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.


Degree Within Reach

Colorado college students have long enjoyed a program where they can transfer their credits from community college to a 4-year institution to earn a Bachelor's degree.  Now, the Colorado Department of Higher Education has introduced a new program, called "Degree Within Reach," a program of "reverse transfer."  Their website explains:

Degree Within Reach is the state of Colorado’s way of describing “reverse transfer,” a new process allowing students who have transferred from a Colorado community college to a Colorado university to combine credits from both institutions and apply them towards an associate’s degree.

If you are a transfer student, this means you can complete the associate’s degree you started at your community college while still working toward your bachelor’s degree. You could be eligible even if you left a four-year institution before earning any degree.

For more information on how to get started in the program, click on the link to the program website above. For more information on transfer, visit the Colorado Community College System's transfer agreements website or search our library's web catalog for additional resources.


School Librarians

School librarians play an important role in students' education.  To find out how, check out the Colorado State Library's DVD and brochure, Your School's Team Deserves a Star PlayerThe DVD is available for checkout from our library.  For more in-depth information about the value of school librarians, see School Librarians Continue to Help Kids Achieve Standards, a publication of the Library Research Service.  Check out our web catalog for more resources, including non-governmental publications that can be found in our library's Professional Collection.


Online Vehicle Registration Renewal

Did you know that you can renew your vehicle registration online?  There's no longer any need to send a check through the mail, or stand in line at the DMV (although persons without internet access can still use these methods).  To renew your plates, simply go to the Colorado Department of Revenue's Online Vehicle Registration Renewal website and follow the prompts.  For more information on motor vehicle registration in the state of Colorado, see the Department of Revenue's Division of Motor Vehicles website.


Gaming and Gambling in Colorado

One of the ballot measures that voters will decide on this November is Amendment 68.  According to the State Ballot Information Booklet (or "Blue Book"),

Amendment 68 proposes to amend the Colorado Constitution to:
  • Permit casino gambling at horse racetracks in Arapahoe, Mesa, and Pueblo counties, limited to one racetrack in each county; and
  • distribute new casino tax revenue to K-12 public schools.

In 1992 voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing casino gambling in three cities -- Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek.  (For a history of this initiative see the University Press of Colorado book Riches and Regrets:  Betting on Gambling in Two Colorado Mountain Towns, available for checkout from our library).  Proponents of Amendment 68 argue that it will provide consumers more choices and will benefit public schools with additional revenue.  Opponents argue that the three mountain communities will lose a vital part of their economy, and less money will go to the interests currently funded by casino revenues, including community colleges, historic preservation, and tourism promotion.  Refer to the Blue Book for a complete analysis of the pros and cons of Amendment 68. 

You can find out more about gaming and gambling in Colorado by visiting the Colorado Department of Revenue's Division of Gaming website.  Here you will find resources on licensing, laws and regulations, statistics, tribal casinos, problem gambling, tax filing for casinos, and more.  Also, be sure and check our library's web catalog for additional resources.


AIDS Awareness Month

October is AIDS awareness month.  Though often associated with the 1980s, AIDS is still very much a problem around the world.  The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) keeps statistics on AIDS in Colorado.  Their website has many resources on the topic.  Here you can find data, reports and fact sheets, local and national trends, community involvement, provider resources, training, care, and funding resources.  A good resource for background and epidemiology data is CDPHE's annual HIV and AIDS in Colorado report, available from our library.


Minimum Wage

Colorado's current minimum wage is $8.00/hr.  According to the Colorado Constitution, the minimum wage is adjusted annually for inflation. Check out the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment's Minimum Wage webpage for information resources on the minimum wage in Colorado, including fact sheets, wage bulletins, and posters that can be displayed in places of employment.  The site also includes a history of the changes in minimum wage back to 1998, and links to reference materials such as the Fair Labor Standards Act and the state constitutional requirements, as well as resources on the federal minimum wage.


Italian-American Heritage Month

Italian Americans have made significant contributions to our state.  You can read more about Colorado's Italians and their history in the Colorado Historical Society's publication Italy in Colorado:  Family Histories from Denver and Beyond.  Many Italian influences still remain in Denver's northwest neighborhoods.  However, Denver was not the only place in Colorado to be influenced by immigrants from Italy.  Mesa State College published a history entitled Transplanting the Body:  Bringing Southern Italian Culture to Grand Junction, 1870-1930.  There is also an article about Colorado's Italian immigrants in the Summer 1977 issue of Colorado Heritage.  All of the above listed publications are available for checkout from our library.

Colorado also celebrates Italian heritage with a special license plate, pictured below.  You can find out how to obtain this or other group special license plates at the Colorado Department of Revenue's website, https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dmv/node/40131/.


Safe Schools

October is Safe Schools Month (see the Governor's proclamation here.)  The State of Colorado has established the School Safety Resource Center (SSRC), a state agency dedicated to helping schools become safe, positive environments for students and teachers.  The SSRC has numerous resources on its website, covering a wide range of school safety topics including bullying prevention; how to talk to kids after a violent incident; school threat assessment; suicide prevention; and much more.  SSRC staff has authored several guidebooks which can be found on the website or through our library; also, the website includes numerous streaming videos of conference keynotes.  Whether a teacher, parent, or school administrator, this is a helpful website for ensuring a safe school climate.  Additionally, check our library's web catalog for more school safety resources from other Colorado government agencies. 


Family and School Partnership in Education Month

October is being recognized in Colorado as a time to bring awareness to the partnership between families and schools in helping students succeed.  (View the Governor's proclamation here.)  The Colorado Department of Education has many resources on this topic, and has recently established the State Advisory Council for Parent Involvement in Education.  On their website you can find materials related to school-parent partnerships.  Other helpful resources available from our library include Reading Tips for Parents published by the Colorado State Library and Connecting with Your Kids, a guidebook from the Colorado Supreme Court.

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