10/17/2017

Time Machine Tuesday: Financing Public Schools in the Early 20th Century

In 1917, it cost a yearly average of $69.00 per pupil to educate Colorado's public school students.  A century later, that number is up to $9,363 per pupil, according to statistics from the Colorado Department of Education

A wealth of statistics on the funding of Colorado public schools in the early decades of the twentieth century, such as the 1917 figure above, can be found in the 1930 publication Cost of Public Education from Viewpoint of Agriculture in Larimer County, ColoradoThis report, published by the Colorado Agricultural College (now CSU)'s Agricultural Experiment Station, is available online from our library.  Although the focus of the report is on Larimer County, and especially on how public school taxes affected farmers -- who in 1930 were already suffering the effects of the Depression and the Dust Bowl -- the report provides many statistical comparisons with the state as a whole, so this report can be very useful to researchers beyond just those looking at farm economics or at Larimer County. 

For researchers studying Colorado education history, this report is also useful to compare against other state reports.  G. S. Klemmedson, the author of the 1930 report, notes that in his research he "found many errors in published records and even in the original records which were used as a basis of study.  This was especially true of bonded indebtedness and tax levy figures. Information obtained from the State Superintendent of Schools did not agree with figures obtained from the Colorado State Tax Commission or with those obtained from the State Board of Immigration." Therefore, this publication is helpful in reconciling the figures presented by the other agencies, whose reports you can also find in our library.  These include the Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; the Annual Report of the Colorado Tax Commission; and the State Board of Immigration's Year Book of the State of Colorado.



Examples of some of the statistical diagrams in the 1930 Cost of Education report.

10/16/2017

Keeping Kids Safe on the Road

This week is both National Teen Driver Safety Week and National School Bus Safety Week.  Our library has many resources that can help you learn about and bring attention to both of these important causes.

Teen drivers:

 
School buses:



Search our library's web catalog for more resources.

10/12/2017

Dial 511 for Road Conditions

Winter driving season has arrived!  The Colorado Department of Transportation offers several services to help you be prepared and aware of road closures and weather conditions.  Log on to cotrip.org, or simply dial 511 from anywhere in Colorado.  511 works with both cell phones and land lines.  You can also sign up for email or text alerts from CDOT, or download the CDOT mobile app.



10/10/2017

Time Machine Tuesday: An Economic Profile of Denver in 1974

Recently the Denver metro area has been experiencing unprecedented economic activity and growth, with hundreds of people moving here each month, new businesses coming to the area, and housing prices skyrocketing.  How does this compare with the Denver of the 1970s?

In 1970, the Business School at the University of Colorado established the Denver Urban Observatory "to perform urban research." Four years later they issued a major study, The Economic Base of Denver: Implications for Denver's Fiscal Future and Administrative Policy.  "A primary purpose of this research," states the report, "is to provide the Denver Mayor with an appraisal of policy alternatives applicable to future regional development in the city and county."  Statistics and analysis on population growth, business and employment, taxation, land use, and housing prices  provide insight on the city's growth.  (In 1970, the Denver metropolitan area's median housing value was just $23,058!).  The report also examines the process of attracting and locating industry in Denver -- once again a hot topic.

The findings of the 1974 study can teach us some valuable lessons and provide perspective on the economic development of Denver in the past, today, and in the future.  The study authors conclude that "in the final analysis the city does have a choice, however. It can govern the city more or less passively letting private market forces largely determine its socio-economic and financial fate. Or it can govern actively, using the policy tools at its disposal to shape and form the economic base to conform to its view of what the city should be." This report is an excellent resource for policymakers, economists, and journalists to use in researching the history of Denver's growth and economic development.

Blocks and blocks of downtown Denver were demolished in the name of economic development in the 1970s as part of the Skyline Urban Renewal Project. This view shows construction at 18th and Arapahoe in 1979. Courtesy Denver Public Library Western History Department.

10/09/2017

Educator Talent

The Colorado Department of Education recently reorganized all of its educator services into a new unit called Educator Talent.  This unit now has a website that contains a wealth of information on the teaching profession in Colorado, including resources on the educator shortage; licensing; performance management; educator preparation programs; resources for districts and BOCES; and much more.  Check out the Department's new Educator Talent webpage today.  For reports and publications, search our library's online catalog.


10/05/2017

Protect Your Investments

Whether you are just getting started in the world of investing, or are looking to protect the investments you have, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) has established a website that provides a "wealth" of consumer information on how to manage and protect your investments.

Money: Safeguard Your Hard-Earned Assets includes many consumer tips on money management as well as how to protect yourself from fraud and scams.  The site provides a link to DORA's Investor Education site, where you can find consumer alerts, FAQs, and helpful links.  You can also learn about DORA's $ecure Colorado for Seniors initiative, a program designed "to help prevent financial fraud against senior citizens."  The webpage for this program includes printable brochures, powerpoints, and a link to request a live presentation from a DORA staff member at your senior center, library, or other community facility or group.

Be sure to check out the other Ask DORA webpages as well, providing consumer education on insurance, home repair, civil rights, utilities, and licensing.


10/03/2017

Time Machine Tuesday: The Lost Town of Caribou, Colorado

It can't really be called a ghost town, because there's almost nothing left to mark the location of Caribou, Colorado, a silver mining town once located in Boulder County near Nederland.  Yet despite being nearly forgotten, the town of Caribou and its associated silver mines were a shining example of the boom-and-bust cycle of the mining West.

The silver mines at Caribou were established in 1869 and by the following year a townsite had been platted.  It was a cold, windy place to live, but nonetheless the miners and their families made it their home.  Historian Duane A. Smith, in his highly readable Silver Saga: The Story of Caribou, Colorado, points out that the people of Caribou were civil and law-abiding; this was no rowdy Leadville or Deadwood.  Many of Caribou's inhabitants were families, and the schoolhouse was one of the town's most prominent and recognizable buildings.  A significant number of Caribou residents were Cornish miners who brought their mining and cultural traditions from their native Cornwall in Britain.

The silver mines that gave rise to the town were initially very productive, but as time went on, the best ore was tapped out.  A host of well-known individuals were associated with the ownership of the Caribou mines, including Jerome Chaffee and David Moffat.  One longtime owner was New York financier R. G. Dun, best known today as the Dun of Dun & Bradstreet.  By the time Dun died in 1900, he had experienced major financial losses from the mine.  The mine had already been decreasing in production by the time of the Silver Crash in 1893, and several times over the years it had been closed and re-opened.  Financial problems, water issues, and low-grade ore all contributed to the mines' performing less than expected.

Caribou's population, at its height in the mid-1870s, steadily dwindled as the decades passed.  In the mid-1880s, several especially hard winters and even an earthquake challenged the residents' resolve.  After the 1893 panic, even more residents left.  Finally, in 1905, a major fire destroyed most of the town's buildings, and the few that remained were abandoned.  The high winds and heavy snows eventually toppled these few reminders that a thriving town had once been there.
 
Even though the town was gone, mining at Caribou wasn't completely dead.  The Biennial Report of the Bureau of Mines of the State of Colorado for 1917-18 reported that "in the Caribou mining district there has been a great revival in 1918."  Apparently this "revival" didn't last long, and there wouldn't be another one for several decades.  The 1952 report noted that "Boulder County's production of silver, the largest since 1917, came mostly from the Consolidated Caribou Mines, Incorporated."  The district saw a second, smaller revival in the 1970s when a gold mine was opened but, in keeping with its history, troubles still plague the mine today.

 Smith's Silver Saga, which can be checked out from our library, tells the whole story of the ups and downs of the mine and the town.  Ghost town enthusiasts should also read Waldo R. Wedel's "Visit to Caribou, 1963," in the Summer 1964 issue of Colorado Magazine.  In the 54 years that have since passed, very little of what Wedel describes can still be found.  And while human inhabitants may have long since left the area, Caribou is still home to a number of species of rare plants and animals, as detailed in a 1999 report from Colorado State University's Natural Heritage Program and Boulder Open Space.    

The town of Caribou, Colorado circa 1880s.  Courtesy Denver Public Library.

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