BRIEF HISTORY OF COLORADO


The following chronology describes events of Colorado's prehistory, early history and events up to WWII. It is excerpted from archival records of the State Planning Commission's Colorado Year Book, 1959-1961. Much of this information was obtained from the Colorado State Archives and the Denver Rocky Mountain News.

A.D. 1 to 1299 A.D

Advent of great Prehistoric Cliff Dwelling Civilization in the Mesa Verde region.

1276 to 1299
A great drought and/or pressure from nomadic tribes forced the Cliff Dwellers to abandon their Mesa Verde homes.

1541
Coronado, famed Spanish explorer, may have crossed the southeastern corner of present Colorado on his return march to Mexico after vain hunt for the golden Seven Cities of Cebolla.

1682
Explorer La Salle appropriates for France all of the area now known as Colorado east of the Rocky Mountains.

1724
Bourgmant explores Colorado Area.

1765
Juan Maria Rivera leads Spanish expedition into San Juan and Sangre de Cristo Mountains in search of gold and silver.

1776
Friars Escalante and Dominguez seeking route from Santa Fe to California missions, traverse what is now western Colorado as far north as the White River in Rio Blanco County.

1803
Through the Louisiana Purchase, signed by President Thomas Jefferson, the United States acquires a vast area which included what is now most of eastern Colorado.

1806
Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike and small party of U.S. soldiers sent to explore southwestern boundary of Louisiana Purchase; discovers peak that bears his name, but fails in effort to climb it; reaches headwaters of Arkansas River near Leadville.

1807
Pike crosses Sangre de Cristo Mountains to Conejos River in San Luis Valley and builds Pike's Stockade; placed under nominal arrest by Spanish authorities and taken to Santa Fe; later, he and his men are released.
James Purcell, another early explorer advises Pike that gold flakes exist in Colorado mountain streams.

1811
Ezra Williams, a Missourian, leads an expedition of 19 men to Colorado to trap beaver. Half of this expedition crossed the Continental Divide and were never heard from again. Williams and two other members of his party were captured by Arapahoe Indians and held hostage for two years before escaping.

1820
Major Stephen H. Long is sent by President Monroe to explore southwestern boundary of the Louisiana Purchase. Long's party came up the South Platte River. Long's Peak named for him. Dr. Edwin James, historian of Long's expedition, leads first recorded ascent of Pike's Peak. James Peak, west of Denver, named for him. Long dubs Colorado "The Great American Desert".

1825
Opening of era of fur-traders, trappers and Mountain Men - Bent brothers, Ceran St.Vrain, Louis Vasquez, Kit Carson, Jim Baker, James Bridger, Thomas Fitzpatrick, "Uncle Dick" Wooten, and Jim Beckworth - who established posts in Arkansas and South Platte Valleys.

1832
Bent's Fort, one of the most important trading posts in the West, is built by the Bents and St. Vrain near present city of La Junta.

1839
Farnham's Oregon Dragoons, led by Thomas Jefferson Farnham, arrived in Colorado in 1839 from Peoria, Illinois. Five men from this group, Farnham (originally from Vermont), Obadiah Oakley, Sidney Smith, and William Blair made it to Summit County, along with their guide, a blacksmith from Kentucky named Kelley.

1836
Texas becomes independent republic and claims narrow strip of mountain territory extending northward through Colorado to 42nd parallel.

Early 1840's
Mexico granted lands to the wealthy, south of the Arkansas Valley and in the San Luis Valley hoping to secure claims against Texas or America.

1842
A tourist named Rufus B. Sage travels to South Park and writes a book about his travels.
Lieutenant John C. Fremont undertakes first of his five exploration trips into Rocky Mountains. His last expedition, in 1853, took him through the San Luis Valley and into the Gunnison River country. These expeditions were done for the Army Corp of Topographical Engineers and the party contained 40 men, including a negro and cartographer, Charles Preuss.

1846
General Stephen W. Kearney leads Army of the West along Santa Fe Trail through southeastern Colorado en route to conquest of New Mexico during Mexican War.

1848
By Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico cedes to United Staes most of that part of Colorado not acquired by Louisiana Purchase.

1850
Federal Government purchases Texas' claims in Colorado, and present boundaries of Colorado established.

1851
First permanent settlement in Colorado is founded at San Luis on June 21, 1851, the date of the annual Fiesta de San Luis. In true Catholic tradition, the village was named after the saint.
Fort Massachusetts established in San Luis Valley to protect settlers from Indians.

1852
Culebra - First decreed irrigation ditch dug. It is recorded as the "San Luis People's Ditch" with the water decree being dated April 10, 1852, the date the water referee determined the actual digging and use of the ditch began.

1853
Captain John W. Gunnison leads exploring party across southern and western Colorado. Gunnison named for him. Fremont's last expedition, seeking feasible railroad route through mountains, follows Gunnison's route.

1854
Utes kill fifteen inhabitants of Fort Pueblo on Christmas Day.

1855
Avid hunter, Sir St. George Gore, the Eighth Baronet of Manor Gore, County Donegal, Ireland, arrives on a hunting expedition in 1855, bringing an entourage of 40 guides, cooks, valets, and servants.

1857
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Colorado's first church, is built in Conejos.

1858
Green Russell's discovery of small placer gold deposits near confluence of South Platte River and Cherry Creek, precipitates gold rush from the East and "Pikes Peak or Bust" slogan.
Montana City, St. Charles, Auraria, and Denver City are founded on present site of Denver. November 6, two hundred men meet here to organize County of Arapahoe, Kansas Territory.
Pueblo founded as Fountain City.

1859
Gold is found by George A. Jackson along Chicago Creek on present site of Idaho Springs.
March 9, first stagecoach with mail for Cherry Creek settlements leaves Leavenworth, Kansas.
April 23, first newspaper in the region, the Rocky Mountain News, is published by William N. Byers.
May 6, John Gregory makes famous gold-lode strike on North Clear Creek, stimulating rush of prospectors, who establish camps of Black Hawk, Central City and Nevadaville.
October 3, O.J. Goldrick opens first school, at Auraria.
Jefferson Territory is organized without sanction of Congress to govern gold camps; officers are elected.
Prospectors spread through mountains and establish camps at Boulder, Colorado City, Gold Hill, Hamilton, Tarryall, and Pueblo.
On 10 August 1859 Reuben J Spalding discovers gold on the Blue River near present-day Breckenridge.
Oil is discovered at Oil Springs, 6 miles north of Canon City in Fremont County. This oil was not commercially produced until 1882.

1860
Rich placer discoveries cause stampede of miners to California Gulch on present site of Leadville.
First schoolhouse is built at Boulder.
Region continues to be administered variously by Jefferson Territory officials, and Miners' and People's Courts.

1861
Congress establishes Colorado Territory with boundaries of present state;
President Lincoln appoints William Gilpin as first Territorial governor.
July, Supreme Court is organized and Congressional delegates chosen.
September, first assembly meets, creates 17 counties, authorizes university, and selects Colorado City as Territorial capitol.
Manufacture of mining machinery begins.
The population of the Colorado Territory is 25,371.

1862
Colorado troops aid in defeating Confederate General Henry H. Sibley's Army at La Glorieta Pass, New Mexico.
Second Territorial Legislature meets for a few days at Colorado City, adjourns to Denver, and selects Golden as the new capitol.
First tax-supported schools are established.
First oil well drilled near Florence.
John Evans becomes Colorado's 2nd territorial Governor.
The early homesteaders were given 160 acres apiece of select land under the Homestead Act of 1862, which was designed to create a network of small, independent farmers.

1863
Telegraph line links Denver with East; ten words to New York cost $9.10. Plains Indians attempt to drive white intruders from their hunting lands on the Eastern slopes.
A massive blaze destroyed many Denver homes.

1864
Denver is hit by a devastating flood.
Col. John L. Chivington leads the Sand Creek Massacre of 163 peaceful Indians, mostly women and children. This stirs Indians to fresh violence and overland trails are often closed.
Colorado Seminary (now University of Denver) is chartered; Sisters of Loretto open academy.
Fort Sedgwick is established near Julesburg.
Camp Collins established to protect travelers on Overland Trail. Later became Fort Collins.

1865
Indian attacks along trails reach highest intensity; food is scarce and prices high; potatoes bring $15 a bushel and flour costs $40 per 100 pounds.
Fort Morgan established for protection against Indians.
Col. Albert Pfeiffer, a scout for Kit Carson, homesteaded near the sulfur-laden thermal features at Pagosa Springs near Durango and became the local Indian agent. Pagosa, in Ute, translates roughly as "stinking." When the Utes were herded onto reservations in 1881, Pfeiffer claimed they "gave" him the springs, and he developed the area's first resort.

1867
Denver established as permanent seat of government by territorial legislature meeting in Golden.
Golden Transcript Newspaper established by George West.

1868
Nathaniel Hill erects first smelter in Colorado, at Blackhawk, inaugurating era of hard- rock mining.
Cheyenne Indians disastrously defeated at Beecher Island near present site of Wray. The Pueblo Chieftain Newspaper established by Dr. M. Beshoar at Pueblo.

1869
The final military engagement between whites and plains Indians in the eastern part of the territory took place at Summit Springs.

1870
Denver and Pacific Railroad is constructed to connect Denver with Union Pacific at Cheyenne, Wyoming; the Kansas Pacific enters Colorado from Missouri River.
Union Colony is established by Horace Greeley and Nathan C. Meeker at Greeley, and first irrigation canal surveyed there. The Greeley Tribune established.
Population of Colorado territory 39,864.

1871
Colorado Springs is founded by General William J. Palmer.
Denver and Rio Grande Railroad is built southward from Denver by Palmer.
Colorado School of Mines established at Golden.

1872
Blackhawk and Central City are connected with Denver by railroad; Denver and Rio Grande reaches Pueblo.
Agricultural settlements established throughout South Platte Valley.
Out West, later the Colorado Springs Gazette, was established.
This year signals an end to the major use of the "Mountain Branch" of the Santa Fe Trail.


1874
Alferd Packer and a group of 5 other prospectors become lost in the snowy San Juan mountains near Lake City. The only survivor was Alferd Packer, who later signed a confession of cannibalism.
Colorado College is founded at Colorado Springs; territorial legislature appropriates $15,00 for University of Colorado at Boulder, on condition that equal sum is raised by that city.
W.H. Jackson, famous photographer of the Hayden Geological Survey, notes ruins of ancient cliff dwellings along the canyon on Mancos River.
The Great Locust Mystery....Its sky-blackening swarms hold a place in The Guinness Book of World Records under the heading ``greatest concentration of animals.'' A swarm of Rocky Mountain locusts that flew over Nebraska on July 20-30, 1874, covered an area estimated at 198,000 square miles (almost twice the size of Colorado),'' the entry reads. ``The swarm must have contained at least 12.5 trillion insects with a total weight of 27.5 million tons.'' And then, in the space of 20 years, it disappeared - the first pest ever driven to extinction. North America is now the only continent that does not have locusts.

1875
Lead carbonate ores, rich in silver, are found near present site of Leadville. Constitutional Convention of 38 members holds first meeting.

1876
Colorado is admitted to Union as 38th State;
John L. Routt is elected first governor. Greeley's first industry, the tanning of buffalo hides, turns out 12 robes a day.
Hattie Byers, mistress of the Rocky Mtn News editor, William Byers, attempts to shoot him in front of his home and wife.

1877
University of Colorado opens classes at Boulder, with two teachers and 44 students. State Board of Agriculture is created to develop Agricultural College at Fort Collins.

1878
Leadville is incorporated; rich silver strikes on Iron, Carbonate, and Fryer hills soon make is one of the world's greatest mining camps.
Central City opera house opens.
First telephones are installed in Denver.

1879
Frederick O. Vaille opens Denver Telephone Dispatch Co., the 17th telephone exchange in the nation. A toll line connectiong Denver to Golden, Idaho Springs, Central City, Black Hawk and Georgetown is built.
Gold discovered on Independence Pass between Leadville and Aspen.
Colorado College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts offers instruction at Fort Collins.
Nathan C. Meeker, Indian Agent on White River (near Meeker) and several employees are slain in Ute uprising. Major Thornburg and half of his command of 160 soldiers killed in effort to give protection to Meeker. Utes defeated.

1880
Telephone exchanges open in Boulder, Colorado Springs and Pueblo.
Denver & Rio Grande lays tracks through Royal Gorge and on to Leadville. Great Ute Chief, Ouray, dies. Dry land farming undertaken extensively in eastern Colorado. Population of Colorado, 194,327.
At the request of farmers and ranchers the government begins hunting down thousands of wolves. By 1943 the gray wolf is extinct in Colorado.
Ute City (now known as Aspen) was founded in the Roaring Fork Valley of Pitkin County.

1881
Ute tribes are removed onto reservations.
Grand Junction is founded.
Small quantities of carnotite are found in western Colorado along with gold; later, this mineral is found to contain radium.
Tabor Opera House opens in Denver, built by H.A.W. Tabor, famous Leadville capitalist.

1882
Steel is milled in Pueblo from Colorado ores. Company later becomes Colorado Fuel and Iron Company.

1883
Narrow gauge line of Denver & Rio Grange is completed from Gunnison to Grand Junction. First electric lights are installed in Denver.
Isaac Cooper founds the town of Defiance, which is later transformed into the renowned hot springs and spa and renamed Glenwood Springs.

1886
The Steamboat Pilot established at Steamboat Springs. Charles H.Leckenby becomes owner and publisher, 1893.
Denver Union Stockyards are established, later becoming largest receiving market for sheep in the nation.
Town of Lamar is founded.
The last public hanging in Denver occurred when Andrew Green was executed for the murder of streetcar driver, Joseph Whitnah.
The Gunnison County Norwegian Snow-Shoe Club is founded.

1887
Denver and Rio Grande Railroad reaches Glenwood Springs and Aspen, Colorado.
Doc Holliday, notorious gambler, gunslinger and dentist, dies WITHOUT his boots on, in bed in Glenwood Springs.

1888
Band of Utes from Utah under Colorow make last Indian raid into Colorado; they are defeated and returned to the reservation.
Union Colony at Greeley completes 900,000 acre irrigation project.
Cliff Palace ruins, in what is now Mesa Verde National Park, discovered by two cowboys, Richard Wetherill and his brother-in-law, Charles Mason, while looking for stray livestock.

1889
Denver-Leadville telephone line over 13,000 foot Mosquito Pass completed.

1890
Passage of Sherman Silver Purchase Act raises price of silver to more than $1.00 an ounce. New rich silver strikes are made along Rio Grande and Creede is founded.
July 4, cornerstone of State Capitol at Denver is laid.
October 3, first building of the State Normal School (now University of Northern Colorado) at Greeley is occupied.
Population of state, 413,249.
Number of telephones, 5,000.
Boulder Daily Camera Newspaper established by L.C. Paddock.

1891
Robert Womack's discoveries open great gold field of Cripple Creek.
First national forest reserve in Colorado is set aside - White River Forest in Meeker area.
Pike's Peak cog railroad begins operation.
Denver real estate tycoon Donald Fletcher founded a town on the western edge of Colorado's eastern plains and named it after himself. He ran out two years later, sticking the residents with bond payments for non-existent water. But the settlers stayed and changed the name from Fletcher to Aurora.

1892
The Denver Post established as a weekly newspaper.
N. C. Brown opens Brown Palace Hotel in Denver.
Davis H. Waite is elected Governor. He is later nicknamed "Bloody Bridles" after giving a speech against the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. One of his great grandsons becomes a pompous ass.

1893
Silver Crash. National panic brings great distress to Colorado. Repeal of Sherman Act strikes silver mining a paralyzing blow and adds to already acute unemployment problems.
Grand Junction Sentinel Newspaper established.
Katharine Lee Bates, the Wellesley College English professor, is inspired to write one of America's most enduring anthems, America, the Beautiful during her brief wagon trip to the top of Pikes Peak.

1894
State Capitol is completed at a cost of $2,500,000. Colorado is second state in the nation to extend suffrage to women, following the precedent set by Wyoming.
Denver and Creede's saloonkeeper/shyster Soapy Smith is run out of Colorado and moves to Skagway, Alaska.

1895
The Denver Post begins publishing daily. the paper is purchased by Harry Tammen and Frederick G. Bonfils.

1896
Leadville builds a fabulous Ice Palace. The 5 acre sculpture is closed on March 28, 1896 due to early chinook winds.

1898
Boulder sets aside land in 1898 for the Chautauqua Auditoriuma wooden auditorium and concert hall that today is one of the few chautauquas still in existence.

1899
First beet sugar refinery is built at Grand Junction.
Wolfe Londoner is elected mayor of Denver due to massive voting-fraud tactics. He is removed from office before his term ends.
Charles S. Thomas is Governor.

1900
Gold production reaches peak of more than $20,000,000 annually at Cripple Creek, the second richest gold camp in the world. Population of State, 539,700.

1902
Constitutional amendment permits towns of 2,000 to adopt "Home Rule"; Denver becomes home rule city.
Beet sugar refinery built at Fort Collins.
David H. Moffat and associates begin construction of Moffat Railroad over the Continental Divide. Completed to Steamboat Springs in 1980 and to Craig in 1913.
Car travel through Glenwood Canyon begins.

1903
Mine, mill and smelter workers strike in many camps for higher wages and better working conditions; at Cripple Creek, strike results in much property damage and loss of life; all strike objectives in gold field are lost.
Uncompahgre irrigation project, first federal government reclamation project in Colorado, is authorized.

1904
Harry Pritchard was attacked by a wild animal in the mountains north of Buena Vista in October. He described the animal as having the appearance of a huge orangutan, standing at least 6' high. A posse of hunters prepared to go into the mountains to capture the freak.

1905
Colorado has 3 governors in one day in a political squabble. First, Alva Adams, then James H. Peabody, and finally Jesse F. McDonald.
Construction of the six mile Gunnison water tunnel started by Bureau of Reclamation.

1906
United States Mint, Denver, issues first coins.
March 12, National Western Stock Show is born with chartering of Western Stock Show Association followin successful showing of about 60 head of cattle and horses and a few sheep and hogs in makeshift tent at Stockyards.
July 29, Mesa Verde National Park is created by Congress.

1907
With Ben B. Lindsey as Judge, Denver Juvenile Court opens - the first such court in the United States.

1908
Denver municipal Auditorium, seating 12,500, is completed in time for the Democratic National Convention, when William Jennings Bryan was nominated the third time for President.
August 1, Colorado Day is first celebrated, marking thirty-second anniversary of State's admittance to Union.
Dome of the State Capitol is plated with gold leaf at a cost of $14,680.

1909
Colorado attains first rank among states in irrigation area with 2,790,000 acres under irrigation.
Gunnison water tunnel completed by Reclamation Service and opened, on September 23, by President William Howard Taft at the tunnel site.
Western State Teachers College opens at Gunnison.

1910
Population of State, 799,024. Number of farms, 46,170.
Colorado voters adopt a constitutional amendment giving to the people the right of the initiative and referendum.
May 8, first long distance phone call made from Denver to New York City.
First airplane flight in Denver at Overland Park.
Oliver T. Jackson founds the all-black colony of Dearfield 25 miles southeast of Greeley. At its peak in 1921, Dearfield had about 700 people who owned land and livestock valued at about $950,000. For years, homes, a general store, restaurant, cannery, two churches, gas station and dance hall dotted the land. It later became a ghost town.

1911
Colorado National Monument west of Grand Junction, created by Presidential order. Denver-to-New York long distance telephone line complete. Number of telephones in Colorado, 160,000.
There was bitter conflict in northwestern Colorado, where sheep from Utah and Wyoming occasionally invaded cattle ranches. In December 1911, more than 100 sheep were killed on a ranch southeast of Craig, apparently to intimidate a rancher named George Woolley who planned to expand his sheep operation.
A shootout at the Brown Palace kills Tony Von Puhl and George Copeland. The shootout was the result of a love triangle between Isabelle "Sassy" Springer, her husband John Springer (owner of Highlands Ranch), and her 2 boyfriends Van Puhl and Harold Henwood.

1912
Construction of Denver's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is completed.

1913
State Tax Commission created by Legislature.
Assessed value of Colorado property for tax purposes set at $1,306,536,692.
The "Big Snow of 1913" covers Colorado to a depth of 3 - 5 feet; transportation paralyzed for weeks.
State begins licensing autos for the first time. Helen R. Robinson, R-Arapahoe County is sworn in as the first woman elected to serve in the state Senate.
Coal miners begin a strike in Southern Colorado marked by bloodshed and disorder.

1914
Strike of coal miners in southern Colorado fields is climaxed by "Battle of Ludlow" near Trinidad; On April 20 Federal troops open fire on the Ludlow coal mining camp. 17 are left dead, including 2 women and 11 children.
In August WWI begins.


1915
Worker's compensation measures are passsed:
State Industrial Commission is created.
Rocky Mountain National Park created by Congress, in response to a crusade by naturalist Enos Mills and others.
Toll road for auto travel to top of Pikes Peak built by Spencer Penrose.
Construction of Broadmoor Hotel at Colorado Springs started.

1916
Colorado adopts prohibition 4 years before the rest of the nation. 17,400 gallons of Coors beer is dumped into Clear Creek.
Emily Griffith Opportunity School is opened in Denver.
Mining of tungsten causes flurry in Boulder-Nederland area.

1917
On 6 April Congress declares war on Germany and many Coloradans volunteer for service.
Colorado reaches maximum mineral production, more then $80,000,000. William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, Famous Indian scout, dies and is buried on Lookout Mountain, west of Denver.

1918
Agricultural production increased sharply to aid war needs. Dry lands plowed up to produce wheat.
Colorado citizens purchase Liberty Bonds by the millions of dollars to help finance war. More than 125,000 Colorado men register for the draft for army service.
Fitzsimmons General Hospital established near Denver.
Coal production of state reaches new high of 12,500,000 tons.
Impetus of war stirs development of mining of molybdenum at Climax, near Leadville - the nation's greatest source of the metal.
Denver Tourist Bureau establishes free auto camp ground for tourists at Overland Park, Denver.
Other cities follow suit during the next few years.
Federal Reserve branch bank established in Denver.
Colorado voters approve constitutional amendment providing Civil Service for state employees.
November, 11, 1918, Germany surrenders.

1919
Post-war inflation brings higher prices to farmers and producers; prices of farm land high; wages high; boom times everywhere.
Colorado enacts tax of one cent per gallon on gasoline, for building of roads.
Monte Vista stages first Ski-Hi Stampede.

1920
Population of State, 939,629.
Employees of Denver Tramway company go on strike. Aroused by editorials in The Denver Post, strikers raid Post building and do much damage to property.

1921
General Assembly creates State Highway Department with seven man Advisory Board.
Colorado begins building concrete highways on main traveled routes.
Pueblo suffers disastrous flood in June; scores drowned and property damage amounts to $20,000,000.
Post war deflation sets in and decline in prices brings trouble in the rural areas. During the next several years, numerous banks serving farming areas close, price and farm lands decline sharply from levels reached in World War I, and farmers clamor for farm relief.
Between 1921 and 1925, the Ku Klux Klan flourished politically in Colorado, part of a national resurgence amid a time of social unrest after World War I. Both Denver mayor Benjamin Stapleton and Governor Clarence Morely are Klan members.

1922
Coloradans vote $6,000,000 in bonds for highway construction.
Moffat Tunnel Improvement District is created by General Assembly for construction of 6.4 mile bore under Continental Divide to provide better rail connections between Eastern and Western Slopes of the State.
First commerical radio license in Colorado is issued, to station KLZ.
Daring daylight hold-up of Federal Reserve bank truck is staged as it leaves U.S. Mint in Denver and $200,000 stolen. Robbery never solved.

1923
Oil discovered in Wellington field north of Fort Collins; flurry of oil stock promotion follows.

1924
On April 1924 Colorado is second state to ratify child labor amendment to federal Constitution.
Celebration held in Greeley marking completion of concrete pavement between Denver and Greeley - first two major cities in State to be connected by paved highways.
Ku Klux Klan secures domination of Republican party in Colorado and elects a pro-Klan Governor and U.S. Senator.

1925
Adams State Teachers College at Alamosa and junior colleges at Grand Junction and Trinidad are opened.
Federal Reserve Bank is established in Denver.

1926
Denver establishes air mail post office on route between Pueblo and Cheyenne.
Mrs. Virgil Massie dies; her husband is convicted of murder after investigation reveals her death resulted from arsenic.
Scripps Howard buys the Rocky Mtn News.

1927
State Senator Albert E Bogdon slain in Denver.
Six-mile Moffat Tunnel, first railroad bore under Continental Divide, is completed at cost of $18 million and 29 lives. A year later it is opened to passenger traffic. Today it carries skiers from Denver to Winter Park Ski Area.

1929
Denver Municipal Airport, later named for Mayor Benjamin Stapleton, opens.

1931
Population reaches over one million.

1932
Groswold Ski Co. founded in Denver by Thor Groswold, Marcellus Merrill and Ned Grant at East 38th Avenue and York Street. This company specialized in making handmade hickory skis and in 1934 moved to 1202 Shoshone Street.
Great Sand Dunes National Monument created.

1933
Black Canyon of the Gunnison set aside as a national monument.

1934
Denver Mint gets $3 billion in gold bullion from San Francisco.
Near Morrison, the Civilian Conservation Corp was turning scenic Red Rocks park into what would become one of the nation's great concert venues.
The Taylor Grazing Act became law, authorizes ranchers use of public lands for their herds and parceling the range into allotments and creating the modern Bureau of Land Management. The act, strongly supported by local, state and national stockmen's associations, finally stopped range warfare and solved some major public lands problems. But it did not reverse the degradation of rangelands. It did, however, produce small, stable western communities built on feeding, supplying and financing ranchers,

1935
Baby Doe Tabor, widow of mining tycoon Horace A.W. Tabor is found frozen to death at the Matchless Mine in Leadville.

1938
The Denver Motor Club, a popular hangout, burns down. Loretta Quinn of Denver wins the first state spelling bee.

1939
Denver's first federal housing project, Las Casitas, opens in north Denver.

1940
Winter Park trails are opened to skiers.

1941
Denver recruiting offices swamped by over 2,000 enlistments during the month of December. Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor prompts relocation of Japanese Americans to internment camps.

1942
Camp Amache, a Japanese-American internment camp, opens near Granada, Colorado with 7,000 detainees.
Camp Hale is established near Leadville to train ski troops.
Photographer William Henry Jackson, famous for his photo of Mount of the Holy Cross, dies in New York City.
Camp Carson is established at Colorado Springs.

1943
Colorado's last gray wolf is killed by a government trapper in Conejos County.

1948
Arapahoe Basin ski area opens in Summit County. This ski area is consistently the first to open and last to close each ski season.
Chicago industrialist Walter Paepcke and his wife, Elizabeth, begin transforming Aspen into a cultural and skiing resort.
Dr. Florence Sabin became city manager of health and charity, then chairwoman of a new Department of Health and Hospitals.

1949
Annual Triple Crown Burro Race begins. This competition runs from Fairplay to Leadville to Buena Vista.
The Attorney General drafts an anti-Communist bill.

1946
Urban mobile radio telephone service starts in Denver. First rural radio-telephone service in nation placed in Cheynne Wells to serve remote ranches.

1954
An 18,500 acre site north of Colorado Springs is selected for the United States Air Force Academy.

1955
President Dwight D. Eisenhower suffers a heart attack while on a vacation in Denver.

1956
Martin Marietta Corp. selects Jefferson County as site for a rocket-manufacturing plant, fueling Front Range growth.

1957
The United States and Canada agree to creat the North American Air Defense Command headquarters (NORAD). This site is located underneath Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs.

1958
The United States Air Force Academy, located just north of Colorado Springs, opens its doors to its first class. Interstate 25, known at the time as Valley Highway, completed through Denver metro area.
Colorado suffers from grasshopper plague and a special session of the Legislature is called to solve the problem.

1959
"Blue Line" law is enacted in Boulder to protect the city's mountain backdrop from development. The law denies city water service for homes above 5,750' in elevation.

1960
The Denver Broncos begin playing in the American Football League.

1961
43 Denver Police officers are arrested for safecracking and burglary in the largest scandal to sweep the Denver Police force.

1962
Mayors of Denver and Brest, France talk via Bell System's Telstar communications satellite.
Vail Ski Area opens.

1963
John A. Love becomes Governor.

1964
5.6 million tourist visit Colorado, primarily due to a growing number of ski resorts.

1965
14" of rain near Larkspur sends a 20' wall of water down the South Platte River. This flood caused $530 million in damages to Denver, prompting construction of the Chatfield Dam and Reservoir.

1966
NORAD combat operations center opens its headquarters in Colorado Springs, 1200 feet below Cheyenne Mountain.

1967
The Denver Rockets become Colorado's professional American Basketball Assn team. They are later renamed the Denver Nuggets.

1968
Interstate 70 opens through Mount Vernon Canyon.

1969
Jefferson City is incorporated out of the west suburbs of Denver. It is later renamed Lakewood.

1970
Denver sees its first 50-story building, One United Bank Center. Some historic buildings are destroyed for the Denver Urban Renewal Authority's Skyline Project, conceived in the 1960s.
Historic Denver Inc. is formed to save the Molly Brown house (The "Unsinkable Molly Brown" was a survivor of the Titanic) from demolition; the house is saved and turned into a museum.

1971
The White House Conference on Youth is held at Estes Park.

1972
Colorado voters reject hosting the 1976 Winter Olympics.
Denver exceeded the federal carbon monoxide standard 154 times during the peak year of 1972.

1973
The first bore of the Eisenhower Tunnel opens, connecting eastern and western Colorado via Interstate 70 under the Continental divide.

1974
The Denver Rockets are renamed the Denver Nuggets. Desegregation of Denver schools begins after thecourt orders busing of schoolchildren.
Health department officials were on the phone with the governor's office on Nov. 21, 1974, when carbon monoxide reached 70 parts per million -- the level at which the governor could halt all traffic and industry.

1975
Democrat Richard D. Lamm becomes Governor.

1976
Colorado celebrates its Centennial Anniversary.
A flash flood in Big Thompson Canyon kills 145 people.
French singer/actress Claudine Longet shoots and kills her Olympic skier boyfriend, Vladimir "Spider" Sabich, in Aspen. She is sentenced to 30 days in jail.

1977
Colorado's ski areas begin to install expensive snowmaking equipment after a severe drought causes $78 million in losses.

1980
Colorado building permits plunge 32%, parallelling a nationwide slump.
Times Mirror Co. buys the Denver Post from the Bonfils family for $95 million. The Rocky Mtn News claims the daily circulation lead.
After much study and discussion, construction of Interstate Highway I-70 through Glenwood Canyon begins.

1981
The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet visits Denver.

1982
In western Colorado, Exxon's decision to abandon the $5 billion Colony Project brought 2,200 layoffs and an exodus of other companies, including TOSCO (The Oil Shale Co.) and UNOCAL, which were involved in production of oil from shale. Between 1982 and 1988 half of Denver's 28,000 oil-related jobs are lost.
Construction commences on downtown Denver's "Cash Register Building".
A Christmas Eve blizzard paralyzes Denver with 24-36 inches of snow in the metro area.

1983
Federico Pena is elected mayor of Denver.
Rookie quarterback John Elway is traded to the Denver Broncos by the Baltimore Colts.

1984
Jewish radio talk show host Alan Berg is gunned down in his driveway.

1985
The Frying Pan-Arkansas Project is completed, to transfer water across the state.

1986
J. Francis Stafford becomes Colorado's new Roman Catholic archbishop, succeeding Archbishop James V. Casey. Stafford later becomes a cardinal.

1987
Denver's landmark retailer, The Denver Dry Goods Co., closes when it is acquired by the May Co., which also owns Colorado retailer May D&F.
MediaNews Group owners William Dean Singleton and Richard B Scudder purchase the Denver Post from Times Mirror for $95 million.

1988
Presidential candidate and Kittredge resident, Gary Hart sinks his run for the Presidency over a fling with Donna Rice and the yacht "Monkey Business".
Denver-based Silverado Savings and Loan fails, dramatizing wild overbuilding in the Denver and Colorado real estate market. Thousands of foreclosures and bankruptcies plague the state.

1989
Scientific Sleuthing, Inc. exhumes convicted cannibal Alferd Packer's victims to re-study the criminal evidence.
Sugarloaf Mountain, west of Boulder explodes, razing 44 homes and causing $10 million in damage. This fire, also known as the Black Tiger fire, is the first major fire in Colorado's populated Front Range.

1990
Voters approve small-stakes gambling in the historic gold mining towns of Central City, Blackhawk and Cripple Creek and the Ute Indian Reservations.
Olde State Road fire in rural Boulder County, started by a mentally ill man, destroys 10 homes and burns 2210 acres.

1991
Four high school students are charged with 2nd degree murder in beating of a Fort Carson soldier.
Governor Roy Romer takes control of Denver Classroom Assn negotiations, forbidding a strike under an obscure law empowering him to enter any labor dispute.

1992
Colorado is dubbed the "Hate State" when Colorado voters approved Amendment 2 on Nov. 3, 1992, changing the state constitution to prohibit laws aimed at protecting gays and lesbians against discrimination. Denver, Boulder and Aspen already had adopted such laws.
The dedication of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon in 1992 completed Colorado's interstate highway grid more than 30 years after construction started.
Colorado voters approve TABOR - the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights. TABOR took tax increases out of the hands of politicians at all levels of government and gave the decision to voters. Politicians could cut taxes; only voters could increase them. But TABOR also set spending limits. Increases were limited to inflation and local growth or population. If governments wanted more, they had to ask for voter approval.

1993
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers nixes plans for the Adam's Rib ski resort near Vail because developers would destroy 48 acres of wetlands. Vail's expansion is proceeding -- around protesters -- only after the Division of Wildlife and the Forest Service were satisfied that the plans minimized damage to wildlife.
I-70 is finally completed through Glenwood Canyon. This 18 mile stretch cost $500 million to build and has been dubbed the "Crowning Jewel of the Interstate System".

1994
The Regional Transportation District's light-rail system begins running in Denver.
6 July 1994 - Fourteen firefighters perish while fighting a forest fire on Storm King Mountain west of Glenwood Springs. These four women and ten men are remembered at a memorial on the site of Colorado's deadliest forest fire.

1995
Denver International Airport opens, replacing Stapleton Airport.
Coors Baseball Field opens.
Denver lands a National Hockey League franchise.
The 5430 acre Triangle fire near Edwards rages for a week, despite efforts of 500 firefighters.

1996
Denver's new hockey team, The Colorado Avalanche, wins the Stanley Cup.
Child beauty pageant star Jon-Benet Ramsey is found murdered on the morning after Christmas.
The Rocky Mtn News discontinues circulation in neighboring states and many outlying areas of Colorado.
Careless campers ignite the Buffalo Creek fire that scorches 12,000 acres and destroys 9 homes.
A lightening strike in Mesa Verde National Park dispatches flames across 4681 acres.

1997
The Oklahoma City bombing trials are held in Denver.

1998
The Denver Broncos win the Superbowl.
The Rocky Mtn News is renamed the Denver Rocky Mountain News.

1999
The Denver Broncos again win the Superbowl.
Bill Owens elected Governor.
12 students and 1 teacher of Columbine High School in Denver are murdered in the deadliest school shooting ever. 23 students are also wounded before the murderers commit suicide. The teenage gunmen also kill themselves.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison is declared a National Park by President Clinton.
San Luis Valley rancher proposes to build a tower "to watch for alien spaceships" in the San Luis Valley.
The lynx is reintroduced to Colorado.

2000
May 12 - after a century of newspaper battles, the Denver Post and the Denver Rocky Mountain News announce a joint operating agreement.
June 12 - The Hi Meadow fire ravages 10,800 acres and destroys 51 homes near Pine, to become Colorado's most destructive forest fire.
June 12 - The Bobcat fire blackens 10,600 acres and destroys 22 structures.
July 20 - The Bircher fire sweeps across 23,000 acres in Mesa Verde National Park and rages unabated for 10 days, threatening priceless Anasazi ruins.
November 7 - George Bush takes Colorado from Al Gore for the Presidency.



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