8.30.2011

The Colorado Gold Rush.

Did you know it's believed that more people came to the Colorado Gold Rush than to the California Gold Rush? It's true. The Colorado Gold Rush was the boom in the prospecting and mining of gold in present-day Coloradoin the United States that began in 1859 (when the land was still in the Kansas Territory) and lasted through the early 1860's. It is still considered to be the largest gold rush in American history.Many people still believe, "There's gold in dem thar hills!" If you're one of them you should check out Gold Panning and Placering in Colorado - How and Where by Ben H. Parker Jr. This book was written for the Colorado Geological society and is available from the Colorado State Publications Library.

8.29.2011

Civil Rights

On today's date in 1957 the U.S. Senate passed the Civil Rights Act of 1957 after an attempt to kill the act by a famous filibuster by Strom Thurmond, which lasted 24 hours and 18 minutes, the longest conducted by a single Senator. The bill put into place important protections for voters rights.

Over fifty years later, defending civil rights is still a big issue in the United States. The Colorado Civil Rights Division works to protect individuals from discrimination in employment, housing, and at places of public accommodation. They have brochures on fair employment practices, a guide on avoiding questions which may be discriminatory when conducting an interview, information on housing discrimination, along with a consumer tip page on predatory lending.

8.25.2011

Female Suffrage

Did you know that tomorrow, August 26, is Women's Equality Day? This observance, celebrated on August 26 of each year, was first dedicated by Congress in 1971 . The day is specifically meant to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 which gave women the right to vote nationally. Colorado was the second state (after Wyoming) to give women the right to vote. In 1893, the question of allowing female suffrage was placed on the ballot and passed with 55% in favor (all voters deciding on women's fate being male, of course). Colorado was the first state to allow the people to vote on the question of women's suffrage. The question that appeared on the ballot first had to pass the State Legislature as a referred measure; you can see a digitized copy of the original Legislative bill here. You can read more about the Colorado womens' suffrage movement in the books The Gospel of Progressivism and Honest John Shafroth, available from our library. (John Shafroth was a U.S. Congressman and Colorado Governor who fought for women's suffrage).

8.23.2011

Colorado Economic Development Blueprint

Last month, Governor Hickenlooper and his staff introduced "The Colorado Blueprint: A Bottom-Up Approach to Economic Development," outlining the state's priorities for growing Colorado's economy. The plan provides outlined goals to 1) Build a business-friendly environment; 2) Recruit, grow and retain businesses; 3) Increase access to capital; 4) Create and market a stronger Colorado brand; 5) Educate and train the workforce of the future; and 6) Cultivate innovation and technology. The document continues on to discuss how each of these goals can be applied to different counties and regions around the state.

Earthquakes in Colorado

Last night southwestern Colorado was shaken by a magnitude 5.3 earthquake centered 9 miles southwest of Trinidad. Large earthquakes are not frequently experienced here in the Rocky Mountains, but low magnitude quakes are fairly common. The Colorado Geological Survey maintains a database called the Colorado Earthquake Mapserver which contains information on all of the cataloged earthquakes in Colorado, and also shows the faultlines that run through the state. The CGS also has an earthquake website with basic information on Colorado quakes, including case histories, maps and facts about earthquake damage ratings. Facts about last night's earthquake can be found on the U.S. Geological Survey's website. They also have an interesting history of Colorado earthquakes that is worth checking out.

8.18.2011

In Their Own Words

At the State Publications Library you can find a number of very interesting accounts of life in historic Colorado. Although we don't have any manuscripts, we do have available a number of diaries, journals, letters, and memoirs that have been published by the state. For instance, you can read interesting accounts of life as a frontier soldier in This Solider Life: The Diaries of Romine H. Ostrander, 1863-1865, in Colorado Territory, and in The Tall Chief: The Unfinished Autobiography of Edward Wynkoop, 1856-1866. One of our most frequently checked out items is Confessions of a Maverick: An Autobiography, by Farrington R. Carpenter, who writes about his life ranching in Routt County. My Dear Friend Chas. is a collection of the correspondence of Boulder resident Charles Wolcott, while Just Outside Manila is a collection of letters from members of the First Colorado Regiment in the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars. Early travel memoirs include A Tenderfoot in Colorado and Colorado: A Summer Trip. Elwood P. Bonney left a journal of his reminisces of the great photographer W.H. Jackson in William Henry Jackson: An Intimate Portrait, while Elizabeth Young wrote of growing up in early Denver in On Colfax Avenue: A Victorian Childhood. One of the classics of Denver autobiography is The Beast, in which Judge Ben Lindsey exposes the corruption of Denver's turn-of-the-20th-century political machine. Cheyenne Dog Soliders: A Ledgerbook History of Coups and Combat gives us the history of the Cheyenne through their drawings, rather than their words, while Tell Me, Grandmother, passes down the oral traditions of the Arapaho people. Other documents in their own words include Frederick Chapin's Colorado, presenting some of Chapin's writings on Colorado mountaineering; A Voice from Colorado's Past for the Present: Selected Writings of George Norlin; Riding West: An Outfitter's Life, the story of Jim Greer as told to Charles Miller; and Wayne Aspinall's A Family Message to My Family. You can also find some personal writings in Western Voices: 125 Years of Colorado Writing and in Colorado Heritage and Colorado History magazines.

Each of these documents tells the unique story of a Colorado life and the times they lived in. For more Colorado history visit our library or search our web catalog.

8.16.2011

Fremont Expedition

John C. Fremont was a Civil War General, governor of both Arizona and California, U.S. Senator, and a canidate for U.S. President. He is famous, or perhaps infamous, for many things, such as his unsuccessful attempt to abolish slavery without the consent of Washington, which resulted in his being relieved of his post as a General. There is also another infamous incident in the life of Fremont, and that one is connected to Colorado.

Before his military and political career took off, Fremont was known for exploring the western United States, earning him the nickname "The Pathfinder." In 1848, Fremont and his men embarked upon what has come to be known as Fremont's Fourth Expedition, exploring a possible route for a railroad connecting St. Louis and San Francsico. Fremont chose to explore a route along the Arkansas River, and upon arrival at Bent's Fort, he was advised not to go any further, for snows were already running deep that year. However, wanting to show that the rail route he had chosen was passable year-round, he and his party trudged onward. They headed south toward the Sangre de Cristo mountains, where the winter snows made the mountains impassable. The party started to run out of food, and many of their mules died. In the next two months, 10 out of the original 35 members of the expedition perished. Although it was never proven, rumors circulated that some members may have cannibalized the dead, although these stories may have been started by his opponents in his presidential run eight years later.

Needless to say, the expedition was a failure. You can read the full details of this story in a book from the Colorado Historical Society, available in our library collection, entitled Trail to Disaster.

8.11.2011

Indians of Colorado

Colorado has a long history of American Indian civilization going back many centuries. The Mesa Verde cliff dwellings were constructed by proto-Puebloan peoples formerly called the Anasazi. (The word Anasazi translates to "ancient enemies," which is no longer considered politically correct). In our library you can find numerous sources on Mesa Verde and the Puebloan Indians, including The Anasazi of Mesa Verde and the Four Corners, and The Western San Juan Mountains: Their Geology, Ecology and Human History.

In the mountains of Colorado lived the Utes, the only tribe to still have reservations in Colorado. You can find out more about the Utes through publications available from our library such as Ute Indian Museum: A Capsule History and Guide; The Last War Trail: Utes and the Settlement of Colorado; The Ute Indians of Utah, Colorado and New Mexico; Colorado Ute Legacy (VHS); and Southern Ute Lands 1848-1899: The Creation of a Reservation.

Colorado was also home to several plains tribes, including the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and others, who hunted buffalo on the eastern plains of Colorado. Some resources in our library on these tribes include Cheyenne Dog Soldiers: A Ledgerbook History of Coups and Combat; Cheyenne Texts: An Introduction to Cheyenne Literature; Treaties Between the Tribes of the Great Plains and the United States of America, Cheyenne and Arapaho, 1825-1900; and Tell Me, Grandmother: Traditions, Stories and Cultures of Arapaho People.

Finally, for an overall history of Colorado's Native Americans, see Indians of Colorado, by LeRoy Hafen, 1957.

American Indians are still very much with us today - for resources on contemporary Native American life, see such publications as the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs Resource Directory; Native Communities and Climate Change; A Guide to Colorado Legal Resources for Native Americans; Twenty-Five Year Report of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs (2002); Report of the Native Americans Sacred Lands Forum; and Indian Water Rights in the West: A Study. There are many more publications on Colorado's American Indians as well, so be sure and search our web catalog.

8.09.2011

Highway History

The development of highways in Colorado changed the state's landscape forever. The Colorado highways have an interesting history. Our library has many historical materials relating to the building of the highways from what is now called the Colorado Department of Transportation, but originally was called the Colorado Department of Highways. Additionally, for an excellent background on the Colorado highway system, see Highways to the Sky: A Context and History of Colorado's Highway System. Other interesting publications on this topic that we have in our collection include: 100 Years of State Transportation History, by CDOT; and 50th Anniversary of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, also from CDOT. Search our web catalog for the many titles we have relating to Colorado's highway and transportation systems, past, present and future.

8.04.2011

Colorado Sports

Sports and recreation are a huge part of life for many Coloradans. One of the books in our collection, Colorado: A Sports History, shows that it has been this way for a very long time. This book gives the history of all kinds of sports and recreational activities in our state. Other publications you can find in our collection go into detail on specific sports, such as They Came to Play: A Photographic History of Colorado Baseball. Additionally, you can find a large number of Department of Natural Resources publications on outdoor sports such as hunting, fishing, biking, and boating. And of course we can't forget skiing, perhaps Colorado's most famous recreational activity. There are a number of publications in our library that deal with skiing, including several ski tourism studies. You can even find in our collection a book on sports nutrition, Food for Sports. So whether you're interested in summer sports or winter sports, our library can help you find out more about sporting in our state.

8.02.2011

Colorado Amphibians and Reptiles

Colorado has many interesting species of wildlife, but aside from the larger animals which so often become symbols of our state, Colorado also has an interesting population of reptiles and amphibians, including frogs, toads, snakes, lizards, salamanders, and turtles. For an overview of the species, visit the Colorado Division of Wildlife's online Herpetofaunal Atlas. You can also find a number of resorces in our library collections discussing the reptiles and amphibians specific to Colorado; some of the titles in our collection include Ambibians and Reptiles in Colorado, University Press of Colorado, 1999; Quick Key to Amphibians and Reptiles of Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, 2008; Hip on Herps: Colorado's Reptiles and Amphibians, Colorado Division of Wildlife, 2004; Colorado's Amphibians and Reptiles: Species Status, Regulations, Information as of January 2001, Colorado Division of Wildlife, 2001; Directions for Preservation of Amphibians and Reptiles, University of Colorado, 1985; and an interesting historical publication, Guide to the Amphibia of Colorado, University of Colorado, 1943. Using these publications you can find out many interesting facts about Colorado's reptiles and amphibians, such as the difference between a lizard and a salamander, which turtles can bite and harm humans, or what this strange animal is!
Answer: No, it's not a snake - look carefully and you'll see the little legs! It's called a Many-Lined Skink, and it is a lizard found on the rural Eastern plains.

8.01.2011

It's Colorado Day

Today is Colorado Day, marking the anniversary of Colorado's statehood, granted in 1876 by President Ulysses S. Grant. To celebrate, there is free admission today in all Colorado state parks. For more information on state parks in Colorado, visit www.parks.state.co.us, and check out this great article from coloradoan.com.