Happy Birthday Colorado

Yes, you're probably thinking, Colorado's birthday is August 1! That is true, as Colorado became a state on August 1, 1876. However, today could also be recognized as Colorado's birthday, because it was February 28, 1861 that Colorado Territory was organized. If there wasn't a Colorado Territory, there wouldn't have been a Colorado State! You can read a copy of the Territorial Enabling Act on the Colorado State Archives website. In our library, you can view a few publications dating back from territorial days, including the territorial statutes, House Journals and Council Journals, and Superintendent Reports.


Colorado Literacy Week, Feb. 27 - March 2

Next week, the state will shine a spotlight on the importance of early childhood literacy to the future of our children and our state. Below is a brief overview of the events scheduled for the week.

  • Monday February 27, 9:30 a.m. - Crawford Elementary School in Aurora Public School District hosts the official kick-off for Colorado Literacy Week. Join Lt. Gov. Garcia and special guests as they highlight some of the innovative community-based initiatives happening across the state to improve early literacy.

  • Tuesday February 28, 9:15 a.m. - Please join U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Commissioner Robert Hammond for a town hall meeting about education reform, highlighting success in the state of Colorado. The meeting will be held at the Denver School of Science and Technology-Green Valley Ranch Campus. The Secretary will be joined by Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia for a special announcement about "One Book 4 Colorado".

    11:30 a.m. - It's all about Summer Reading Programs in Grand Junction as Lt. Gov. Garcia, in partnership with Colorado State Library and the Colorado Department of Education, announces efforts to inspire children to read more pages next summer and unveils the new READ posters. Then it's off for the afternoon to other western slope communities to spotlight early literacy success.

  • Wednesday February 29, Noon - Gov. Hickenlooper, Lt. Gov. Garcia, and Christine Benero, President Mile High United Way, release Colorado's Early Literacy Initiative and announce Mile High United Way Social Innovation Fund (SIF) Grantees at the State Capitol.

  • Thursday March 1, Lt. Gov. Garcia and Christine Benero, President/CEO of Mile High United Way, visit successful early childhood literacy programs around the state. Locations and times to be announced.

  • Friday March 2, National Read Across America Day - Working with partners at the Colorado Education Association and the Colorado Department of Education, Gov. Hickenlooper, Lt. Gov. Garcia, Commissioner Hammond, members of the Cabinet, General Assembly and Colorado Municipal League will highlight the importance of literacy and read to students in classrooms around the state.

This is the day when everyone can share a love for reading with a child Colorado. Call a local school and volunteer to read in a classroom! Visit http://www.readacrossamerica.org/ for more information.


Famous Coloradans

The State Library's new website, http://www.coloradovirtuallibrary.org/, features biographies of famous Coloradans. The bios are written for all ages, particularly so that elementary school students can use them in their Colorado history studies. However, if you find a bio on the website of a person who interests you, but you need more in-depth information, you can always turn to our State Publications collection. Here are a few of the biography subjects and where to find more information within State Publications:

Enos Mills: Drummond, Alexander. Enos Mills, Citizen of Nature. University Press of Colorado, 2002.

Josephine Roche: McGinn, Elinor. A Wide-Awake Woman: Josephine Roche in the Era of Reform. Colorado Historical Society, 2002.

Horace Tabor: Smith, Duane. Horace Tabor, His Life and the Legend. University Press of Colorado, 1989.

Also, learn more in Colorado Heritage magazine about these famous Coloradans:
Felipe Baca
Katharine Lee Bates
William Byers
Anne Evans
Sadie Likens
Zebulon Pike
Florence Sabin
John "Jack" Swigert


College and University Histories

Several of Colorado's state-run colleges and universities have published books on the history of their institution. So if you're researching the history of a certain school or are just interested in the story of your alma mater, check out these publications:

Colorado State University
Democracy's College in the Centennial State: A History of Colorado State University.

University of Colorado at Denver
University of Colorado at Denver, 25 Years: From Arapaho Camp to Denver's Urban University

University of Colorado Medical School
Sixty Years on the Cutting Edge: University of Colorado Department of Surgery, 1950-2010.
The University of Colorado School of Medicine: A Millennial History
The University of Colorado School of Medicine: A Centennial History

Fort Lewis College
Rich Heritage, Shining Future: Fort Lewis College 1911-2011

Community Colleges
The Colorado Community College and Occupational Education System: A Silver Anniversary History
Pikes Peak Community College Memories: 20 Years of Excellence and Opportunity


Tremont House Hotel

When many people think of archaeology, they think of digging up items hundreds or thousands of years old, like arrowheads or pottery. But archaeology also looks into the lifeways of the more recent past. (Known as historical archaeology). One very interesting example is the Tremont House Hotel. This territorial-era inn was located on Blake Street near present-day Auraria Parkway in lower Downtown Denver. It was destroyed in 1912 following that year's Cherry Creek flood, when the building was condemned as uninhabitable. In the early 1990s, the site was excavated and the foundations of the old hotel were discovered. A major archaeological dig revealed many fascinating clues to how Coloradans lived in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Trash was buried on site, so archaeologists were able to find out what people ate (many fish and chicken bones were found), how they groomed (toothbrushes and other personal items were located), what kind of china they served on, and much, much more. The items not only tell of what kinds of things were used at the time, but also told the story of the hotel's decline from luxury hotel to flop house - this was revealed by the much more elaborate, expensive china dating from the hotel's early years, to the cheaper, mass produced and institutional-type dishes of the early 1900s. You can read a fascinating account of the dig and the hundreds of items discovered there in three state publications available from our library: Exploring the Colorado Frontier: A Study in Historical Archaeology at the Tremont House Hotel, Lower Downtown Denver and The Tremont House: Historical Archaeological Investigations of an Early Hotel in Denver, Colorado, both from the Colorado Dept. of Transportation; and Denver: An Archaeological History, from University Press of Colorado. The latter publication also explores other interesting archaeological investigations, including Denver's Four-Mile House, Rocky Mountain Arsenal, and paleo-Indian sites.


Golden Gate Canyon State Park

This weekend I went snowshoeing in Golden Gate Canyon State Park, and really enjoyed it. Golden Gate is located conveniently close to Denver, yet has the feel of being far away up in the mountains. No highway noise, beautiful scenery...a great place to go. For information on Golden Gate Canyon State Park, visit their website, where you can find a brochure, maps and directions, information on trails, and multimedia. On this same website you can find links to all the other State Parks as well. Photo courtesy Colorado State Parks


Town and City Planning: A Look Back

One interesting use of State Publications is to look at old plans, goals, etc., and compare them with what has occurred since. For example, in our library we have planning documents for many of Colorado's towns and cities, counties, regional councils of governments, and more. Most of these come from the Colorado Dept. of Local Affairs' Planning Division. So, if you live in Ault, Johnstown, La Salle, Grover, Gilcrest, Hudson, Severance, Evans, Erie, Eaton, Mead, Pierce, Nunn, Milliken, Kersey, or Keenesburg, check out the Future Development Plan series, completed in 1972. How much of what was planned 40 years ago actually "came true?" We also have planning documents for many other localities as well, so be sure and check our web catalog for more documents.


Government Ethics

After Amendment 41 changed the laws regarding gifts to persons in state government, many people, both citizens and governmental officials alike, found some parts of the new law to be confusing and/or complicated. In 2011, however, the Independent Ethics Commission, which was formed following the passage of Amendment 41, put together the 2011 Ethics Handbook, a helpful publication for anyone in Colorado looking to understand the state's ethics laws.

It seems like every Legislative session there's an ethics panel formed to investigate some legislator's conduct, whether it's for alleged drunk driving, angry words on the Floor, pay violations, kicking a news photographer...you name it. For clarification on the ethics for legislators, see the Colorado legislator's handbook.


Cutting Red Tape

During the first months of Governor Hickenlooper's administration, the Governor traveled across the state meeting with the citizens of Colorado. One issue that kept rising to the top of these discussions was the complaint that "state government was far too often an impediment to business development and job creation" -- too much "red tape." As a result, the Department of Regulatory Agencies began the "Pits and Peeves" Roundtables Initiative --giving members of the community the opportunity to discuss red tape and governmental inefficiencies. The details of these discussions and recommendations for improvements have recently been published in the report: "Cutting Red Tape in Colorado State Government: Making Government More Efficient, Effective and Elegant." A press release from the Governor's office describes some of the efforts by state agencies that are already underway.


Prairie Dogs

Today, of course, is Groundhog Day...but in Colorado, we have prairie dogs, not groundhogs. They're very similar and part of the same family, but they are different. According to one website, groundhogs are bigger; prairie dogs prefer living in Colonies while groundhogs are more independent; and groundhogs are found throughout most of North America while prairie dogs are only found in the flatlands West of the Mississippi. And the animals are neither related to hogs or to dogs - they are both rodents. Groundhogs are sometimes known as woodchucks. Prairie dogs are sometimes mistakenly called gophers, but that is actually a different animal, too.

If you're interested in learning more about prairie dogs in Colorado, the Colorado Division of Wildlife has produced some interesting publications on these furry burrow dwellers:

Also, be sure to visit the DOW's website to view their prairie dog species profile.

photo courtesy Colorado Division of Wildlife

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