The Crash of 1893

The 1929 stock market crash wasn't the only crash to occur in late October; an earlier event sparked one of the worst economic disasters in Colorado history.  121 years ago today, the U.S. Sentate gave final approval for repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act.  Through repeal, the U.S. government would no longer purchase silver for coinage, moving to the gold standard. 

A silver mine in the Roaring Fork area.  Photograph courtesy United States Geological Survey.
The nation as a whole suffered a strong economic downturn during this period, but Colorado was hit especially hard because so much of the state's economy relied on silver mining.  Fabulous fortunes, like those of Horace Tabor, were lost, business slumped, and building and construction came to a halt for more than three years. (In fact, one can generally tell pre-Crash architecture from post-Crash because after building started to resume in the late 1890s, architects were desigining in simpler, neoclassical styles instead of the fussy excess of the Gilded Age.)
Even though Colorado was founded on the quest for gold, silver mining is an important part of our state's history.  Many of Colorado's towns were formed because of silver (think of the many town names that contain the word, like Silverton, Silverthorne, Silver Plume, Silver Creek, Silver Cliff), which was even more plentiful in Colorado than gold. 

You can find many resources on Colorado's silver mining heritage in our library.  Search our web catalog for titles; some highlights include:
  • The Quest for Gold and Silver: Including a History of the Interaction of Metals and Currency
  • The Rise of the Silver Queen:  Georgetown, Colorado, 1859-1896
  • Silver Saga:  The Story of Caribou, Colorado
  • Mining Among the Clouds
  • Aspen:  The History of a Silver Mining Town, 1879-1893
  • History of Leadville and Lake County, Colorado
  • The Trail of Gold and Silver: Mining in Colorado, 1859-2009
  • Silver in Colorado
  • Colorado Mining History Resource Guide
  • Mining History of Colorado
  • The Ballad of Baby Doe
  • Horace Tabor:  His Life and the Legend
  • The Tabor Story


Colorado State Hospital

The Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP), formerly known as the Colorado State Hospital, is celebrating its 135th anniversary this year.  (See the news story from the Colorado Department of Human Services.)  The institution was founded as the Colorado State Insane Asylum on October 23, 1879.  It grew from 12 patients that year to over 6,000 by the 1960s, according to the CMHIP's history page.  Today the population is around 500. 

You can find further historical information on the State Hospital at our library.  Helpful resources include:
  • Colorado State Hospital (1981)
  • Colorado State Hospital Decentralization Plan (1962)
  • Biennial Report (1919-1951) and Annual Report (1952-1962)
  • The Colorado State Hospital and Related Services for the Mentally Ill in Colorado:  A Survey Report (1958)

Photo courtesy Colorado Department of Human Services


2014 Election Information

Election day is Tuesday, November 4 -- just a week from tomorrow.  If you haven't voted yet, now is the time to have your say in this important election, where Colorado will be deciding its next Governor; U.S. Senator; U.S. Representatives; Colorado Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Treasurer; all Colorado House seats; and many Colorado Senate seats; as well as several significant ballot issues, the retention of many of Colorado's judges, and a number of local issues. 

There is still time to make your voice heard this election.  For the first time, Colorado is allowing same-day registration -- meaning you can register to vote on election day.  Also for the first time this year, all voting is by mail-in ballot.  (If you register too late to get a mail ballot, you can still vote at a polling location -- see the Colorado Secretary of State's www.GoVoteColorado.com page to find a polling place or to register online now).  For a summary of the new laws, as well as a calendar of important election-related dates, candidate information, and more, see the Colorado Secretary of State's 2014 Election Information homepage.



There are no cases of Ebola in Colorado, but the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment wants Coloradans to be aware of the threat and what they are doing to combat it.  They have launched a slogan "Facts, Not Fear" and have posted current information on a new Ebola webpage.  This page includes information and guidance for both the public and for health care providers.  It also links to information from the Centers for Disease Control.  Also found on the webpage are posters, webinars, and public service announcements that can be used to help educate the public on the recent Ebola scare. 


Genetically Modified Foods

One of the questions on this year's ballot concerns whether or not food should be labeled to state whether it contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  For the pros and cons of Proposition 105, see this year's Ballot Information Booklet (Blue Book).  Two fact sheets from Colorado State University offer background on the issue.  See Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods from the CSU Extension, and A Risk Perception Analysis of Genetically Modified Foods Based on Stated Preferences from CSU's Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.