Time Machine Tuesday: State Industrial Schools

In the nineteenth century Colorado established industrial schools for girls and boys who were in trouble.  A State Industrial School was established in 1881 for boys ages 7-16 who were convicted of crimes. A few years later, it became apparent that such a school was needed for girls as well, and the State Home and Industrial School for Girls was established by state statute in 1887.  The girls' school took in "wayward" females up to age 18 who were convicted of crimes; pregnant; or arrested for "habitually wandering about the streets...at unseemly or improper hours." If the girl was found to be without a proper home, or "is growing up in habits of vice or immorality," the girl would be committed the school for not less than nine months.  Girls with no place to go could also apply to live at the school voluntarily.  Babies delivered at the school were put up for adoption.

Both schools were located in Jefferson County.  The military-style boys' school put youngsters to work learning farming, masonry, blacksmithing, printing, woodworking, tailoring, and other industrious tasks that would allow them to learn a trade and make a living off of the streets.  The girls, on the other hand, learned the domestic arts at their school, preparing them either to run a household or to enter into domestic service.

Biennial reports of the schools for selected years from the 1890s to the 1940s are available from our library and can be viewed online.  They provide a fascinating picture of the lives of juvenile corrections inmates, including what they studied and, in some cases, what they wore and ate.  The reports feature statistical and financial information on the school, as well as numerous photographs.  The boys' school even printed the reports in their print shop.  These reports are valuable resources for any researcher studying the Progressive era in Colorado and the institutions of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

A student at the State Industrial School for Boys, from the 1909-10 biennial report.


May is Building Safety Month

Governor Hickenlooper has declared May, 2016 as Colorado Building Safety Month.  This month brings recognition to the work of architects, engineers, and construction workers, as well as fire prevention professionals, to reduce risk of structure fire, collapse, flooding, airborne pollutants, and other potential injury-causing structural defects and problems.

In our library you can read more about what the State of Colorado is doing to make sure our buildings are safe and sound, including safety standards and regulation of the building design and construction professions.  Start by visiting the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention & Control's Fire and Life Safety webpage, which includes information on building fire suppression systems, the Hotel/Motel Fire Safety Act, permitting and inspection information, and more.  Then be sure to check out these publications available from our library:

Carbon monoxide:
Case studies:
Fire prevention:
Government buildings:
Home safety, general:
Lead-based paint:
Licensing and regulation of professions:
School facilities:
 Swelling soils/subsidence (earth movements):
 Wood burning stoves:
  • Wood for Home Heating:  How to Install a Wood Burning System Correctly and Safely.  Colorado Office of Energy Conservation, 1981.
  •  Using Coal and Wood Stoves Safely.  Colorado Office of Energy Conservation, 1974.

You can also view our collection of building codes in our Incorporated by Reference collection, which are materials pertaining to specific rules in the Colorado Code of Regulations.

Click to read the Governor's Proclamation.


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado in 1976

A lot was going on in Colorado in the year 1976.  First of all, while the nation celebrated its bicentennial, the Centennial State celebrated its own centenary milestone.  In our library you can view a number of materials from the Colorado Centennial-Bicentennial Commission.  Our library has had several of these documents digitized, including the official teacher's guide, souvenir program, and, most significantly, Once in a Hundred:  The Final Report of the Colorado Centennial-Bicentennial Commission, which not only gives information on commission activities, financing, and marketing, but also offers descriptions of all of the programs, organized by date and county, as well as hundreds of photographs of the special events.

1976 was also a significant election year for Colorado; there were several important issues on the ballot.  These included a constitutional amendment regarding construction of nuclear power plants; repeal of the "Equal Rights Amendment," (i.e. Equality of the Sexes), which had been added to the State Constitution in 1972; a proposed statute to exempt food purchases from sales tax; establishing a returnable beverage container deposit law to encourage recycling; setting limitations on tax increases; and several other measures.  You can read analyses of each ballot measure, along with arguments for and against, in An Analysis of 1976 Ballot Proposals, also known as the "Blue Book."  So what did the voters decide?  You can probably guess on most of them -- Section 29 still protects the equal rights of the sexes and CO doesn't appear on the bottom of any beverage bottles.  Tax exemptions on groceries actually didn't pass in 1976 -- that law went into effect January 1, 1980.  And what about the nuclear power plants and tax increase limitations?  You can check out the number of votes for and against these and the other measures in the Colorado Secretary of State's 1976 Abstract of Votes Cast1976 was also a presidential election year, so you can find a county-by-county breakdown of the state's presidential electors (part-time Coloradan Gerald Ford won the state, but Jimmy Carter won the election), as well as the number of votes for other races including Congressional, Legislative, judges, etc.

Of course, 1976 was also the year of the disastrous Big Thompson Flood.  You can read about that, and the related documents available from our library, in an earlier post.  Since then, we now have the Final Report to the Governor in our library's digital collection.


Fracking: Risk to Homes and the Environment

Today's Denver Post headlined "Colorado residents push to protect homes, river from fracking," which discusses the use of state rules that were established by recommendations from a 2014 task force.  If you're looking for the task force's report, which does not appear to be linked to in the Post article, you can find it here.  For further resources, search the term "hydraulic fracturing" in our library's web catalog.


Licensing of Optometrists

If you or your child needs glasses, you may have questions regarding who to see -- an ophthalmologist, an optometrist, or an optician.  (Click here to find out the difference between the three).  Many people will choose to see an optometrist.  Colorado has a State Board of Optometry which regulates this profession.  This means that you can go online to view an optometrist's licensing information and find out if there have been any disciplinary actions against them.  Go to the Department of Regulatory Agencies' License Lookup and select OPTOMETRY from the drop-down menu, then search by name or city.  Ophthalmologists can also be searched using this database.  They can be found under "MEDICAL:  Physician (Dr.)" in the drop-down menu.

For more information on the State Board of Optometry, visit their website.  You can also view the board's Sunset Reviews, available from our library.  The reviews from 2010 and 2001 are online; earlier reviews, done in 1978, 1984, and 1991, are available for checkout from our library.


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Highway Maps

What was it like to travel around Colorado before I-25, I-70, and the other major highways?  Colorado had a network of smaller roadways -- which probably allowed visitors a more scenic view of the state than we have today!  The Colorado Department of Transportation has digitized a number of its old state maps, which have been cataloged and are available from our library.  The digitized maps go back to 1942.  Not only are these maps of roads and highways, but the full-color maps also give suggestions for points of interest along the routes.  The maps also contain mileage tables, information on National Parks, Monuments, and Forests, a list of mountain passes, and a list of the state's highest peaks.  Some years also include topographical information.  Experience traveling in days gone by with these fun maps!


Buying or Selling a Motor Vehicle

If you're in the market for a new car or truck, there are many questions to think through besides just which kind to buy -- new or used, lease or purchase, etc.  The State of Colorado has many resources for helping Coloradans with the buying and selling process.

The Colorado Department of Revenue is the best place to start when looking for Colorado auto information.  The Division of Motor Vehicles website includes helpful tools such as their Buying and Selling webpage.  Here you can find a list of the buyer's and seller's responsibilities for used car transactions.  The department has also issued some helpful publications such as To Lease or Not to Lease? and Tips for Purchasing a Motor Vehicle, helpful resources to consult during the decision-making process.  To avoid hassles, see Complaint Process for Consumers and Dealers and Colorado's Lemon Law for Consumers and Dealers

For insurance information, see the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies' Division of Insurance.

The Colorado Attorney General's Office has a helpful Consumer Resource Guide.  Automobile topics include right to cancel an auto purchase; lemon law; emissions; odometer fraud; salvage; safety; and general information on new and used sales. 


University Faculty/Staff Salaries

At our library we often get questions about where to find a listing of salaries for state-funded university faculty and staff.  Many universities list the salaries online -- however, due to privacy, the salaries for the larger universities are not associated with any names, but are listed by department and position only.

To find salaries for the University of Colorado (all campuses), go to their salary database at https://www.cusys.edu/budget/cusalaries/.

Salary data for CSU (Fort Collins) is available on their Employee Roster.  CSU-Pueblo data is in their Staffing Pattern.

Metropolitan State University of Denver salaries can be found here.  Western State Colorado University salaries can be found in the Staffing Pattern on this page.

Some universities do not have their personnel information readily available on their websites, due to privacy.  For help locating salary information for these schools, contact the university administration or contact our library -- we are happy to help.

Finally, older data for many state colleges and universities is available in print under titles Personnel Roster or Staffing Pattern; search our library's web catalog for issue information.  Some of the older publications do contain individual names, having been done prior to privacy rules taking effect.


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado's Coal Mines

While Colorado was founded on gold and silver, coal mining became the state's most significant mining industry by the turn of the 20th century.  The State of Colorado had a designated Inspector of Coal Mines, and each year he issued a report to the governor.  The Annual Report of the State Inspector of Coal Mines is a valuable primary source for anyone researching Colorado's coal mining history.  The reports, issued from the 1890s to the 1960s, show the development of the industry in the state as well as the labor struggles, economics, and operations of the mines.  The most poignant aspect of the reports, however, are the lists of fatalities -- which also makes these reports excellent resources for geneaologists.  The reports offer not only the names of the deceased from that year, but also their ethnicity/country of origin (many were European or Mexican immigrants), age, years of experience in the mines, marital status, number of children, name of employer, and a description of what caused the fatality.  Fatalities occurred at a rate of several per month in the early decades of the 20th century.

For further reading about life in Colorado's coal towns, check out Coal People:  Life in Southern Colorado's Company Towns, 1890-1930, a publication of the Colorado Historical Society available from our library.


Denver's Cheesman Park

Denver's Cheesman Park is a great place to walk, jog, picnic, sunbathe, and relax.  But did you know that it was originally a cemetery?  And, what's more, there are still as many as several hundred bodies still buried there!

In a nutshell, the site of Cheesman Park was once City Cemetery.  This was not an unusual ancestor for a park -- cemeteries in the 1800s were designed to be restful, contemplative places with parklike greenery.  When Denver was brand-new in the 1860s and 1870s, City Cemetery was considered far away from the city.  But as the city grew, development expanded and the cemetery was removed in the 1890s to be replaced by a park.  Originally named Congress Park, it was renamed for Denver water magnate Walter Cheesman, whose widow funded the construction of the Cheesman Memorial Pavilion.

However, the reason that so many bodies are still there is because of a scandal involving the removal of the corpses.  You can read about it in "Denver's Cheesman Park:  A Place for the Living, or the Nonliving?" in the November/December 2012 issue of Colorado Heritage, the magazine of History Colorado (formerly Colorado Historical Society), which is available for checkout from our library.  Copies of articles can also be requested; visit our library's homepage for information.

For more about Cheesman Park, the Memorial Pavilion, and other Denver parks, see the Colorado Historical Society publication Denver's Historic Markers, Memorials, Statues, and Parks, also available from our library.  Finally, for more fun Cheesman/Capitol Hill trivia, see the article "Walter Cheesman's Cow" in the Summer 1996 issue of Heritage.

Photo courtesy History Colorado


Colorado Small Business Week

May 1-7 is Colorado Small Business Week.  "With over 560,000 small businesses and half our workforce employed by small businesses, this week of workshops, events and festivities will celebrate Colorado's entrepreneurial spirit," according to the Colorado Small Business Week website.  The website also includes a calendar of events.

Our library offers many resources for small businesses.  The Colorado Business Resource Book, also available for checkout in hardcopy, offers all of the important information you need to get your small business up and running.  For more helpful resources, see our library's Colorado Business and Economic Information resource guide. 


Find and Compare Health Facilities

Health facilities such as assisted living centers, clinics, dialysis centers, hospices, nursing homes, and other facilities, in addition to hospitals, are required to be licensed by the State of Colorado.  The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provides an online directory of all licensed health facilities in the state of Colorado.  Here you can find facilities by location (city or county) as well as find information on inspections and "occurrences" (incidents or violations).  This is a helpful website to check before you send a family member to live in a residential facility, or seek any kind of medical care for yourself or your family.   


Time Machine Tuesday: Public Schools and the Great Depression

Amidst the Great Depression of the 1930s, "[t]he citizens of Colorado face[d] the problem of finding from some source or sources increased support for public education."  So the Colorado Department of Education and the W.P.A. prepared a report on the issue, entitled The Application of Selected State Aid and State Equalization Plans to Public Education in Colorado.  This 1936 report is available online from our library.  It "presents an analysis of several methods of equalizing educational opportunity."  Using statistical analysis and exploration of the various methods, the report was meant to "be valuable to school superintendents, legislators and other persons in the state who are concerned with knowing the facts about the financing of public education in Colorado."  Today, this report serves as a valuable resource for those researching the history of education and school finance in our state.  To find other resources on this topic, visit our library's web catalog.

Photo courtesy History Colorado

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