evans first ladies -- Evans' wife, Margaret, and daughter Josephine Evans Elbert -- see the January 1962 and October 1962 issues, respectively.
  • Issue 4, 1989 of Colorado Heritage explores the history of the Byers and Evans families upon the opening of the Byers-Evans House as a museum.  Governor Evans did not live in the 1883 house, but it was home to his descendants.  
Finally, Evans' gubernatorial records and a short bio are available from Colorado State Archives.

*In 2014 Northwestern University, which Evans had founded, undertook a study to determine Evans' role in the massacre.  The study concluded that while "no known evidence indicates that John Evans helped plan the Sand Creek Massacre or had any knowledge of it in advance," Evans "nonetheless was one of several individuals who, in serving a flawed and poorly implemented federal Indian policy, helped create a situation that made the Sand Creek Massacre possible."  The study continued that after the massacre Evans tried to rationalize and even defend it; and "his recollections of the event displayed complete indifference to the suffering inflicted on Cheyennes and Arapahos."  Therefore, the University concluded that its founder "deserves institutional recognition for his central and indispensable contributions to the establishment of Northwestern and its development through its early decades, but the University has ignored his significant moral failures before and after Sand Creek.  This oversight goes against the fundamental purposes of a university and Northwestern’s own best traditions, and it should be corrected."     


Time Machine Tuesday: Education in Early Colorado

What was the first school organized in Colorado, and who was the first teacher?  Where was the first schoolhouse?  What was Colorado's first taxpayer-supported public school system?   These and many other questions about Colorado's early education system can be answered in chapter 22 of the five-volume History of Colorado, 1927, available online from our library.  The education chapter begins on page 1149 of Volume 3

This publication, published by the State Historical and Natural History Society of Colorado (today known as History Colorado), was edited by their well-known historian LeRoy Hafen along with University of Colorado President Emeritus George Baker; individual chapters were contributed by subject-matter experts.  The education chapter is written by Thomas J. Mahan, an education professor at the State Teacher's College (today's University of Northern Colorado in Greeley).  Mahan's previous experience included serving as a school principal in Leadville and as a high school teacher in the Philippines.  (Volumes 4 and 5 include short biographies on hundreds of Coloradans, so if you're researching a Colorado notable from prior to 1927, History of Colorado is a good place to start.  Mahan's bio is on page 229 of Volume 5).

So what were Colorado's education firsts?  Mahan first reminds us that long before whites had established formal schools, the American Indians who inhabited the region had their own system of education and training.  However, regarding formalized (white) education systems, Colorado's first official teacher is considered to be Owen J. Goldrick, who established the first school on October 3, 1859, in the town of Auraria (now part of Denver).  Known as Union School, it did not have its own building, but rather the students met in "the room lately occupied by Colonel Inslee."  The first school to have a building constructed specifically for the purposes of education was not in Denver, but in Boulder.  In the summer of 1860, Boulder was a little town consisting of a handful of cabins and two general stores.  When a trained teacher, Abner Brown, arrived in town, he inquired about the number of children in the town and found it to be around forty, enough to start a school.  With the help of local residents, Brown constructed a cabin for a schoolhouse, and built the desks and furnishings, as well.  The little school served the community until 1872, when a larger building was needed.

Schoolhouse built by Abner Brown in 1860, from History of Colorado, volume 3.
Goldrick's, Brown's, and other early schools were funded by subscription, meaning they were paid for by the families of the students, while sometimes supplemented by voluntary contributions from community members.  The first taxpayer-funded public school system, however, was established in 1862.  That year, two public school districts were formed in Denver, one in East Denver known as District One, and one in West Denver known as District Two.  Each district had its own elected board.  Mahan's chapter quotes the Rocky Mountain News, which on December 16, 1862 reported that "'our public schools are now in successful operation.'"  (Today, Denver Public Schools are a single citywide system with one school board.)

You can find many more resources on the history of Colorado education by searching our library's online catalog.  In addition to Mahan's history, be sure to view the annual/biennial reports of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, which our library has digitized for 1874 through 1964.  

This photo collage from History of Colorado, volume 3, shows the various school buildings in Colorado prior to 1876, the year Colorado became a state.


Colorado Coal Resources

Coal is one of Colorado's most significant mineral resources, and over the years has played an important part in our state's history and economy.  You can learn about Colorado coal in numerous publications available from our library.  Some highlights from our collection include

General resources:


Inactive/abandoned mines:

Industry information:

  • The Archaeology of Class War:  The Colorado Coafield Strike of 1913-1914, 2009
  • Coal People:  Life in Southern Colorado's Company Towns, 1890-1930, 1999
  • From Redstone to Ludlow:  John Cleveland Osgood's Struggle Against the United Mine Workers of America, 2009
  • The Great Coafield War, 2009
  • High Altitude Energy:  A History of Fossil Fuels in Colorado, 2002
  • Industrializing the Rockies:  Growth, Competition, and Turmoil in the Coalfields of Colorado and Wyoming, 1868-1914, 2003
  • "Remember Ludlow!", 1999
  • Routt and Moffat Counties, Colorado, Coal Mining Historic Context, 1991
  • When Coal Was King:  A History of Crested Butte, Colorado, 1880-1952, 1999


Safety and inspection:




All About Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak as seen from Garden of the Gods.  Photo courtesy Colorado Tourism Office.
Without a doubt, it's Colorado's most famous mountain.  And while it's neither the tallest mountain in Colorado nor the most difficult to scale, Pikes Peak is famous for its visibility from the plains, its use as a symbol of the 1859 Colorado Gold Rush, and for the legendary explorer for whom it is named.

Zebulon Montgomery Pike, a U.S. Army soldier, arrived in present-day Colorado in 1806 to explore the lands that were now a part of the United States as a result of the Louisiana Purchase.  Pike and his men were assigned to search out the source of the Arkansas River.  While on this expedition, Pike spotted what he described as a "small blue cloud" in the distance.  This "cloud" turned out to be the peak that would be named in his honor.  Pike and his men wintered in the area at what came to be known as Pike's Stockade, and during the long winter Pike set out to explore the peak that had captured his interest.  Perhaps due to the heavy snows, Pike never did climb his peak; fourteen years later, a member of Stephen Long's Expedition named Edwin James became to be the first to climb it, so the mountain became known as James Peak for a time.*  However, when settlers began pouring into Colorado in the 1850s in search of gold, the mountain was renamed for its early admirer and became a symbol of the Gold Rush.  In fact, "Pike's Peak or Bust" became the rallying cry for the gold seekers.

According to official rankings, Pikes Peak is Colorado's 30th highest mountain, at 14,110 feet.  Colorado has 53 "fourteeners."  The spelling of the name can be confusing.  Since 1890 Pikes Peak has officially been spelled without the possessive apostrophe.  The U.S. Board of Geographic Names has removed nearly all apostrophes from place names for uniformity and ease of signage.  Colorado's Longs Peak also lacks the apostrophe.

Pikes Peak is also a major tourist attraction.  Visitors not only can hike up the mountain, but also have the option of driving up or taking the famous Pikes Peak Cog Railway.  Pikes Peak and nearby mining towns also make up the Gold Belt Tour Scenic & Historic Byway.

In our library you can find many resources relating to the history, geology, and biology of Pikes Peak.  Resources listed below without hyperlinks can be checked out in print.

For biographical resources on Zebulon Pike, see the following:
For resources on the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, see
To learn about the natural resources of Pikes Peak the surrounding area see
For resources on Pike's Stockade, see
For other historical information, see
  • History of Colorado, by LeRoy R. Hafen, State Historical and Natural History Society, 1927.
  • "The Naming of Pike's Peak," by Raymond Calhoun, Colorado Magazine, April 1954.
  • "Through a Glass Sharply:  Edwin James and the First Recorded Ascent of Pikes Peak, July 13-15, 1820," by Phil Carson.  Essays and Monographs in Colorado History, n. 14, 1994.
Additionally, mini-biographies of Zebulon Pike, Julia Archibald Holmes (first woman to summit Pikes Peak), and Daniel Cheesman Oakes (goldseeker and Pikes Peak guidebook author), are available from Colorado Virtual Library.  Also be sure to check the Colorado Encyclopedia for articles.

*The Arapaho Indians called it Long Mountain, and Spanish explorers knew it as El Capitán.

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