The Future of Transportation

Travel between Denver and Boulder in just 8 minutes?  It could become a reality.  Yesterday the Colorado Department of Transportation released plans to study the Hyperloop system, a high-speed track system where cars are loaded onto pods and pushed through vacuum-sealed tubes at a speed of 670 miles per hour.  CDOT says a half-mile test track will be built alongside E-470 near Denver International Airport.   You can read more about this futuristic transportation system in CDOT's Hyperloop One report/proposal.  See also this CDOT video about Hyperloop.

Autonomous vehicles are also on the horizon.  Over the past year CDOT has been testing self-driving work zone trucks and other innovations as part of its RoadX program.  CDOT put together this video demonstrating the world's first self-driving work zone vehicle.  Check out CDOT's RoadX webpage for more information and videos.


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Aviation

A jet crosses the runway over I-70 at Stapleton International Airport in 1969.  Photo courtesy History Colorado.
In honor of National Aviation History Month, this week's post takes a look at the state of aviation in Colorado fifty years ago.  In 1968, the Colorado House of Representatives appointed a committee to look at the growth, challenges, and future of air travel in Colorado.  You can read the committee's report online from our library.

The report discusses the planning and legislation needed to address the growing industry.  At the time of this report, aviation technology was rapidly expanding.  Many airports, including Denver's Stapleton, were constructed in the early days of flight.  But after WWII, air travel "took off" as technologies were expanded.  For the first time in 1959, a jumbo jet flew out of Stapleton Airport, a facility that had been designed for much smaller aircraft.  Smaller airports around the state were also being pushed to capacity as air travel in all forms became more widespread.  Safety had also become more of a concern, as the Denver metro area had experienced two major crashes in the 1950s.  In 1951, a B-29 bomber taking off from Lowry Air Force Base crashed into Denver's Hilltop Neighborhood; and in 1955, Mainliner flight 629 exploded over Longmont, the result of a bomb planted in a passenger's suitcase, killing 44.  It was the United States' first incidence of air sabotage and still ranks as the state's largest mass-murder.

So the need for space, safety, and adaptation to new technology led to the House committee's formation in 1968.  The committee suggested that the overcrowding at Stapleton be addressed by the construction of "new reliever (secondary) airports in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Denver." Stapleton would push on for another twenty-five years, but finally the expansion of air travel - including the addition of more international flights - as well as increased noise over Denver residential areas led to the construction of Denver International Airport. 

Other ideas put forth in the 1968 report included state aid for community airports; development of air commuter services; an expanded safety program, including "the widespread use of navigational aids throughout the State;" and using air travel improvements to attract tourists to Colorado, especially skiers.  The committee recommended "exploiting all of Colorado's natural resources through the media of air transport. Such potentials as the skiing industry should be fully supported by both communities and the State."  Was this initiative successful?  Ten years after the report, the University of Colorado published The Airline Skier, 1977-78 Season: A Comparison of the Skiers Traveling by Commercial Air in Five Skier Studies Conducted at Aspen, Vail, Steamboat, Winter Park, and Copper Mountain.  This report is also available digitally from our library.  For other resources on the history of aviation in Colorado, search our library's online catalog.   


Student Data Privacy

The Colorado Department of Education takes many precautions to protect students' privacy and limit the availability of personally identifiable information.  To learn more, check out the following resources outlining the steps CDE is taking to ensure your children's privacy:
Also, be sure and visit the following CDE webpages for updated information:


CSU's National Western Center

Last week was the groundbreaking for the new National Western Center, a major project to revitalize the National Western Stock Show complex into a "year-round educational and entertainment hub."  The project includes both the construction of several new buildings as well as the preservation and restoration of several of the complex's historic structures, most notably the 1909 Stadium Arena. 

One of the major partners in the project is Colorado State University, which will have three new facilities at the complex: the CSU Water Resources Center; a facility for equine sports medicine; and the "CSU Center," which will provide classroom, laboratory, and art spaces as well as a "K-12 Food Systems Exploration Center."  For details on the CSU buildings see their program plan.  You can also find out more about the project at http://nwc.colostate.edu/ and at the City of Denver's National Western Center webpage.

A rendering of the site, including the historic Stadium Arena and the new CSU buildings.  Photo courtesy Colorado State University.


Time Machine Tuesday: A Colorado Booklist from 1968

What were the popular books on Colorado, and by Colorado authors, half a century ago?  Find out by viewing the Colorado Booklist that was issued by the State Historical Society.  The list gives titles and brief summaries of fiction and non-fiction books for adults, young adults, and children, as well as Colorado-themed magazines.  The list is an excellent resource to use if you are trying to recall the name of a Colorado-themed book that you read as a child, or to get a sense of Colorado culture in the 1960s.  The list may also be of interest to book collectors and book sellers.  Some of the books on the list are still important reference books for today's local historians; others have been all but forgotten.

A few of the non-fiction books and magazines listed, such as the Colorado Yearbook, Colorado Magazine, and Colorado Outdoors, are available for checkout from our library.  Others may be available at your local public library or through interlibrary loan.  Search our library's online catalog or contact us for research help.


Western Slope Colorado Wine

Colorado wine enthusiasts may delight in the book An American Provence, published in 2011 by University Press of Colorado.  In this book, author Thomas P. Huber examines the many geographic similarities between Colorado's Western-slope wine country and the Provence region in France.  From the book summary:

In this poetic personal narrative, Thomas P. Huber reflects on two seemingly unrelated places-the North Fork Valley in western Colorado and the Coulon River Valley in Provence, France-and finds a shared landscape and sense of place. What began as a simple comparison of two like places in distant locations turned into a more complex, interesting, and personal task. Much is similar-the light, the valleys, the climate, the agriculture. And much is less so-the history, the geology, the physical makeup of villages. Using a geographer's eye and passion for the land and people, Huber examines the regions' similarities and differences to explore the common emotional impact of each region. Part intimate travelogue and part case study of geography in the real world, An American Provence illuminates the importance sense of place plays in who we are.

An American Provence is available for checkout from our library.  Also, you can learn more about Colorado's wine industry in the following state publications, also available from our library:


Governor's Budget

You've probably seen the headlines about the various budget proposals in the Governor's annual budget and the other state agency budgets, which were released yesterday.  You can examine any of the budget requests at our library; here you can also find past years' budgets, some going back several decades. 

You can also view online versions of the current budget requests at the Governor's Office of State Planning & Budgeting website.  Search our library's online catalog for online budgets from previous years.


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado's Bat Caves

Fifteen years ago the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the CSU Natural Heritage Program conducted a survey of bats living in Colorado caves.  According to the report of the study, which you can read online via our library, twelve of Colorado's eighteen species of bats use caves and abandoned mines at least part of the year in Colorado. Corynorhinus townsendii, or Townsend's Big-Eared Bat, were the most frequently encountered species, typically at elevations above 6,122 feet. Townsend's bats are officially on Colorado's Threatened and Endangered Species list, and other bat species are also threatened due to habitat loss and wind energy development, so it is quite likely that populations have dropped since the 2002 cave study.

If you're interested in viewing bats, the study contains a list of caves where bats were found (including some spookily named caves like Groaning Cave, Scorpion Cave, and Fixin-to-Die Cave).  Note that some of these caves may be on private property, so do your homework before setting out on any spelunking expeditions.

This is also National Bat Week.  Colorado Parks & Wildlife has put together a fun webpage with videos and facts about bats.

Happy Halloween!


Colorado's Rural School Districts

How does the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) define a rural school district? 

A Colorado school district is determined to be rural giving consideration to the size of the district, the distance from the nearest large urban/urbanized area, and having a student enrollment of approximately 6,050 students or less. Small rural districts are those districts meeting these same criteria and having a student population of less than 1,000 students.

Rural schools and communities have very different needs than large, urbanized school districts, including funding disparities; transportation needs over long distances; access to technology; teacher recruitment; migrant families; and more.  Some of the CDE resources available from our library that discuss the unique challenges and opportunities found in rural school districts include:
You can find a current list of Colorado's rural and small rural districts here.

Search our library's online catalog for more resources, including historical reports on rural schools.


Colorado Governors: Samuel Elbert

Colorado's highest mountain bears the name of Samuel H. Elbert, territorial governor of Colorado from 1873-74.  Elbert County is also named for him. 

Originally from Ohio, Elbert, a lawyer, moved to Nebraska in 1854 and became heavily involved in Republican politics.  He campaigned hard for Abraham Lincoln and through this campaign met John Evans, future territorial governor of Colorado.  When Evans became governor, Elbert came to Colorado as his territorial secretary, which you can read more about in the Colorado Magazine article "Colorado's Territorial Secretaries."  Elbert also married John Evans' daughter Josephine.  Elbert went on to serve in the territorial legislature

President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Elbert as governor of the territory after the removal of Edward McCook by public petition.  Elbert was a popular governor, but McCook, a Civil War general, was a friend of Grant's, so the president reinstated him in office after just one year.

After statehood, Elbert went on to become Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court.  He died in 1899.

At 14,439', Mount Elbert is Colorado's highest peak.


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado's Poet Laureates

Was Colorado the first state to have a poet laureate?  It depends on who you ask.  Alice Polk Hill, Colorado's first poet laureate, was appointed by Governor Oliver Shoup on September 10, 1919.  However, California's Ina Donna Coolbrith had been appointed by her state's governor four years earlier, in 1915.  But the Library of Congress notes that California's poet laureate was an unofficial position until 2001.  So using this logic, it could be said that Colorado had the first official poet laureate. 

This is the assertion that writer Ann Hafen made in her 1953 Colorado Magazine article about the history of Colorado's poet laureates.  She cites a national survey on poet laureates, to which, Hafen writes, "California reported a law for a poet laureate being considered, but not yet enacted."  Another source, the Colorado Encyclopedia, writes that Alice Polk Hill "was the prototype poet laureate for the rest of the nation as well as a newspaper reporter, music teacher, and the first female member of the Colorado Historical Society." 

Alice Polk Hill, born in Kentucky in 1854, had come to Colorado as a young bride in 1873.  She developed an interest in writing, publishing the book Tales of the Colorado Pioneers in 1884.  (It was later revised as Colorado Pioneers in Pictures and Story.)  She was also one of the founders of the Denver Woman's Press Club, and "was the only woman among twenty-one delegates sent to the convention to draft a Charter for the City and County of Denver, when the city was given Home Rule in 1904," writes Hafen. In August 1919 Hill wrote to Governor Shoup suggesting the creation of a post of poet laureate, and she was appointed a month later.  She only served two years, however; she died in August 1921.

The next poet laureate was Nellie Burget Miller, serving nearly thirty years, from 1923 until her death in 1952.  You can read some of her poetry in the Colorado Magazine article referenced above.  She was followed by Margaret Clyde Robertson of Boulder, who wrote many Colorado-themed poems including "Mistress of the Matchless Mine," a poem about Baby Doe Tabor.  Colorado's next poet laureates were Milford E. Shields (1954-1975), Thomas Hornsby Ferril (1979-1988), Mary Crow (1996-2010), David Mason (2010-2014), and Joseph Hutchinson (2014-present).


Historic Preservation Tax Credits

This month's Colorado Heritage magazine contains a Q & A about historic preservation tax credits in Colorado. These credits, both state and federal, are designed to encourage property owners to repair, renovate, and preserve historic buildings by helping them save money on their taxes.  In our library we have a number of resources that explain the process and eligibility for preservation tax credits:


Vote for Colorado's Most Significant Artifact

Now through November 17, you can vote for your favorite historic Colorado artifact or document as part of the Colorado Collections Connection's campaign to highlight the importance of our state's historic and cultural heritage.  Artifacts were nominated by their owning institution and include items from museums and libraries large and small.  The nominees come from all over the state, including from the Denver Public Library, Fort Morgan Museum, Hayden Heritage Center, Littleton Museum, Montrose Historical Society/Museum, Monte Vista Historical Society, and others.  Nominees range from large items such as a stagecoach, to archival materials like the Longmont Museum's collection of teacher grade books from the early- and mid-twentieth century.  Other nominees include items belonging to famous Coloradans such as William Henry Jackson and Justina Ford.  Anyone can vote, so choose your favorite today!

The Colorado Collections Connection is a partnership between the Auraria Library, History Colorado, the Colorado-Wyoming Association of Museums, and the Colorado State Library.  It continues the work initially started by a grant program known as Connecting to Collections.  The Most Significant Artifact program is now in its fifth year, and you can read about the first two years in the report Colorado's Top Ten Most Significant Artifacts, 2013 and 2014, available for checkout from our library.  You can also find listings and photos of previous years' nominees here.

Miss Yokohama, Colorado's Japanese Friendship Doll from 1927, is among the nominees for the 2017 Colorado's Most Significant Artifact.


Time Machine Tuesday: Financing Public Schools in the Early 20th Century

In 1917, it cost a yearly average of $69.00 per pupil to educate Colorado's public school students.  A century later, that number is up to $9,363 per pupil, according to statistics from the Colorado Department of Education

A wealth of statistics on the funding of Colorado public schools in the early decades of the twentieth century, such as the 1917 figure above, can be found in the 1930 publication Cost of Public Education from Viewpoint of Agriculture in Larimer County, ColoradoThis report, published by the Colorado Agricultural College (now CSU)'s Agricultural Experiment Station, is available online from our library.  Although the focus of the report is on Larimer County, and especially on how public school taxes affected farmers -- who in 1930 were already suffering the effects of the Depression and the Dust Bowl -- the report provides many statistical comparisons with the state as a whole, so this report can be very useful to researchers beyond just those looking at farm economics or at Larimer County. 

For researchers studying Colorado education history, this report is also useful to compare against other state reports.  G. S. Klemmedson, the author of the 1930 report, notes that in his research he "found many errors in published records and even in the original records which were used as a basis of study.  This was especially true of bonded indebtedness and tax levy figures. Information obtained from the State Superintendent of Schools did not agree with figures obtained from the Colorado State Tax Commission or with those obtained from the State Board of Immigration." Therefore, this publication is helpful in reconciling the figures presented by the other agencies, whose reports you can also find in our library.  These include the Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; the Annual Report of the Colorado Tax Commission; and the State Board of Immigration's Year Book of the State of Colorado.

Examples of some of the statistical diagrams in the 1930 Cost of Education report.


Keeping Kids Safe on the Road

This week is both National Teen Driver Safety Week and National School Bus Safety Week.  Our library has many resources that can help you learn about and bring attention to both of these important causes.

Teen drivers:

School buses:

Search our library's web catalog for more resources.


Dial 511 for Road Conditions

Winter driving season has arrived!  The Colorado Department of Transportation offers several services to help you be prepared and aware of road closures and weather conditions.  Log on to cotrip.org, or simply dial 511 from anywhere in Colorado.  511 works with both cell phones and land lines.  You can also sign up for email or text alerts from CDOT, or download the CDOT mobile app.


Time Machine Tuesday: An Economic Profile of Denver in 1974

Recently the Denver metro area has been experiencing unprecedented economic activity and growth, with hundreds of people moving here each month, new businesses coming to the area, and housing prices skyrocketing.  How does this compare with the Denver of the 1970s?

In 1970, the Business School at the University of Colorado established the Denver Urban Observatory "to perform urban research." Four years later they issued a major study, The Economic Base of Denver: Implications for Denver's Fiscal Future and Administrative Policy.  "A primary purpose of this research," states the report, "is to provide the Denver Mayor with an appraisal of policy alternatives applicable to future regional development in the city and county."  Statistics and analysis on population growth, business and employment, taxation, land use, and housing prices  provide insight on the city's growth.  (In 1970, the Denver metropolitan area's median housing value was just $23,058!).  The report also examines the process of attracting and locating industry in Denver -- once again a hot topic.

The findings of the 1974 study can teach us some valuable lessons and provide perspective on the economic development of Denver in the past, today, and in the future.  The study authors conclude that "in the final analysis the city does have a choice, however. It can govern the city more or less passively letting private market forces largely determine its socio-economic and financial fate. Or it can govern actively, using the policy tools at its disposal to shape and form the economic base to conform to its view of what the city should be." This report is an excellent resource for policymakers, economists, and journalists to use in researching the history of Denver's growth and economic development.

Blocks and blocks of downtown Denver were demolished in the name of economic development in the 1970s as part of the Skyline Urban Renewal Project. This view shows construction at 18th and Arapahoe in 1979. Courtesy Denver Public Library Western History Department.


Educator Talent

The Colorado Department of Education recently reorganized all of its educator services into a new unit called Educator Talent.  This unit now has a website that contains a wealth of information on the teaching profession in Colorado, including resources on the educator shortage; licensing; performance management; educator preparation programs; resources for districts and BOCES; and much more.  Check out the Department's new Educator Talent webpage today.  For reports and publications, search our library's online catalog.


Protect Your Investments

Whether you are just getting started in the world of investing, or are looking to protect the investments you have, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) has established a website that provides a "wealth" of consumer information on how to manage and protect your investments.

Money: Safeguard Your Hard-Earned Assets includes many consumer tips on money management as well as how to protect yourself from fraud and scams.  The site provides a link to DORA's Investor Education site, where you can find consumer alerts, FAQs, and helpful links.  You can also learn about DORA's $ecure Colorado for Seniors initiative, a program designed "to help prevent financial fraud against senior citizens."  The webpage for this program includes printable brochures, powerpoints, and a link to request a live presentation from a DORA staff member at your senior center, library, or other community facility or group.

Be sure to check out the other Ask DORA webpages as well, providing consumer education on insurance, home repair, civil rights, utilities, and licensing.


Time Machine Tuesday: The Lost Town of Caribou, Colorado

It can't really be called a ghost town, because there's almost nothing left to mark the location of Caribou, Colorado, a silver mining town once located in Boulder County near Nederland.  Yet despite being nearly forgotten, the town of Caribou and its associated silver mines were a shining example of the boom-and-bust cycle of the mining West.

The silver mines at Caribou were established in 1869 and by the following year a townsite had been platted.  It was a cold, windy place to live, but nonetheless the miners and their families made it their home.  Historian Duane A. Smith, in his highly readable Silver Saga: The Story of Caribou, Colorado, points out that the people of Caribou were civil and law-abiding; this was no rowdy Leadville or Deadwood.  Many of Caribou's inhabitants were families, and the schoolhouse was one of the town's most prominent and recognizable buildings.  A significant number of Caribou residents were Cornish miners who brought their mining and cultural traditions from their native Cornwall in Britain.

The silver mines that gave rise to the town were initially very productive, but as time went on, the best ore was tapped out.  A host of well-known individuals were associated with the ownership of the Caribou mines, including Jerome Chaffee and David Moffat.  One longtime owner was New York financier R. G. Dun, best known today as the Dun of Dun & Bradstreet.  By the time Dun died in 1900, he had experienced major financial losses from the mine.  The mine had already been decreasing in production by the time of the Silver Crash in 1893, and several times over the years it had been closed and re-opened.  Financial problems, water issues, and low-grade ore all contributed to the mines' performing less than expected.

Caribou's population, at its height in the mid-1870s, steadily dwindled as the decades passed.  In the mid-1880s, several especially hard winters and even an earthquake challenged the residents' resolve.  After the 1893 panic, even more residents left.  Finally, in 1905, a major fire destroyed most of the town's buildings, and the few that remained were abandoned.  The high winds and heavy snows eventually toppled these few reminders that a thriving town had once been there.
Even though the town was gone, mining at Caribou wasn't completely dead.  The Biennial Report of the Bureau of Mines of the State of Colorado for 1917-18 reported that "in the Caribou mining district there has been a great revival in 1918."  Apparently this "revival" didn't last long, and there wouldn't be another one for several decades.  The 1952 report noted that "Boulder County's production of silver, the largest since 1917, came mostly from the Consolidated Caribou Mines, Incorporated."  The district saw a second, smaller revival in the 1970s when a gold mine was opened but, in keeping with its history, troubles still plague the mine today.

 Smith's Silver Saga, which can be checked out from our library, tells the whole story of the ups and downs of the mine and the town.  Ghost town enthusiasts should also read Waldo R. Wedel's "Visit to Caribou, 1963," in the Summer 1964 issue of Colorado Magazine.  In the 54 years that have since passed, very little of what Wedel describes can still be found.  And while human inhabitants may have long since left the area, Caribou is still home to a number of species of rare plants and animals, as detailed in a 1999 report from Colorado State University's Natural Heritage Program and Boulder Open Space.    

The town of Caribou, Colorado circa 1880s.  Courtesy Denver Public Library.


Online Career Help

Are you looking for a new job, or thinking of taking your career in a new direction?  The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment can assist.  Their Career Help webpage is a great resource that can help you find a job, training, or education.  You can use this site to link to a workforce center near you, where you can take a skills assessment and find information about the job market in your area.  Career Help also includes information specifically for youth and for veterans, links to labor market information, networking and job fairs, interviewing tips, and much more. 


Executive Clemency

The governor's power to grant or deny pardons has been in the news recently.  How does an offender apply for a pardon or commutation of sentence?  The answer can be found on the Colorado Department of Corrections' Clemency Requests webpage.  Here the steps for applying for clemency are outlined, along with facts about the process:

The governor shall have power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons after conviction, for all offenses except treason, and except in case of impeachment, subject to such regulations as may be prescribed by law relative to the manner of applying for pardons.  Clemency in Colorado has two types: commutation and pardon. A pardon may be granted after a conviction and is a public forgiveness for a crime after completion of the sentence. A commutation modifies a sentence. The procedure the Colorado Legislature has enacted for the commute and pardon process is found in Colorado Revised Statutes, §§ 16-17-101, 102. There are no fees required to apply for executive clemency and no time constraints under which any application for executive clemency must be processed.

See the webpage for guidelines and for a link to the application, which must be completed under the advisement of the offender's case manager.


Time Machine Tuesday: Rydberg's Flora

One of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century America's greatest botanists extensively studied the flora of Colorado, and left us what is still one of the most important works on the state's flowers.

Per Axel Rydberg (1860-1931) emigrated to the United States from Sweden in 1882.  His career as a botanist came somewhat by accident.  Upon moving to the United States, he planned to become a mining engineer, but while working in the iron mines of Michigan he suffered a serious leg injury that left him with a lifelong limp and closed the door on a mining career.  Instead, he turned to intellectual pursuits, paying his way through the University of Nebraska by teaching mathematics.  After receiving his M.A. Rydberg was hired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study the botany of Nebraska and South Dakota, publishing his first work in 1895.  He then when on to earn his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1898, and two years later, Rydberg first came to Colorado to study the state's flora.  Over the next three decades of his life Rydberg would specialize in studying the flora of the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains, discovering several plant species and publishing numerous works.  He also continued his connection to New York, serving as the first curator of the New York Botanical Garden Herbarium. 

Rydberg's publications include studies of the botany of Nebraska, Utah, Yellowstone National Park, and even the Yukon, but one of his most significant publications remains his 1906 Flora of Colorado, published by the Colorado Agricultural College's Experiment Station.  This nearly-500 page book has been digitized and is available online from our library.

Also from our library you can learn about some of the plants and flowers that Rydberg studied and discovered, which bear his name.  Some of these species are now rare or imperiled.  You can read conservation assessments from the Colorado State University's Natural Heritage Program on the following species named for Rydberg:


Mantherapy: A Resource for Men-tal Health

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), "Colorado's suicide rates are among the highest in the country, and males in Colorado are four times more likely to die by suicide than females."  CDPHE is working to combat this trend with an online resource called Mantherapy.  Originally launched in 2012, the site has recently been revamped, according to a news release from CDPHE.  New features of the site include resources for military/veterans and first responders, videos, and a new personal assessment tool called "head inspection."  The information is all presented in a friendly, humorous way that can help men deal with anger, depression, anxiety, grief, and more.

Image courtesy Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment


Butterfly Migration

If you love butterflies, this week has been an absolute delight along the Front Range as the painted lady butterflies migrate south.  Conditions this year have caused an explosion of the numbers of painted ladies, which is why we are seeing so many more than usual.  The orange butterflies, which are commonly mistaken for monarchs, are headed to Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico for the winter, according to an article in the Denver Post.  They enjoy a variety of flowers, especially asters, which are in bloom right now.  Last weekend was the peak for the migration through the Denver area, although many can still be seen.  The butterflies will also pass through on their way back north in April and May.

Colorado has many other butterfly species, as well.  Those who enjoy butterflies should see the CSU Extension's publication Attracting Butterflies to the Garden, which offers tips on creating a butterfly habitat along with lists of the best types of flowers to plant for attracting butterflies.

Painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies enjoying the asters at my home in Park Hill, September 16, 2017.


Time Machine Tuesday: The Colorado Agricultural Society

Colorado Territory had barely been established when a group of leading farmers, agriculturalists, and promoters got together and formed the Colorado Agricultural Society in 1861.  Society founders included such notables as William N. Byers (Denver promoter and founder of the Rocky Mountain News), Richard Sopris (future Denver mayor), William Gilpin (territorial governor), and William Larimer (founder of Denver).

The organization was already ten years old -- and Colorado hadn't even attained statehood yet -- when they kicked off their annual agricultural exhibition in Denver 146 years ago today, September 19, 1871.  In his newspaper Byers wrote that "the fair which opens to day will be the most extensive ever witnessed in Colorado."  (You can read the full article online via the State Library's Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection.) 

The exhibition, on the eastern outskirts of the city, boasted a fairgrounds of forty acres with a mile-long racetrack and "an elegant new grandstand...with orchestra for musicians, and seats for the accommodation of 3,000 persons" -- especially interesting since Denver's entire population in 1870 was only 4,759.  The fairgrounds also included stock pens, a 2-story building with "a large and commodious dining hall," a 150-foot circular pavilion for agricultural displays, "ladies' and gentlemens' saloons," and "a large hall for minerals, fine arts and fancy goods."  This description comes from the Agricultural Society's biennial report and report of the exhibition, which you can view online from our library.  The document also includes a history of the Society and a report of the previous year's (1870) exhibition, as well as the society's annual reports for both years. Detailed "programmes" for the 1870 and 1871 exhibitions can also be found.  The lists of all of the prize winners are also included.  Mrs. H. B. Bearce must have been especially talented; she won first prize in three categories: "best worked pair slippers," "best display bead work," and "best embroidered chemise."  It might have helped, though, that her husband was President of the Society!

The Colorado Agricultural Society was dissolved in 1873 and the task of promoting agriculture in Colorado went to the Colorado Industrial Association.  Smaller, local fairs such as county fairs were held in lieu of the territorial fair until 1882, when Denver constructed a huge pavilion for a major Mining and Industrial Exposition.  Although mining was the major focus of this exposition, it did include large displays devoted to agriculture and other industries.  This exposition was located near South Broadway and what is now Exposition Avenue.  It was only held for three years; a major decline in attendance at the 1884 fair spelled the demise of the exposition.  Later, in 1901, the Colorado State Fair was established in Pueblo, where it is still held every year.


College and University Veteran Services

Colorado's state-funded colleges and universities support veterans and active-duty servicemembers in a variety of ways, from tuition benefits to job placement assistance to mental health services.  If you are a servicemember or veteran who is thinking of applying to a Colorado higher education institution, the following list provides links to the different veterans programs offered by each college or university:

Adams State College:  Veteran's Educational Benefits
Colorado Community College System:  Veteran Education & Training
Colorado Mesa University:  Veteran Services
Colorado School of Mines:  Veterans Services
Colorado State University:  Services for Veterans at CSU
Colorado State University - Global Campus:  Military Tuition Assistance and Benefits
Colorado State University - Pueblo:  Military and Veterans Success Center
Fort Lewis College:  VA Educational Benefits
Metropolitan State University of Denver:  Veteran and Military Student Support Services
University of Colorado - Boulder:  Office of Veteran Services
University of Colorado - Colorado Springs:  Office of Veteran and Military Student Affairs
University of Colorado - Denver: Veteran & Military Student Services
University of Northern Colorado: Veterans Services
Western State Colorado University: Veteran Educational Benefits



September is National Preparedness Month

The recent hurricane events have demonstrated the importance of being prepared for disaster.  Even though we don't get hurricanes in our state, there are a number of other disasters to prepare for -- including both natural disasters (floods, fires, tornadoes, storms, avalanches, rockslides) and manmade disasters (terrorism, active shooters, power outages).  There are many personal incidents to prepare for as well -- illness, identity theft, personal safety, home protection, and more.  ReadyColorado.com, sponsored by Colorado's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, can help you prepare for hazards large and small. 

On the site you can find resources on how to create a preparedness plan for your home or office; how to stay informed of emergencies in your area; a calendar of events and training; 8 signs of terrorism; a natural hazards map; pet safety; resources for educators; resources for people with disabilities; and a blog.  Recent entries in their blog include a wide variety of topics including pedestrian safety, business continuity planning, bears, immunizations, heatstroke prevention, campfire safety, internet safety, and drone safety.  Before the next disaster - personal or community-wide - affects you, check out this informative site.


Time Machine Tuesday: Trappers, Traders and Mountain Men

In the early decades of the nineteenth century, French, English, and American fur trappers came to Colorado, living a rugged existence in the mountains.  They traded with -- and often married into -- Indian tribes, and sent pelts back to "the States," where beaver hats were fashionable.  James Baker and Leroy Hafen, in their 1927 History of Colorado, reported that the first recorded trapper-trader in Colorado was James Purcell in 1802, a year before the Louisiana Purchase.  In the book the authors provide a detailed history of the fur trade and of the men who trapped and traded in what was to become Colorado.  The full 5-volume history has been digitized by our library.

The Colorado Magazine, published by the Colorado Historical Society from 1923 to 1980, also detailed the lives of several mountain men.  Articles include:
Born into slavery in 1805, James P. Beckwourth became one of Colorado's most famous mountain men.


Colorado and the Aerospace Industry

Aerospace has been designated by the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade as one of Colorado's fourteen key industries that "drive our state's economy through innovation and growth."  Colorado has several large aerospace companies, and the Governor's Office has identified aerospace as one of the industries they want to see grow in Colorado.  Partnering with the Brookings Institute, the Governor's Office in 2013 issued Launch! Taking Colorado's Space Economy to the Next Level, which details "a forward thinking business strategy to support the Aerospace Industry in Colorado.  This report affords us the opportunity to capitalize on the strengths of Colorado's Aerospace sector and develop strategies to collaboratively address the challenges facing the industry."  For this and other reports on the aerospace industry in Colorado, search our library's online catalog.


West Nile Virus

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) reminds us that "summer may be waning, but West Nile Virus season isn't."  According to their press release, August and September are the months with the highest occurrences of the mosquito-transmitted virus, and "transmission to people is on the rise." 

The CDPHE gathers data on West Nile cases and is the state's main resource for information on the prevention of human cases of the virus.  See their West Nile Virus webpage for resources such as FAQs, prevention tips, data and statistics, and resources for health care providers.  You can also find reports and data from CDPHE by searching our library's online catalog.

Animals, especially horses, can also be affected by the virus.  Refer to the Colorado Department of Agriculture for information on equine West Nile Virus.  Also be sure to see their publication West Nile Virus Encephalitis: A Guide for Horse Owners, available from our library.

Finally, be sure to visit the state's Fight the Bite Colorado website for more resources.


Hurricane Information

2017 is turning out to be a historic year for hurricane activity in the U.S., as the Gulf Coast works to recover from Hurricane Harvey and the Atlantic Coast braces for Hurricane Irma.  While we don't have to worry about hurricanes in Colorado, our state's two largest universities both engage in significant research on hurricanes.

At Colorado State University, the Tropical Meteorology Project predicts Atlantic hurricane activity and landfall probability each year.  The project was founded by renowned scientist Dr. William Gray, who passed away in 2016.  Gray began his annual predictions in 1984, and they are continued today by his mentee, Dr. Phil Klotzbach of CSU's Department of Atmospheric Science.  So what did Klotzbach predict for this year?  You can find the 2017 (and previous years') predictions available online from our library.  The reports contain lots of stats and data supporting the predictions, but the bottom line is, on August 4 Klotzbach and associate Michael Bell predicted that "the probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States Coastline and in the Caribbean is above-normal."  Given what we are seeing right now as Irma gathers speed in the Caribbean, it looks like the researchers were spot-on.

A different kind of hurricane research takes place at the University of Colorado.  Instead of predicting hurricanes, researchers at the university's Natural Hazards Center study the aftermath of the events, how they affect the people who live through them, and how emergency responders can learn from the events.  While the Center researches all kinds of disasters, hurricanes make up a significant part of their research because there have been so many devastating ones in the last several decades.  You can find the Center's reports in our library; some particularly apropos titles include: 
Check out the Natural Hazards Center's website for preliminary resources on Hurricane Harvey.

*As of this writing the possibility exists for Hurricane Irma to exceed Hurricane Andrew in intensity and damage in Florida.  This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Hurricane Andrew.


Colorado's Labor History

This coming Monday is Labor Day.  Because so much of Colorado's development was tied in with mining, transportation, and other industry, and because of events like the Ludlow Massacre, the state has been a significant part of the history of the labor movement in America.  Here are some resources, both current and historical, available from our library that tell the story of labor Colorado:

Agricultural and migrant workers:

Child labor:

Immigration policy:

Labor Movement and the Progressive Era:

  • The Archaeology of Class War:  The Colorado Coalfield Strike of 1913-1914, University Press of Colorado, 2009
  • Coal People:  Life in Southern Colorado's Company Towns, by Rick J. Clyne, Colorado Historical Society, 1999
  • From Redstone to Ludlow:  John Cleveland Osgood's Struggle Against the United Mine Workers of America, by F. Darrell Munsell, University Press of Colorado, 2009
  • The Gospel of Progressivism:  Moral Reform and Labor War in Colorado, 1900-1930 by R. Todd Laugen, University Press of Colorado, 2010
  • The Great Coalfield War, by George S. McGovern, University Press of Colorado, 1996
  • Industrializing the Rockies:  Growth, Competition, and Turmoil in the Coalfields of Colorado and Wyoming, 1868-1914 by David A. Wolff, University Press of Colorado, 2003
  • The Lessons of Leadville, or, Why the Western Federation of Miners Turned Left, by William Philpott, Colorado Historical Society, 1995
  • Making an American Workforce:  The Rockefellers and the Legacy of Ludlow, by Fawn-Amber Montoya, University Press of Colorado, 2014 
  • Persistent Progressives:  The Rocky Mountain Farmers' Union, by John F. Freeman, University Press of Colorado, 2016 
  • Radicalism in the Mountain West, 1890-1920: Socialists, Populists, Miners, and Wobblies, by David R. Berman, University Press of Colorado, 2007 
  • "Remember Ludlow!" by Joanna Sampson, Colorado Historical Society, 1999
  • Representation and Rebellion:  The Rockefeller Plan at the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, 1914-1942, by Jonathan H. Rees, University Press of Colorado, 2010 
  • Western Voices: 125 Years of Colorado Writing, Colorado Historical Society, 2004
  • A Wide-Awake Woman:  Josephine Roche in the Era of Reform, by Elinor McGinn, Colorado Historical Society, 2002 
  • Working in Colorado:  A Brief History of the Colorado Labor Movement, University of Colorado, 1971


Statistics and studies:


This is just a small sampling of the many resources on this topic available from our library.  For further resources, including current labor trends, employment statistics, guidance on labor laws, state labor and employment programs, and more, search our library's online catalog.

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