Time Machine Tuesday: Denver's Trees

Friday, April 27 is Arbor Day, a day for encouraging the planting of trees and celebrating their importance.  Today, Arbor Day is somewhat overlooked, being mostly supplanted by Earth Day. But a century ago, Arbor Day was a pretty big deal.

During the early decades of the 20th century, urban areas around the nation were swept up in the City Beautiful Movement, a movement to enhance cities by adding parks, parkways, and monumental, neoclassical civic architecture inspired by the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.  In Denver, Mayor Robert Speer was one of the movement's strongest advocates.  On Arbor Day, Mayor Speer would give away thousands of free trees, and schoolchildren would plant trees in Denver's City Park.

Denverites wait in line to receive their free trees on Arbor Day, 1912. 18,000 trees were given away that day.  Photo from Denver Municipal Facts, v.4 n.17, 1912.

Among the most popular trees in Denver were American elm, ash, locust, maple, and birch, according to The Shade Trees of Denver, a 1905 publication from the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station that has been digitized and made available online from our library.  This publication includes tips for planting trees and discussion of the various types and how well they grow in Colorado.  The best part, however, is the series of plates at the end of the book, illustrating the various tree types in Denver.  Examples are shown from parks as well as from the grounds of some of Denver's large estates: 

Ash trees in City Park
Hackberry tree in Fairmount Cemetery
Sycamore tree on the grounds of the Kountze Mansion at 16th and Grant

For other resources about growing trees in Colorado, search our library's online catalog.  Also, for a look at how Arbor Day was celebrated in the public schools, see the Superintendent of Public Instruction's Arbor Day books from 1908, 1911, and 1912, available online from our library.


Call 811 Before Digging

Gov. Hickenlooper has proclaimed April 2018 as "Dig Safely Month in Colorado."  The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) reminds property owners and contractors to call 811 at least three days before any digging project. You can also submit a request online. Upon receiving the request, local utility companies will be dispatched to the property to mark underground utility lines. "Every nine minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first contacting 811.  Striking a single utility line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages," says the PUC.  "Installing a mailbox, building a deck, and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that should only begin after contacting 811."  The service is free.  Go to colorado811.org/  or view the Colorado 811 procedures guide for more information.


Surveying Historic Properties

What are the hidden stories behind the buildings in your community? How can you determine which ones should be preserved as part of your community's heritage?  One of the tools that historic preservationists use to answer these questions is the historic survey.  Surveying historic properties can mean anything from what is known as the "windshield survey" -- a quick drive or walk down the street to visually identify architecturally significant historic properties -- to a detailed survey involving research into the the history of individual properties on a street or in a neighborhood or town.

History Colorado's Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP) has published a number of helpful guides on how preservationists can conduct historic surveys.  To learn about the benefits of conducting a historic survey, see OAHP's brochure Why Survey?  Two OAHP publications are mentioned in this brochure as important tools for communities using the survey process to identify historic resources: the Colorado Cultural Resource Survey Manual and the Field Guide to Colorado's Historic Architecture & Engineering. Both of these publications can be accessed from our library. If your survey includes in-depth research on historic properties, another helpful resource is OAHP's Researching the History of Your House, which provides helpful information and a checklist of what, and where, to search. For more resources, see our library's Historic Preservation in Colorado subject resource guide, or visit OAHP's website.

Historic surveys can be helpful tools for both large and small communities.  The City of Denver is currently engaged in a city-wide historic building survey, Discover Denver, which is supported in part by a grant from OAHP's State Historical Fund.

Photo courtesy Denver Public Library Western History & Genealogy Department.


Time Machine Tuesday: The State Board of Land Commissioners

One of Colorado's oldest state agencies is the State Board of Land Commissioners, known informally as the State Land Board.  The Land Board was established in 1876 at the time of Colorado's statehood.  Its purpose is to manage lands granted to Colorado by the Federal Government in public trusts that financially benefit public schools and institutions.  The Land Board is the second-largest landowner in Colorado, after the Federal Government itself.  The money to fund schools and other public institutions is raised through leasing the land for agriculture, resource extraction, renewable energy, and recreational uses. 

Our library has digitized the Land Board's annual/biennial reports back to 1903. In these reports researchers can find detailed lists of land transactions, statistics on funding to schools and institutions, and data on mineral leases, timber sales, and other revenue-generating activity. (To see more recent reports up to the present day, click here.)  For historical information on land laws, see another Land Board publication that has been digitized by our library, Colorado's State Land Laws (1917). Finally, check out this fun interactive timeline that the Land Board has posted on their website.


Get Ready for Wildfire Season

With this past winter being relatively dry, fire danger is expected to be higher than usual this year, especially in areas of lower elevation.  The State of Colorado has numerous resources to help you prepare.
  • This consumer alert from the Colorado Division of Insurance will help you determine if your property is adequately insured.
  • The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention & Control offers a helpful Wildfire Information Resource Center website. Here you can find information on education and public awareness, preparedness and mitigation, fire bans and restrictions, and information on any current fires.
  • READYColorado's wildfire page also has many helpful tips. 
  • The Colorado State Forest Service's Wildfire Mitigation website is another helpful resource.  Here you can find information on how to protect your home, as well as about wildfire education programs that can help communities prepare.  Also, you can use their Colorado Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal to help determine if you are at risk.
  • Planning for Hazards: Wildfire is a resource from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs that can help communities plan for wildfire.
Be sure also to check out these helpful state publications:


Citizen Science

Colorado State University's Natural Resources Economy Lab (NREL), along with several other partners, has developed CitSci.org, a site where everyday citizens can go to contribute data and scientific research.  Using the site, researchers can create a project, collect data, and view the results.  For instance, one of the site's projects is a the "Front Range Pika Project," where volunteers log photos and data on sightings of this endangered mountain critter. Other projects include tree species mapping, water data, birdwatching observations, invasive species monitoring, beaver sightings, butterfly-plant interactions, an amphibian survey, and much more.  You can log in to volunteer for any of the projects, or access the data to learn about the natural environment in Colorado and other states.

CSU also sponsors another, separate but also citizen-driven scientific data collection site, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, or CoCoRAHS.  As suggested in its name, this site relies on citizen volunteers to collect meteorological data.  You can use their site to find maps and data on precipitation, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, and climate. 


Time Machine Tuesday: The Victor Labor War of 1903-04

Victor, Colorado, near Cripple Creek in Teller County, is one of Colorado's most historic mining towns. Incorporated in 1894, Victor flourished during the gold mining era that followed the Silver Crash of 1893. The repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act meant that silver mining, which had been a huge part of Colorado's economy, was no longer profitable. So mining interests instead turned to the gold mines, and the Cripple Creek District became the heart of Colorado gold mining. Victor reached a peak population of about 12,000 at the turn of the century, making it, for a time, one of the largest cities in Colorado.

Victor's first period of labor unrest occurred in 1894. That year, striking miners demanded a minimum daily wage of $3.00 and an eight-hour workday.  The issue was resolved in favor of the miners, but in 1903 the miners again went on strike after mine owners quit honoring the agreement. Nearly 4,000 miners walked off the job under the direction of labor leader "Big Bill" Haywood.  Working with the Western Federation of Miners, the strikers managed to shut down several mines, but when the mining companies brought in strikebreakers and "scabs," violence ensued.

The Miner's Union Hall in Victor, Colorado in 1904.
At the Vindicator Mine, two non-union replacement workers, or "scabs," were killed when striking miners set off explosives in the mine.  Then, on January 27, 1904, fifteen men were killed and another man seriously injured when an elevator cable inside the Independence Mine was sabotaged, causing the miners to fall to their deaths. Following the two incidents, Governor James Peabody declared martial law and ordered the state militia to quell the strike. "Striking miners were arrested and detained in bull pens," according to an article in the Colorado Encyclopedia, and "the entire staff of the Victor Daily Record was arrested after printing an anti-mine owners editorial." 

The militia withdrew in the spring of 1904 and violence started up again.  Striking miners bombed a train depot in the nearby town of Independence, killing thirteen more nonunion workers. It took several more years of unrest before the strike was finally settled in 1907.

In their 1904 report, the State Commissioner of Mines reported on the deadly incidents at the Vindicator and Independence Mines, referring to both as "accidents" but acknowledging that the Independence Mine incident "was caused by premeditated plan executed by someone unknown."  The report contains not only the Commissioner's official report of the incident, but also reprints correspondence from the State Attorney General to Governor Peabody regarding the matter along with the official report of a Board of Inquiry that looked into the elevator incident. The Board of Inquiry and the Attorney General recommended a study of new safety devices for mine elevator shafts, and the report includes several illustrations of pulley devices proposed for study.

The report, which has been digitized by our library and is now available online, is a significant primary source document now available to scholars researching the history of Colorado mining and associated labor struggles. The 1904 report is part of a series of annual and biennial reports that were produced by the State Bureau of Mines and have been digitized by our library; reports from 1894 through 1965 are available online. Search our library's online catalog for more resources, both primary and secondary, that tell the story of mining and labor history in Colorado.

Newspaper articles such as these from the Eagle County Blade (January 28, 1904), top, and the San Miguel Examiner (January 30, 1904), bottom, are available online from the Colorado State Library's Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection.

Miner's Union Hall photo courtesy Denver Public Library Western History & Genealogy Department.


State Government Facilities Planning

What is the State of Colorado's vision for the future of its buildings?  Although sometimes overlooked, buildings are one of the state government's most important assets.  Running the government requires offices and a Capitol building.  Colleges and universities couldn't exist without classrooms, libraries, labs, athletic facilities, and community spaces.  So maintaining these structures - and building and acquiring new ones as our state's population grows - require significant planning.  The various "campuses" of state buildings - including higher education campuses and the Capitol Complex - have developed Master Plans that include building inventories, maintenance needs, new development, and projected associated costs.  Many of these Master Plans are available from our library:
  • In 2014 a new Capitol Complex Master Plan was released.  The Capitol Complex is the campus of state buildings including the State Capitol and the various satellite state office buildings.  The State of Colorado previously issued master plans for the Capitol Complex in 1966 and 1989.  These plans can be checked out in print from our library or through Prospector.
  • The University of Colorado's current (2011) master plan for its Boulder campus can be viewed here, and for comparison its previous (2001) plan can be viewed here.
  • Colorado State University's current (2014) master plan can be viewed here. CSU also issued a separate Parking and Transportation Master Plan.  Older CSU master plans from the 1970s and 1980s are available in print from our library.
  • The Auraria Higher Education Center updates its master plan about every five years. The 2017, 2012, 2007, and 2001 plans are all available online.  See also the campus's Strategic Implementation Plan (2012) for more facilities planning information. To see the campus's earliest planning report see the campus Concept Report (1968), which has been digitized by our library.
  • Although a part of the Auraria Campus, the University of Colorado Denver also issued their own master plan in 2017.
  • The Anschutz Medical Campus's 2012/2013 Facilities Master Plan can be viewed here. For historical purposes a 1998 master plan for the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center's old 9th and Colorado campus is also available.
  • Planning for the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley is divided into several different master plans covering different areas, all available to view here. A previous (1981) plan is also available in print from our library.
  • The current (2012) master plan for the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs is available online here.
  • Planning documents for the Colorado Mesa University campus in Grand Junction are available here.
  • Fort Lewis College planning documents can be viewed here.


Colorado's Own Tartan

Today is National Tartan Day.  Did you know that Colorado has a state tartan?  According to information from the State Archives, the Colorado tartan, or plaid pattern, "is comprised of a pattern and colors that symbolize Colorado's splendor and history." The colors of the tartan include forest green, cerulean blue, black, lavender, and white - colors that bring to mind evergreen trees, blue sky, columbines, and snowy peaks. Although it is a Celtic tartan, Colorado's pattern may be worn by "any resident or friend of Colorado," even if they are not of Celtic heritage.  To read the original 1997 House Joint Resolution designating the official Colorado tartan, click here.  Although April 6 is National Tartan Day, a previous resolution designated July 1 as Colorado Tartan Day -- giving you two chances to wear your Colorado colors!


Time Machine Tuesday: Salmonella Outbreak

It's not a pleasant topic, but it's certainly an important one for cities and towns to learn from.  Exactly ten years ago, in March and April 2008, the city of Alamosa experienced a deadly Salmonella outbreak that caused at least 442 confirmed illnesses and, according to estimates, as many as 1,300 people - 15% of Alamosa's population - may have gotten sick.  One person died.  The cause?  Contaminated drinking water.  "Alamosa's drinking water comes from deep artesian wells in an aquifer considered to be a protected groundwater source. Prior to the outbreak, the city's drinking water was not chlorinated for disinfection. A waiver from the statewide requirement for disinfection was granted to Alamosa in 1974," according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). CDPHE conducted a major cleanup, investigation, and review of the incident and set forth recommendations for strategies that local water systems can use to help reduce the likelihood of waterborne disease outbreaks.  These strategies, along with data and an explanation of the 2008 Alamosa event, can be found in the CDPHE's report Waterborne Salmonella Outbreak in Alamosa, Colorado, March and April 2008: Outbreak Identification, Response, and Investigation, available online from our library.

Alamosa Water Works. Photo courtesy CDPHE.


Colorado Air Quality Data

Each year since 1979 the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has produced an annual Colorado Air Quality Data Report. This report offers detailed data on Colorado air quality, including regional air quality data; pollutants exceeding recommended levels; data on specific pollutants such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter; variables such as meteorology; quality assurance procedures; assessment; and more. If you are looking for data on Colorado's air quality this is the report you need.  Our library has the reports online going back to 2000; reports prior to 2000 can be viewed in or checked out from our library, or requested through Prospector.


Four-Day School Weeks

District 60 in Pueblo has announced that in August it will transition to a four-day school week.  Many Colorado school districts have already made the transition; in fact, according to the Colorado Department of Education, ninety-eight school districts and several charter schools have adopted four-day schedules.  It should be noted that even though they're attending schools one less day a week, students are not spending less time in class; instead, they attend school for 7.5 hours instead of the traditional 6 hours.  The added class time can result in more in-depth lessons and can also reduce "latchkey" time when parents work. 

Some of the popular reasons for switching to a four-day week include cost savings on transportation, utilities, and food services; a reduction in absenteeism; more time for teachers to work on grading and lesson planning; etc. If your district is considering a four-day school week, take a look at the Colorado Department of Education's The Four-Day School Week Information Manual (2017) for more in-depth explanations of the reasons for switching, as well as data on how four-day weeks have worked for schools who have been on these schedules for a few years now.  See also the CDE research report entitled A Comparison of Colorado School Districts Operating on Four-Day and Five-Day Calendars (2009).

The law allowing Colorado school districts to experiment with four-day weeks was first passed in 1980. Some early studies on the program, including Student Achievement in the Four-Day School Week and An Evaluation of the Four-Day School Week in Colorado, can be checked out in print from our library.


Time Machine Tuesday: The Parshall Flume

Water is a precious resource in Colorado, so its use and conservation have been extensively studied by scientists throughout Colorado history.  One of the best known scientists to study Colorado water was Ralph Parshall, who developed the Parshall Flume.

The Parshall Flume is "a device that, when placed in a channel, measures the flow of the water as it uniquely relates to water depth. Today, the Parshall Flume is still widely used to help gain more accurate measurements of water flow," according to information in Colorado State University's Water Resources Archive. Parshall conducted much of his hydrology research as a member of CSU's faculty in the first half of the 20th century.  The Water Resources Archive has created an online exhibit about Parshall and the development of his flume.  Items in the exhibit include photos, drawings, and patents.

Parshall developed his flume as a modification of the Venturi Flume.  In the 1920s, '30s, and '40s Parshall authored several publications about the flumes and their development.  These publications have been digitized and are available online from our library:
Parshall Flumes are still in use today.  See the State Engineer's Office's publication Parshall Flume: Instructions for Installation and Table of Discharge for more current technical information.

Ralph Parshall taking flume measurements in 1946.  Photo courtesy Colorado State University Water Resources Archive.


New Colorado Information Resource: Colorado Encyclopedia

This post was written by Regan Harper and has been re-posted with permission from coloradovirtuallibrary.org.  

Have you ever wished that you could find all of the facts about Colorado and its interesting history and geography in one place for easy one stop access to local, pertinent, information?  Well, wish no more – because such a resource is already here.

Colorado Humanities, in collaboration with Colorado State University Libraries, the University Press of Colorado, and History Colorado, is pleased to announce that the Colorado Encyclopedia is now available at http://coloradoencyclopedia.org. As the state’s only scholar-reviewed encyclopedia, Colorado Encyclopedia is a vetted, mobile-friendly resource that currently includes 680 articles and associated media, including photos, video, and timelines.

Topics include individuals and towns, all 64 counties, 335 historic/archaeological sites, cultures, movements, and more. A one-stop resource for Colorado students and educators, CE also features 90 sets of articles written for 4th-, 8th-, and 10th-grade reading levels, links to digital primary source collections, and curriculum materials authored by Colorado teachers.

The Colorado Encyclopedia is still in its early days, but there are plans in the works to add a lot more content, more topics, and much more great locally sourced information.  Check out the Colorado Encyclopedia often and watch it grow before your eyes.


Pesticide Safety

This is National Poison Prevention Week, and if you work in the agriculture industry, one of the poisons that you will most frequently encounter is pesticides.  If you are someone who handles or administers pesticides, or are an employer of those who do so, here are some resources from the State of Colorado that provide helpful tips on how to stay safe around pesticides.  Resources listed without web links can be checked out in print from our library or through Prospector.
Our library also has a series of Pesticide Application and Safety Training Study Guides from the Colorado State University Extension and the Colorado Department of AgricultureEach guidebook covers a single subject, such as weeds and insects, and application area, such as forest, rangeland, household, ornamental/garden, aquatic, and agricultural. Search our library's online catalog for a list of titles.


Time Machine Tuesday: Springtime!!

Hooray for the first day of Spring!  Coloradans have always enjoyed springtime, with our mild and sunny weather.  A century ago, however, Coloradans celebrated more springtime holidays than we do today.  The State of Colorado Spring Holiday Book 1913 is a fun look back at some springtime holidays we still celebrate, like Mother's Day, and others that have mostly been forgotten, like Good Roads Day.

The Spring Holiday Book was published by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for use by teachers to help plan lessons around the holidays.  They include songs, stories, poems, artwork, and other items, such as "how to tell the age of a tree."  Many of the items were contributed by well-known Colorado writers.  Also contained in this volume are many wonderful historical photos of Colorado schoolchildren and their celebrations; Colorado scenery; and more. 

This book is a treasure for what it tells us about life and culture in Colorado more than a century ago.  It could also make a fun resource for today's teachers to use to teach kids about life in Colorado's past.  This particular copy, which has been digitized by our library, is extra fun because it includes handwritten notes in the margins from some long-ago teacher.

Photo of the Adams County Schoolhouse, from the Spring Holiday Book


March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Falls, car accidents, and sports injuries can all be causes of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which affects all ages.  Statistics from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment show that the 15-24 age group has the highest number of hospitalizations for TBI, but people over 85 had the highest number of TBI-related deaths. Our library has many helpful resources for learning about brain injury, including information for specific age groups:

Babies and toddlers:
Children and Youth:
The elderly:
General population:
Helpful websites:


Colorado State Library/Aspen Institute Report on Public Libraries

In May 2017 the Aspen Institute Colorado Dialogue on Public Libraries convened to give community and civil leaders from across the state the opportunity to "explore new thinking and practical solutions for using the infrastructure and expertise of public libraries to build more resilient communities in Colorado."  The event was conducted as a partnership between the Aspen Institute and the Colorado State Library.  The partners have now issued a new report based on the discussion and "how communities can more effectively use libraries to improve and enhance the lives of their residents."  This report contains helpful information not just for Colorado communities, but can be applied to communities nationwide. The report has been featured in Library Journal and elsewhere.

For more information see the Dialogue website or the State Library's press release.


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado's First Ladies

March is Women's History Month, an appropriate time to recognize the First Ladies of our state.  Whether they came to Colorado as pioneers or worked to leave the state a better place, these ladies led very interesting lives. In the 1960s and '70s Helen Cannon of the Colorado Historical Society profiled a number of the state's earliest first ladies in Colorado Magazine, which is now available online.  The following ladies were profiled.
Finally, for a look at some of the more recent First Ladies, see the Colorado Historical Society's book Queen of the Hill: The Private Life of the Colorado Governor's Mansion, available for checkout from our library.


Beware of Callers Using False Caller ID Information

Are you frustrated with the number of unwanted phone calls you receive?  The No Call List has been in place for nearly two decades now, but telephone scammers have come up with a new way around it -- they alter how their phone number shows up on caller IDs.  New technologies enable scammers, telemarketers, and other unwanted callers target people by using a fake phone number -- often one that starts with the same three digits as the victim's number -- to make it look like a local call or somebody from their neighborhood.  By using these fake numbers as a disguise, they make it difficult for victims to report the calls. 

So what can you do?  The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has just released a new Consumer Alert on this topic.  They warn that since this practice, known as "spoofing," is often used in an attempt to steal your personal information, don't ever give account numbers, passwords, social security numbers and other sensitive information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call. 

If you suspect you have been a victim of such a scam, or if you just want to learn more, go to the Colorado Attorney General's Stop Fraud Colorado website, where you can find educational information as well as how to report a complaint.  Also, for more information on Colorado's No Call Law see the Colorado Legislative Council's Issue Brief.


The Dent Archaeological Site

Near Milliken, Colorado is the Dent Site, one of Colorado's oldest and most significant archaeological sites.  It was discovered in 1932 by a railroad foreman, who spotted some very large bones sticking out of the mud near the railroad tracks.  Construction of the tracks, combined with heavy spring rains, had exposed a site that had been covered since the last ice age.

After the discovery of the site in 1932, Professor Conrad Bilgery of Regis University and curator Jesse Figgins of the Denver Museum of Natural History studied the bones and determined them to be the skeletons of ice age mammoths.  They uncovered five adult female mammoth skeletons along with eight young mammoths. But the most important information yielded at the site was not about mammoths, but about people. Found nearby the mammoths were two Clovis spear points.  These spears were used by people now known as belonging to the Clovis culture, which existing approximately 12,000 years ago. The mammoth bones also showed marks consistent with having been butchered, showing that mammoth was an important part of these early peoples' diets.

Research at the site resumed in the 1970s through the early 2000s, when new techniques such as radiocarbon dating were used.  Since its discovery, the Dent Site has offered fascinating information on the diets and hunting techniques of some of North America's earliest human inhabitants, as well as on long-extinct animal species.

The artifacts uncovered at the Dent Site are now part of the collections of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (formerly the Denver Natural History Museum).  They along with the University Press of Colorado published a book, Crossroads of Culture, about the museum's anthropology collections. A copy of this book can be checked out from our library.  Here you will find more on the story of the Dent Site discovery along with photos of the site in 1932 and of the Clovis points that were discovered there.

Another resource available from our library is Frontiers in Paleoindian Archaeology:  From the Dent Site to the Rocky Mountains, also a publication of the University Press of Colorado. 

Finally, for many more resources on archaeology and paleontology in Colorado, search our library's online catalog or see this list of archaeology publications from History Colorado.


Time Machine Tuesday: Byers-Evans House Museum

Nestled between the looming structures of the Denver Art Museum is a hidden treasure, the Byers-Evans House Museum at 1310 Bannock Street.  Built in 1883 for Rocky Mountain News founder William Byers and owned for over 90 years by the Evans family, this lovely Italianate house is now a museum property owned by History Colorado.  Restored to the 1910s-1920s period, the house features original furnishings belonging to the Byers and Evans families, as well as exact-reproduction wallpapers and other elements that truly give you the feeling of stepping back in time.

The Byers-Evans House in the mid-1880s, when it was home to the Byers family.  Denver street names have changed since then, so the home's original address was 1310 South 14th St.  Photo courtesy Denver Public Library Western History & Genealogy Department

A tour of the museum is a real treat, but of course a tour can never tell the full story.  If you're interested in learning more about the history of the Byers-Evans House, you can check out from our library The House in the Heart of the City: The Byers and Evans Families of Denver, a special issue of Colorado Heritage magazine from the museum's opening in 1989.  Also, you can find biographies of Governor John Evans, the family patriarch, and his son William Gray Evans, the house's owner, in LeRoy Hafen's 1927 History of Colorado, all five volumes of which have been digitized by our library.  William Evans' sister Anne contributed greatly to Denver's art community, which you can read about in History Colorado's publication The Denver Artists' Guild.  Finally, short biographies of Anne Evans and of the home's original owner, William Byers, are available from the Colorado Virtual Library.

A fun fact:  Before moving to 1310 Bannock, William Byers lived in a home on the site of what is now the Colorado State Library's building at Colfax and Sherman.


Worker Safety and Health in the Marijuana Industry

One of the most frequently accessed publications in our entire library collection is the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment's 2017 Guide to Worker Safety and Health in the Marijuana IndustryAs the industry grows (no pun intended) in our state and in many other parts of the nation, more and more people are finding employment in this industry.  If you are one of them, be sure to check out this helpful resource, which includes information to

  • Assist in the recognition of occupational health hazards that might be present within the marijuana industry.
  • Identify specific existing federal, state, and local safety and health related regulations that may apply to the marijuana industry
  • Provide initial recommendations for engineering, administrative and personal protective equipment controls that can be used to help eliminate or reduce hazards in the marijuana industry.
  • Provide information and resources to assist employers in developing written workplace safety and health programs.
  • Provide information to help develop marijuana worker safety training programs.


Statistics on Seat Belt Use

One of the easiest things you can do to protect yourself when you get in the car is to fasten your seat belt.  Yet each year there are still many people who needlessly lose their lives simply because they didn't buckle up.  According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the average rate of seat belt use in Colorado is just 84%, lower than the national average of 90.1%.  During a seat belt enforcement campaign spanning two weeks in May-June 2017, including Memorial Day weekend, a whopping 5,505 drivers were cited for seat belt violations, with an additional 217 ticketed for driving with improperly restrained children.

CDOT notes that "In 2016, 180 people who weren't buckled up lost their lives in traffic crashes on Colorado roadways. If everyone had buckled up, nearly half of the victims would have lived."  That exact same number of fatalities also occurred in 2013. That year, CDOT issued an infographic Unbuckled and Uncensored, which offers further insight on these fatalities.  For instance, this publication illustrates that more men than women failed to buckle up; 49% of the unbuckled fatalities were alcohol-related; and 63% of fatal crashes involved a pickup truck or SUV. 

You can find statistical information on seat belt use, car seats, and other safety measures both on CDOT's website and from our library.  CDOT publishes several annual reports about seat belt use, which you can access from our library:
Older data, for comparison purposes, can be found in
Also, for more about what the state is doing to try to promote seat belt use, see the CDOT research report Identification of Appropriate Investment Levels to Maintain and Improve Seat Belt Usage Rates in the State of Colorado.

Image courtesy CDOT 


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado's Vote Against the Olympics

The 2018 winter games have come and gone, and once again Colorado's leaders are looking to the future and hoping to get the Olympics to come to Colorado.  What many newcomers may not remember, however, is that Colorado was once awarded the Olympic games -- and the people said no.

In 1970 the International Olympic Committee awarded the 1976 winter games to Colorado, which would have coincided with the centennial-bicentennial celebrations that would take place that year.  After being awarded the games, however, Coloradans started to examine the huge financial burden that the Olympics would create, along with concerns over its environmental impact.  Richard Lamm, who would later be elected governor, led the charge against the Olympics. Lamm was one of the major forces behind a 1972 ballot initiative which asked voters to decide on whether to amend the state constitution "to prohibit the state from levying taxes and appropriating or loaning funds for the purpose of aiding or furthering the 1976 Winter Olympic Games."  

To help voters prepare for the election, the Colorado Legislative Council issued -- as it still does today -- their statewide non-partisan ballot analysis book, or "Blue Book," which included fiscal analysis along with lists of the pros and cons of each ballot measure. You can view the 1972 Blue Book online courtesy of our library. Among the arguments against the measure was a moral one: "the International Olympic Committee ha[s] every reason to rely on the state's commitment to funding the Olympics. It would be very bad faith on the part of the state if it were to back out of its commitment."  Arguments in favor of rejecting the Olympics, however, included the debt aspect and the state's obligation to pay "unforeseen costs," as well as the idea that "... national and international ... publicity could further stimulate Colorado's population growth, which is one of the highest in the nation. Unmanageable growth places an economic burden on a community that must expand facilities and services to meet the needs of new residents."

59% of the voters agreed with these arguments.  According to the state's official tabulation of votes, the measure passed with 514,228 "yes" votes to 350,964 "no" votes.  By prohibiting the state from collecting taxes to fund the Olympics, the passage of this measure made it impossible for the games to be held here.  Colorado was forced to reject the 1976 Olympics, which instead were awarded to Innsbruck, Austria.  Innsbruck had previously hosted the games in 1964, so they were able to re-use many of their facilities.

Bumper stickers for (top) and against (bottom) the 1976 Colorado Winter Olympics.  Courtesy History Colorado


National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Here in Colorado we have a number of invasive species that are causing problems because they can harm the environment and put native species at risk.  Colorado Parks & Wildlife defines invasive species as "plants, animals, insects or diseases that are not native to Colorado."  CP&W explains that "because they are not native to Colorado habitats, they have no natural competitors or predators.  Without these checks and balances, the invaders are able to reproduce rapidly and out-compete native species."

How do these invasive species get here?  They mostly arrive by accident, "hitching a ride" on products being shipped into the state, or from human travel.  But some introductions can be avoided.  For example, bullfrogs, who occur naturally in the eastern and midwestern US but not in Colorado, were introduced here in part as discarded lab animals.  The bullfrogs are a problem, according to CP&W's species profile, because "bullfrogs eat anything that moves and will fit into their mouths including fishes, frogs, birds, bats, snakes, tarantulas, small mammals, and a variety of invertebrates. They out-compete and eat native amphibian species and are a factor in native species population declines."  Another example is the piranha, introduced into Colorado waters as unwanted pets.  For more on these and other Colorado wildlife, both native and non-native, check out CP&W's species profiles page.  For more on the problem of releasing non-native species into the wild, see CP&W's Don't Turn it Loose webpage.  Invasive plants such as purple loosestrife have also been introduced intentionally (though likely unknowingly), introduced for use in gardens but quickly reproducing and spreading.  Finally, you can avoid transporting invasive insects by not moving firewood out of affected areas.

As our world becomes more connected invasive species are becoming a greater problem, not just in Colorado but across the nation.  Therefore February 26-March 3 has been set aside as National Invasive Species Awareness Week.

Here are some of the most problematic invasive species in Colorado, and state publications and websites that can help you learn more:

Emerald ash borer:

Field bindweed:

Gypsy moth:

Japanese beetle:

Meadow knapweed:

Mountain pine beetle:

Purple loosestrife:

Rusty crayfish:


Yellow starthistle:

Zebra and quagga mussels:  

For general information on invasive species in Colorado, see the following state publications:

Photo credits:
Colorado Department of Agriculture:  Emerald ash borer, field bindweed, meadow knapweed, purple loosestrife, yellow starthistle
Colorado Parks & Wildlife: Rusty crayfish, waterflea, quagga mussel
Colorado State Forest Service: Gypsy moth
Wikipedia: Japanese beetle, mountain pine beetle

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