4th of July in Colorado

In 1983 Gov. Richard Lamm penned an article for Colorado Heritage magazine entitled "The Fourth of July in Colorado: A Perspective and a Hope."  In it he told the story of how Independence Day had been celebrated in Colorado in its early days, including how celebrations went from partisan events to unifying ones; how boosters used the holiday to promote Colorado; how commemorations of Independence Day during the Civil War and the two World Wars were somber rather than celebratory; and how the completion of the State Capitol in 1890 brought with it one of the grandest 4th of July celebrations in the state's history.

The article continues with stories and photos of parades, orations, picnics, and other celebrations from across the state through to the time of Lamm's writing.  He concludes the article with the sentiment,

 The Fourth of July [is] a good time to reflect on the history of this day.  I am proud that the western spirit of boosterism helped forge the nation, and that spirit yet remains in Colorado. The Fourth of July gives me pause and gives me hope.  Although our nation has been tempered by war, I am hopeful that we have learned from our history...I am hopeful on this Fourth of July that Colorado, America, and the entire world can beat the sword into a plowshare and wield it in the world war against poverty, ignorance, unemployment, and disease.

 This issue of Heritage also includes an essay on an exhibit then showing at the Colorado History Museum.  "Landmarks of Liberty" offered "a rare opportunity for Coloradans to examine firsthand not only the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights*, but also works of art, correspondence, maps, and Revolutionary War artifacts."  You can check out this and other issues of Colorado Heritage and its predecessor, Colorado Magazine, from our library.  Also search our library's web catalog for more writings of Governor Lamm, including Copernican Politics; The Price of Modern Medicine; and Cooperative Strategies for the Developing West.  Also available are Lamm's executive orders, proclamations, state-of-the-state addresses, and other documents. 

*18th century copies


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Dairies

When you go to the grocery store, you might see signs proclaiming that June is Dairy Month.  It highlights the dairy farmers (and cows!) who give us milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, and other dairy products, and has been celebrated annually since 1937.  Colorado's significant agricultural history includes the contribution of dairy farmers who for over 150 years have played an important role in the state's agricultural economy.

In our library you can find a number of historical publications dealing with dairy farming.  Many of these publications come from Colorado State University's Agricultural Experiment Station.  Some of the publications that give a peek into the life of a dairy farmer in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and are available for viewing online, include:

Photo courtesy Colorado State University Libraries

Veterinary Medicine in Colorado

Animals are very important to us here in Colorado, from the pets we love to the livestock that work for and feed us.  We have shelter pet license plates and an official state veterinarian.  Various state agencies deal with animal health, including the Colorado Department of Agriculture; the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (regarding animal diseases that can affect humans), the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (which oversees the Board of Veterinary Medicine and licensing of veterinarians), and Colorado State University, which has one of the West's top veterinary medicine programs.

These agencies have produced many informational resources on veterinary medicine and animal health.  Some of the most helpful of these resources, available from our library, include:
  • 2010 Sunset Review, Board of Veterinary Medicine, Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.  (These are done every 10 years; next will be in 2020.  See also the 2000 review.  See also the animal chiropractors review from 2002.)
  • Animal Use in Veterinary Medical Education, Colorado State University, 2000.
  • Annual Report, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories, Colorado State University
  • College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences:  Celebrating 100 Years of Excellence 1907-2007, Colorado State University.
  • Insight, the magazine of Colorado State University's College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
  • Lab Lines, newsletter from CSU's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories.
  • Providing for Pets During Disasters, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado
  • Report, Orthopaedic Research Center, Colorado State University
  • Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories, Colorado State University, 2009
 Our library also has some fascinating historical reports on veterinary medicine and animal care.  See
  • Biennial Report of the State Veterinary Sanitary Board and the State Veterinary Surgeon of the State of Colorado, from 1899-1900.
  • Biennial Report of the Colorado State Bureau of Child and Animal Protection, issues between 1903 and 1928
This is just a small sampling of the many resources on this topic available from our library.  Search our web catalog using terms such as "veterinary medicine" and "animal health."


Protect Yourself from Lead in Water

If you live in an older home, your water pipes may be made of lead, which is associated with significant health risks.  In response to the Flint, Michigan controversy, Denver Water has been testing older homes and replacing lead pipes with copper (see news story).  Other municipalities and water districts also have lead abatement programs and testing; check with your town or city to find out more.  The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), which has numerous resources on lead abatement, publishes a Lead Services Directory which you can use to find information on your specific county/municipality or to find a professional who can test for or replace lead pipes.

CDPHE also publishes a number of other resources that property owners may find helpful -- not only regarding lead in water, but also lead paint, contaminated soil, and other sources of lead.  See their Lead webpage for resources on the topics lead and your health; lead-based paint; lead in drinking water; working with or around lead; and lead waste management.  You can find additional resources by searching the keyword "lead" in our library's online catalog


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado's First General Assembly

One of the gems of our library collection can now be viewed online.  The 1877 Legislative Manual of Colorado contains over 350 pages of information on the new state for the members of the first General Assembly.  (Colorado became a state in 1876, after that year's territorial assembly had concluded).  The manual includes information on how the new legislature would be organized, a "manual of parliamentary practice," a "manual of customs, precedents, and forms," House and Senate rules, lists of officers, biographical sketches of legislators, a brief history of Colorado, and more.  One of the great reference resources in this book is the list of all Colorado post offices (cities and towns), and their counties, on pages 316-317.  This is useful for researchers looking for information on early Colorado towns and whether they were incorporated when Colorado became a state. Over time, many of these towns have disappeared.  Do you know where Orodelfan, Colorado, was located?  How about Hortense?  Island Station?  Badito?  Eureka?  Gomer's Mills?  Nepesta?  Livermore?  Find out in this great resource.


Colorado Motor Vehicle Registrations

One of the reference questions our library occasionally receives is how to find out the number of registered motor vehicles in Colorado.  This information is contained in the Department of Revenue Annual Report (which, by the way, contains many other statistics such as taxes, liquor licenses, the Colorado Lottery, and more.)  Our library has digitized the reports going back to 1942, which can be used for understanding changes over time.  For instance, fifty years ago, Colorado had approximately 1.7 million registered vehicles.  As of 2015, the number was over 5.5 million!


Nocturnal Wildlife

Colorado offers many opportunities for watching wildlife, but some species can only be seen in the dark of night.  The Colorado Division of Wildlife's Creatures of the Night takes a look at animals who come out after dark.  Raccoons, bats, and other commonly known night dwellers are just the beginning.  Did you know that some snake species become nocturnal during the summer, to escape the daytime heat?  Or that owls have specially-adapted eyesight and hearing to enable them to hunt at night?  Bats have an even more fascinating adaptation:  the use of echolocation.  They emit high-pitched sounds, out of humans' range of hearing, that echo off objects of prey.  They can judge the location of the prey by how long it takes for the echo to bounce back.  Fascinating!  Check out Creatures of the Night to learn more about nocturnal animals, including:
  • What is the difference between a nocturnal animal and a crepuscular animal?
  • What causes the reflection in the eyes of a "deer in the headlights"?
  • How can you tell the difference between the nighttime calls of the bullfrog, leopard frog, and chorus frog?
Search our library's web catalog for more resources on Colorado's amazing wildlife.


Time Machine Tuesday: Flag Day

Today is Flag Day, celebrated annually on June 14.  Flag Day also celebrates a 100th anniversary milestone this year; it was officially established by proclamation of Woodrow Wilson in 1916.  Long before the official government commemoration, various unofficial "flag days" had been celebrated in locations around the country since after the Civil War.  The first official celebration of a flag day on June 14 was in Philadelphia in 1892.  (June 14 is the anniversary of the adoption of the stars and stripes in 1777).  Soon after, other states began commemorating Flag Day, especially in the schools.

Here in Colorado, Flag Day was first celebrated in 1894 in Denver through the suggestion of the local chapter of the Sons of the Revolution.  It was proclaimed a legal holiday in Colorado in 1901.  An example of Colorado's Flag Day sentiments can be found in Governor Jesse McDonald's 1905 Flag Day proclamation:

"Those stars and stripes represent the struggle and achievements of our fathers and mothers unto far distant generations.  The sheltering folds of that flag will furnish ever increasing protection to those who are striving for equality and justice, to the honest and legitimately ambitious millions who desire a pure government of, for, and by the people...let us of Colorado observe Wednesday, June 14, 1905, as Flag Day, and appropriately observe that day in our homes, places of business, and public gatherings, but more especially in the schools, where a new generation is preparing to assume the responsibilities of life."  

The full proclamation can be found on page 110 of the 1905 Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, which has been digitized by our library.  The report also includes numerous pages of songs, poems, and recitations that teachers could use to teach students about patriotism and the flag.  Interestingly, by 1909 the Flag Day curriculum ideas were no longer published in the superintendent's reports, probably because many schools were not in session during the summer.  However, in the 1910s the Superintendent of Public Instruction began publishing a Book of Holidays, which can be found in our library's collection.  These books included curriculum suggestions for holidays throughout the year, including Flag Day.


Arthur Carhart and the Wilderness Movement

The first decades of the twentieth century were the height of the wilderness movement in the United States.  Following the popularity of Yellowstone National Park, established in 1872, and Frederick Jackson Turner's 1893 declaration that the American frontier was closed, Americans gained a new interest in protecting wilderness areas, as well as exploring the past through archaeology.  During his presidency, Theodore Roosevelt championed wilderness preservation, and the 1906 Antiquities Act gave presidents the authority to designate national monuments without an act of Congress.  Thomas Patterson, one of Colorado's US Senators at the time, was among the sponsors of the Antiquities Act.  Many National Parks and Monuments, such as the Grand Canyon, were designated during the 1900s and 1910s, and in 1916, Woodrow Wilson signed the bill creating the National Park Service.

During this time, Arthur Carhart was championing wilderness preservation.  Born in Iowa in 1892, Carhart was hired as a landscape architect with the US Forest Service in 1919.  He was given the assignment of surveying and planning development at Trapper's Lake, in Colorado's White River National Forest.  As a result of his survey, Carhart urged the Forest Service to preserve the Trapper's Lake area for recreational use, rather than develop it.  The Forest Service agreed with his recommendation, and the area was designated to be kept roadless and undeveloped, a state which continues to this day.

That same year Carhart issued a memorandum to forester Aldo Leopold urging that significant and scenic places remain wilderness:  "there is a limit to the mountainous areas of the world, and...there are portions of natural scenic beauty...which of a right should be the property of all people."  Leopold was inspired by Carhart to do his own part to help protect America's undeveloped scenic lands.

Although Carhart only worked for the Forest Service for four years, from 1919 to 1923, when he went into private practice as a landscape architect, he left an incredible legacy in advocating for the preservation of wild and scenic lands.  Today Carhart is recognized as one of the fathers of wilderness preservation in the United States.  Arthur Carhart:  Wilderness Prophet, by Tom Wolf, explores the life and legacy of Carhart and his contributions to the wilderness concept in Colorado and the United States.

For additional resources on the wilderness movement, see the following publications from our library collection:
Search our library's web catalog for additional resources.

The wilderness and national park movement continued throughout the twentieth century with such milestones as the 1964 Wilderness Act.  This year, the National Park Service is celebrating its 100th Birthday -- see more on the history of the National Park Service at the NPS website.


Denver Entertainments and Amusements

The history of Denver's entertainments and amusements is a colorful one.  From diving elks to advertising elephants, Denver's amusements went well beyond sports, music, and theater. 

A history of Denver's Lakeside Amusement Park is one of the newest additions to our collection.  David Forsyth's Lakeside Amusement Park:  From the White City Beautiful to a Century of Fun, published by University Press of Colorado, tells the story of this long-surviving Northwest Denver venue.  Forsyth has also written several articles on Denver's amusement park history for Colorado Heritage magazine, which is available from our library.  Articles include histories of Celebrity Sports Center, a favorite memory of Gen-X-ers (Autumn 2007), and Arlington Park (May-June 2015).

A Rocky Mountain News illustration of the Diving Elks.
Arlington Park is one of my favorite Denver amusement park stories.  Built where Alamo Placita Park is today, it was developed in the early 1890s and owned by a partnership which included none other than Denver's famous (or infamous) Mayor Speer.  Speer and his partners had an artificial lake constructed on the site, and this became the central feature of the new amusement park, which, unlike the placid Elitch's, banked on sensationalism.  They staged a huge "Last Days of Pompeii" reenactment with impressive pyrotechnics, and offered acrobats, vaudeville, a "lady lion tamer," and the 617-pound "Monster Man from Switzerland."  At the lake was a "Shoot the Chutes" water slide, which led to the park's name change to Chutes Park in 1897.  One of the favorite attractions was Professor Barnes' Diving Elks, who were trained to dive into the lake from a 50-foot tower!  After a series of fires and other mishaps, Arlington/Chutes Park closed for good in 1903.  The lake was filled in, the land sold for residential lots, and Denver's most sensational amusement park was nearly forgotten.

Other amusement parks such as Elitch's are gone but not forgotten.  The original Elitch's on 38th and Tennyson entertained generations of Denverites from 1890 to 1995, when it closed and a new park was built in the Platte Valley using the Elitch's name.  The story of Elitch's can be found in Rediscovering Northwest Denver:  Its History, Its People, Its Landmarks by Ruth Wiberg, published by the University Press of Colorado and available for checkout from our library.

Circuses were another important part of Denver's entertainment history.  In fact, the Barnum neighborhood is so named because P.T. Barnum purchased land there in 1878, allegedly as a winter home for his circus, but that never materialized.  Denver's most colorful circus, however, was the Sells-Floto, owned by Denver Post publishers Harry Tammen and Fred Bonfils in the 1910s and twenties.  They used the circus -- and its animals -- to promote the paper.  Tammen was especially fond of the elephants; you can read the story of one of them in Dick Kreck's article "The Day Little Miracle Died," found in the Summer 1998 issue of Colorado Heritage.

Denver has had many other well-known entertainments and amusements through the years.  Check out Colorado Heritage and its predecessor Colorado Magazine for more stories on Denver's favorite pastimes, including the Denver Broncos (Nov/Dec 2012, Winter 1997), theaters (various issues), museums (various issues), the Denver Performing Arts Complex (Summer 2007), brewpubs (Winter 2000), baseball (Winter 2000, Spring 1995), opera (Spring 1999), symphony orchestras (Autumn 1992), bicycling (spring 1991, November 1933), nickelodeons (issue 3, 1984), saloons (Spring 1975), Denver Mountain Parks (January 1932), and more.


Changes Coming for Colorado Drivers

Under a new program called Colorado DRIVES (Colorado Driver License, Record, Identification, and Vehicle Enterprise Solution), the Division of Motor Vehicles will be implementing several changes that will affect Colorado drivers.

In April, the Division began rollout of a new driver's license design.  The new design includes more security features, are laser-engraved, and utilize black-and-white photos instead of color.  Your current license will continue to be valid until its expiration date, at which time you will be issued the newly-designed license.

Colorado's new driver's license design
Also redesigned as part of Colorado DRIVES is the registration tag for newly-purchased vehicles.  This new design also enhances security, by including the VIN number, car make and model, year, and color, and other features that will ensure it is only used on the specific vehicle it is registered to.  The new registration tags will debut this month.  See the DMV website for more details.

The new design for temporary registrations
Finally, Colorado DRIVES aims to "improve customer service and meet the Governor's goal of reducing wait times in state driver license offices to an average of 15 minutes," according to the project website.  A quarterly report on the implementation of the new WaitLess technology is available from our library.


Time Machine Tuesday: Filing for Water Rights

In 1903 Colorado passed a law requiring

...every person, association or corporation hereafter constructing or enlarging any reservoir or reservoirs, constructing, changing the location of, or enlarging any ditch, canal, or feeder for any ditch or reservoir, for the purpose of furnishing a supply of water for domestic, irrigation, power or storage, or for any other beneficial use, taking water from any natural stream, shall, within sixty days after the commencement of such construction, change of location or enlargement, make filings in the office of the State Engineer for each specific claim in such form as shall seem sufficient and satisfactory to the State Engineer.

Three years later, the State Engineer's office published a booklet explaining the requirements for filing maps and statements under the 1903 law.  This publication, available in digital format, explains in detail all of the specific requirements for maps, including size, scale, type of paper, and even type of ink (it had to be waterproof).  It then explains how the map should be titled, and information it should include -- such as locations of headgates, ditch depth, carrying capacity, estimated construction cost, and the claimant's signature.  Then, it gives the form for a statement which must be submitted with the map.

This publication can be very helpful to researchers who are looking at century-old filing maps, as a key to the information they provide.  It is also a valuable look at policies and procedures for establishing water rights in the early twentieth century.  For more publications on water rights, search our library's web catalog.

An early-1900s view of De Weese Reservoir, Sangre de Cristo Range, Colorado

Photo courtesy Denver Public Library


Offender Database and Information

Did you know that you can search a database for information on Colorado corrections inmates?  On the Department of Corrections' Offender Search website, you can search by name and/or their correctional number.  Search results will include the offender's name, age, corrections number, mugshot, ethnicity, gender, height, weight, eye color, hair color, parole/release/discharge dates as applicable, and list of current convictions.

If you are looking to contact an offender, the Department of Corrections website tells you how.  Contact can be made via email, telephone, or U.S. Mail.  The department's website also gives information on how to wire money to an offender.  If you or a family member are victims of a crime, you can find victim services information on their website as well.

For statistical and other information on offenders in Colorado, see Departmental Reports and Statistics on the department's website, or search our library's online catalog.


Colorado Tourism Office

Have ideas about how Colorado can enhance tourism?  The Colorado Tourism Office is holding public input sessions for development of their new Colorado Tourism Roadmap (which, of course, will be added to our library collection once it is published).  The Roadmap will help "identify future opportunities and challenges, along with a set of strategies and tactics" to bring attention to Colorado tourism.  There will be numerous public input sessions held across the state over the next few months, but if you can't attend, there is also a survey on the project website.

Search the keyword "tourism" in our library's catalog to see publications from the past several decades that promoted Colorado, as well as to find statistics on Colorado tourism.

What's your favorite of the state's official tourism slogans from decades past?  Add your comments to our blog post.  
  • Where There's Room to Live and Breathe
  • Colorful Colorado Invites You
  • Colorado Above All
  • Colorado, and No Place Else
  • I'd Rather Be in Colorado
  • Colorado: Possibilities
  • Adventure Colorado
  • Fresh Air and Fond Memories Served Daily
  • Let's Talk Colorado
  • In a Land Called Colorado
  • Colorado: Come to Life

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