Denver's Most Haunted House

The Croke-Patterson-Campbell Mansion, a turreted sandstone castle at 11th and Pennsylvania in Capitol Hill, is often considered to be the most haunted house in Denver.  Built in 1891 for Thomas Croke, a state legislator and landowner who has been called the metro Denver area's "father of irrigation," Croke sold the house after only living there six months.  It is likely that he moved out during his grief over the death of his wife, but storytellers like to say that ghosts pushed him out.  He traded the mansion to Thomas Patterson in exchange for some land near Standley Lake. 
Patterson is one of Colorado history's most notable characters.  He represented Colorado in the United States Senate and owned and edited the Rocky Mountain News.  He is also considered by some historians to have inadvertently been responsible for Rutherford B. Hayes's presidency.  When Patterson died in 1916, his daughter Margaret and her husband, Richard Campbell, lived in the mansion until building their own in the 1920s.

Over the years the old mansion was used for apartments, offices, and other uses.  Most of the ghost stories were started in the 1970s when the house was used as office space.  The most famous story is about two guard dogs who jumped out of the 3rd story turret, said to be pushed out by demons.  Other tales include stories of crying babies and a body buried in the basement.

The ghost stories of the Croke-Patterson-Campbell mansion can be found in numerous places on the internet and have become the mansion's claim to fame.  I always felt, however, that the house's true history outshined the ghost stories, so for the Spring 2005 issue of Colorado Heritage I told the story of the house's history -- and debunked a few ghost stories along the way.  The magazine is available from our library, as are several Colorado Magazine articles that tell the story of Thomas Patterson's colorful political career (Winter 1974, Spring 1976, Winter 1977).  A full biography, Colorado Crusader for Change, is also available for checkout from our library.  Written by Patterson's granddaughter, Sybil Downing, it was published by the University Press of Colorado.    

Happy Halloween!


HOAs and Political Signs

Many homeowners wonder about their rights to display political signs if they are part of a homeowner's association.  Many HOAs have rules about political signs in yards or, for condos, in windows.  This election season the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) offers the following advice:

The Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA), addresses this issue in Section 38-33.3-106.5, C.R.S., entitled “Prohibitions contrary to public policy - patriotic and political expression...”. A political sign is defined in this statute as “a sign that carries a message intended to influence the outcome of an election, including supporting or opposing the election of a candidate, the recall of a public official, or the passage of a ballot issue.”

In summary, this law states that notwithstanding any provision in the declaration, bylaws, or rules and regulations of the association to the contrary, an association shall not prohibit the display of a political sign by the owner or occupant of a unit on property within the boundaries of the unit or in a window of the unit; however, the association may prohibit the display of political signs earlier than forty-five (45) days before the day of an election and later than seven (7) days after an election day.

DORA also notes that HOAs can regulate the size and number of signs, so be sure to check those out with your association, too.

For more help with understanding HOAs, visit DORA's HOA Information and Resource Center.


History of Colorado's Performing Arts

Our state has a rich history of performing arts, from the large venues of the Denver area to the hundreds of small theaters and opera houses that settlers hoped would make their small mining towns "respectable."  You can read about Colorado's performing arts in several publications from the Colorado Historical Society and the University Press of Colorado, available from our library:

Colorado Heritage, the magazine of the Colorado Historical Society (now History Colorado), has published numerous articles on the history of Colorado's performing arts.  Some highlights include:
  • "A Forgotten Theatrical Past:  The Federal Theatre Project in Denver," Nov/Dec 2010
  • "Miss Helen, Don Seawell, and the Denver Performing Arts Complex," Summer 2007
  • "Where Music Dwells:  Denver's Earliest Concert Spaces," Summer 2002
  • "Denver's Orchestral Overtures," Spring 2002
  • "Grand Opera in Denver," Spring 1999
  • "Astronauts to Zephyr:  Colorado's Music of the 1960s," Winter 1997
  • "History of Denver's Symphony Orchestras," Autumn 1992

In Colorado Magazine, the Historical Society's predecessor to Colorado Heritage, you can read about Colorado music and theatre (Summer 1977); Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (Fall 1975); theatre in Colorado's territorial days (Fall 1969, July 1961, and October 1960); music in early Denver (May 1944 and July 1944); Denver's Tabor Grand Opera House (March 1941); Leadville's Tabor Opera House (May 1936); and theatre in Central City (July 1934 and March 1929).

Several books in our collection also highlight different aspects of Colorado's performing arts.  Orpheus in the Wildneress:  A History of Music in Denver, 1860-1925, by Henry Miles (Colorado Historical Society, 2006) tells the story of opera, orchestra, and church and saloon concerts in Denver's first half-century.  The Ballad of Baby Doe, published by University Press of Colorado, tells the story of the making of a Colorado-centered opera.  Volume III of the Colorado Historical Society's classic 1927 History of Colorado includes a chapter on the arts in Colorado, exploring music and theater as well as poetry, literature, and the visual arts.


Time Machine Tuesday: On the Ballot

Election day is quickly approaching and there are a number of important races and issues on this year's ballot.  (For nonpartisan analysis of the amendments and referenda on this year's ballot, see the Colorado Legislative Council's 2016 Blue Book.)  The issues on a given years' ballot offer insight on the values and priorities of Colorado citizens at a given time in our state's history.  Here's a look at initiatives and referenda in the past century, compiled using ballot analysis reports and official voter results:

10 Years Ago:

In 2006, issues being decided included domestic partnerships and the definition of marriage; marijuana possession; and whether to participate in an immigration lawsuit against the federal government.  Fiscal measures included school district spending requirements, property tax reduction for disabled veterans, and state business income tax deduction limits.  Similar to today, the 2006 ballot included measures on the minimum wage and the ease of amending the State Constitution.  Several government-focused issues also made the ballot, including judges' term limits, "standards of conduct in government," and recall deadlines.  For the results of this election, see the 2006 Abstract of Votes Cast.

20 Years Ago:

Issues on the 1996 ballot were a bit less controversial and included several natural resources issues, including state trust lands and "prohibited methods of taking wildlife."  Perennial issues such as petitions, term limits, property tax exemptions, and campaign finance were again on the ballot.  Two interesting items up for decision included allowing limited gaming in Trinidad, and the definition of parental rights.  For the results of this election, see the 1996 Abstract of Votes Cast.

30 Years Ago:

In 1986 voters were asked to decide on a revamp of the State Personnel Board; county elected officials' compensation; and home rule municipalities.  Also on the ballot was a measure similar to the future TABOR (passed in 1992) that would have required any new taxes or tax increases to go to the voters.  For the results of this election, see the 1986 Abstract of Votes Cast.

40 Years Ago:

There were many issues on the 1976 ballot, including exempting groceries from sales tax; returnable beverage container deposits; and repeal of the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment.  For the results of this election, see the 1976 Abstract of Votes Cast

50 Years Ago:

A half-century ago Colorado voters were asked to decide on two property taxation measures and several measures defining state government operations.  The two controversial issues on the 1966 ballot included providing for daylight savings time in Colorado, and the question of whether capital punishment should be abolished in the state.  (For a history of Capital Punishment in Colorado see this page from the Colorado State Public Defender's website.)  For the results of this election, see the 1966 Abstract of Votes Cast.

60 Years Ago:

Issues on the 1956 ballot included term limits; taxes; civil service; apportionment of the general assembly; and old age pensions.  For the results of this election, see the 1956 abstract of votes cast.

70 Years Ago:

In 1946, voters decided on secret ballots and old age pensions.  (For a look at this issue, Old Age Pensions in Colorado, a 1948 publication from the University of Colorado, is available for checkout from our library.)  For the results of this election, see the 1946 Abstract of Votes Cast.

80 Years Ago:

Occurring in the midst of the Great Depression, the 1936 election had Colorado voters decide on whether women could serve on juries; whether to exempt churches, schools, and cemeteries from property taxes; whether there should be a vehicle ownership tax; and whether the State should provide public assistance for Coloradans with tuberculosis.  Also on the ballot were several income tax measures as well as provision of funds for old age pensions.  The realities of the Great Depression are evident from these public assistance and revenue-generating ballot issues.  For the results of this election, see the 1936 Abstract of Votes Cast.

90 Years Ago:

In the Roaring '20s, as the rates of vehicle ownership were on the rise, voters in 1926 were asked to decide on several motor vehicle tax issues, including a gas tax and a tax on motor vehicle purchases.  Elected officials' salaries, and laws regulating the practice of dentistry and the Public Utilities Commission were also on the ballot, as was a measure to allow the "manufacture, importation, and sale of intoxicating liquors in Colorado."  (Colorado had gone dry in 1916, the 1926 Colorado measure failed, and Prohibition was repealed nationwide in 1933).  For the results of this election, see the 1926 Abstract of Votes Cast.

100 Years Ago:

In 1916, during the height of the Progressive Era in Colorado, voters decided on "providing humane care and treatment for all the insane;" "manufacture and sale of beer," and an "amendment to apply the merit system to...civil service."  Other ballot issues included taxation, public school funding, regulations for the practice of medicine, "running of stock at large," and holding a constitutional convention.  For the results of this election, see the 1916 Abstract of Votes Cast.

For other years' election issues and results, see our library's Blue Book Finding Aid and the Colorado Secretary of State's Election Results Archive.


Election Information

Election Day will soon be upon us.  This year, every registered voter will receive a mail-in ballot.  Most voters should have received their ballot by now, or will in the next few days.  Ballots can be dropped off at ballot collection stations at any time.  However, polling places will still be open on election day for those who prefer to vote at a polling place.  Those choosing to vote in person will need to surrender their mail-in ballot at the polling place.  All polling places must be made accessible for those with disabilities.  You can learn more about accessibility requirements, including a video tutorial for polling administrators, at the Colorado Secretary of State's Accessibility Resources webpage.

While the presidential race may be getting the most attention, there are many other races and issues on the ballot this year, which can affect the day-to-day lives of many Coloradans.  A list of all races, amendments, and propositions is available on the Colorado Secretary of State's Election Information webpage.  Here you will also find registration and identification information, primary election results, fact sheets and FAQs, information on how to become an election judge, links to political party information, an overview of the electoral college process, and information for candidates.

Along with your mail-in ballot you should have received a copy of the 2016 Blue Book, a publication of the non-partisan Colorado Legislative Council which provides detailed analysis of ballot issues.  The Blue Book can help you make your decision by offering pros and cons for each amendment and proposition, as well as suggestions for retention of judges.  There are many issues to decide this year, including a statewide healthcare system (Amendment 69), state minimum wage (Amendment 70), requirements for initiated constitutional amendments (Amendment 71), new cigarette and tobacco taxes (Amendment 72), medical aid in dying (Proposition 106), presidential primary election (Proposition 107), other primary elections (Proposition 108), and for voters in the Denver Metropolitan Area, the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (Issue 4B).  Counties and municipalities also have their own local issues on the ballot, so be sure to check with your city and/or county about local measures and races.  Statewide, there are U.S. House and Senate races, as well as races for all Colorado House of Representatives seats and most Senate seats, CU Regents, State Board of Education members, and more.  


Get Your Flu Shot

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is encouraging everyone to get their flu shot before the end of October.  Flu shots are widely available in clinics, many drugstores and grocery store pharmacies, at at your doctor's office.  To find a specific location visit https://vaccinefinder.org/.  A recent CDPHE press release gives the following information: 

Here’s what you need to know about flu shots this season:
·        The CDC recommends only injectable flu shots this year. The nasal flu vaccine (FluMist) is not recommended this year.
·        Some children 6 months through 8 years of age need two doses of flu vaccine four weeks apart. Ask your health care provider how many doses your child should get.
·        People with egg allergies no longer have to wait 30 minutes after receiving a vaccine. People who have experienced only hives after exposure to eggs can get their shot at any location offering licensed flu vaccines. People who have severe egg allergies (symptoms other than hives) also can get any licensed flu vaccine, but it should be given in a medical setting and supervised by a health care provider.
·        Some flu shots protect against four kinds of flu and some protect against three. There also is a high-dose flu vaccine for people 65 and older that can create a stronger immune response. However, it’s better to get the shot your provider has now rather than wait for a different product.
·        Recent data suggests vaccine protection may wear off late in the flu season for people age 65 and older. However, since flu cases often start to increase in October, CDC recommends all age groups get the vaccination by the end the month for optimal protection.

You can find statistical information about influenza in Colorado by visiting the CDPHE's Influenza Data page, or search our library's online catalog.


Remedial Rates

The number of college students who need remedial classes is a growing concern in Colorado.  The Colorado Department of Higher Education tracks the numbers and demographics of students in remedial classes and issues an Annual Report on Remedial Education, which our library offers online back to 2002.   This report is presented to the State Legislature each year.  Information on remedial education in Colorado can also be found in several reports, also available from our library, including The Colorado Remedial Challenge and Success of Remedial Math Students in the Colorado Community College System:  A Longitudinal StudyFor tips on how to understand remedial education statistics and why they are important, view the Colorado Department of Higher Education's 5-minute video, Understanding Remedial Rates in Colorado.


Time Machine Tuesday: Governor Lamm's Executive Orders

Colorado governors' executive orders are divided into three categories:  1) A Orders, which appoint individuals to boards and commissions, judges, and other political appointments; 2) B Orders, which establish new boards, commissions, councils, and task forces; and 3) D Orders, which contain state government policies and organization changes as well as disaster declarations and mobilization of the Colorado National Guard. 
Our library has digitized the B Orders and D Orders from the Lamm administration (1975-1987) and they are now available online.  (Digitization of the A Orders is currently in process).  View Governor Lamm's Executive Orders to learn about major flooding in the mountains and on the Western Slope; energy conservation; a 1981 tornado in metro Denver; access to public records; state employee benefits; mapping the state; and much more.


Tastes of Fall

October is a commemorative month for many of our favorite fall foods.  Publications from our library collection can help you learn about growing and preparing these foods.

October is...

American Cheese Month.
Learn how to make your own with Making Soft Cheeses from the Colorado State University Extension.

Apple Month.
If you have apple trees, you can find out how to protect them from insects and diseases by reading Apple and Pear Insects, also from the CSU Extension.  Want to grow apple trees?  Check out Backyard Orchard:  Apples and Pears and Hardy Varieties of Apples for Northeastern Colorado. Need information on Colorado's apple orchard industry?  Some publications that tell the story of Colorado's orchards include Appraisal of the Apple Industry in the Four Corners Region (1972), Colorado Fruit Tree Survey (1989), and How Do Consumers View Apples? (2011) 

Corn Month.
Best Management Practices for Colorado Corn gives you everything you need to know about growing corn in Colorado. Also, search the keyword "corn performance trials" in our library catalog for the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station's yearly reports on the best corn varieties. 

National Chili Month.  Whip up some corn bread, sprinkle some cheese in your chili, and you've got three of this month's featured foods covered.  Basic Instructions for Cooking Beans and Recipes for Dry Beans and Peas from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment's (CDPHE) can be checked out from our library. 

National Seafood Month.  Okay, so since Colorado isn't by the sea, we don't produce seafood...unless you count the yummy trout and other fishes available in our mountain waters. Smoking and Other Delightful Ways to Enjoy Game and Fish and the Colorado Catch Cookbook, both from the Division of Wildlife, offer many recipes and preparations.  To learn about eating fish safely, see the CDPHE's Fish Consumption webpage.

Pizza Month.  Find out how to use pizza to teach your kids math in Pizzas, Pennies, and Pumpkin Seeds:  Mathematical Activities for Parents and Children from the Colorado Department of Education.  (By the way, October is also Family and School Partnership in Education Month.)

Sausage Month.  Back in 1942, wartime shortages called for preserving and rationing foods.  Preservation of Meats by Curing, published that year by the CSU Farm Victory Program, discusses how to make smoked sausage, among other cured and smoked meats. 

Spinach Lovers' Month.  So you've enjoyed all that pizza and now you're looking for something healthier.  Learn how to grow and use spinach and other salad greens in the CSU Extension's Salad Greens:  Health Benefits and Safe Handling and Growing Container Salad Greens.

October is also national cookbook month.  Search our library's online catalog for some cookbooks that highlight local Colorado foods, or can provide hints for high altitude baking.


Time Machine Tuesday: Molybdenum

When most people think of Colorado mining, they think of gold or silver, or maybe coal.  But one of Colorado's most significant mineral resources of the past century is molybdenum.  Today, however, demand for "moly" is declining.  Plans were recently announced to shutter Clear Creek County's huge Henderson Mine -- the world's largest primary producer of moly, according to their website.  The Henderson underground mine is owned by the same company that owns the Climax Mine, an open-pit moly mine.  Over the past century, demand for moly has fluctuated, with the Climax Mine closing and reopening several times.

What is molybdenum, and how is it used?  Moly, for short, is used as an alloy in steel production.  Its usefulness as an alloy is due to it having a higher melting point than iron.  The Climax Mine began production in 1914.  After the U.S. entered the war in 1917, demand for moly rose sharply due to its use in the production of war matériel; however, at the end of the war, the mine shut down when demand was reduced.  It reopened in 1924, shut down in 1995, and reopened in 2012.  During its heyday during mid-century, Climax had been its own town, with schools, housing, a post office, and a railroad station.  Most of the houses were moved to nearby Leadville in 1965.

In 1919, the Colorado Geological Survey produced a report examining the industry.  Molybdenum Deposits of Colorado: With General Notes on the Molybdenum Industry was the resulting report from a research analysis of moly that had started during the war.  "Soon after it was declared that a state of war existed between the United States and Germany, the Colorado Geological Survey was asked to cooperate with Federal officials in determining the extent of the undeveloped molybdenum resources of Colorado," wrote the report's author, P.G. Worcester.  This report includes analysis of the history, use, and chemical properties of moly along with a review of moly deposits across the state.  Moly deposits in countries such as Australia, Canada, Germany, and Norway are also examined, as is an analysis of the predicted future of the industry.  Because the report had been commissioned during the war but was not produced until 1919, after its completion (and the same year the Climax Mine closed the first time), the report had begun with optimism for the industry but ended on a much different note.  "From what has been said in the preceding pages it is evident that, at the present time, the outlook for a rapidly expanding industry is none too bright...It is the writer's belief that the demand will increase slowly as successful metallurgical experiments develop new uses or improved uses for the metal," wrote Worcester.

Want to learn more about moly?  In 2001, the Colorado Geological Survey produced an entry in their "Rock Talk" series entitled Unsinkable Moly:  Colorado's World-Class Metal ResourceThis pamphlet describes in plain language the uses, geology, and history of moly in Colorado as well as its two major moly mines.  For more on Colorado's geology and mining history, search our library's online catalog and digital repository.      

The Climax Molybdenum Mine.  

Photo attribution:  By JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Business Tools & Resources

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) just completed a major overhaul of their website, which includes a helpful Business Tools & Resources page.  Here you can find a new site-selection guide, aimed at drawing businesses to Colorado, and other resources.  Also on OEDIT's new webpage, choosecolorado.com, are pages outlining key industries and resources for businesses in those industries; benefits of living in Colorado (to encourage businesses to locate in or relocate to Colorado); helpful programs such as the Minority Business Office, the Colorado Innovation Network, and ByColorado; and much more.  These resources are not just for out-of-state interests looking at Colorado; they can help anyone who wants to learn more about the state's key industries and economic programs. 

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