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Digital Colorado

Yet Another New Post

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20th Century & Beyond

Another New Post

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Colorado Historic Newspapers

Topics in History: Five Points: The Heart and Soul of Denver

Old Five Points Neighborhood (Photo Courtesy of Denver Public Library)

In recent decades, the city of Denver has undergone a drastic transformation both aesthetically and demographically. As young professionals flock back to the city’s center, neighborhoods that have existed as cultural centers for many of Denver’s deep-rooted and diverse communities are undergoing dramatic changes. One of the most significant of these cultural epicenters is Denver’s Five Points neighborhood. Designated from its earliest years as a space apart for Denver’s black residents, Five Points not only survived a time of extreme, institutionalized racial oppression in Colorado, but thrived and grew to become one of the most culturally rich destinations in the country, earning it the nickname, “the Harlem of the West.”

Denver NAACP Meeting (Photo Courtesy of Denver Public Library)

Five Points initially took shape during Denver’s period of rapid growth in the 1870’s due to the silver boom. The neighborhood took its name from the five vertices created at the intersection of Washington Street, 27th Street, 26th Ave, and Welton Street. The introduction of Denver’s first street railroad connected the Five Points neighborhood to its city center and brought a wide variety of residents from varying economic and racial backgrounds to the area.  However, when more modern and fashionable dwellings began to populate the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Denver, many of its wealthier, white residents moved out of the area. Due to the extreme racial oppression of the time, Denver’s black residents were not afforded the same mobility, and by the 1920’s, ninety percent of Denver black population lived within the Five Points – Whittier neighborhood.

The Rossonian Hotel (Photo Courtesy of Denver Public Library)

That decade saw Five Points grow and flourish as a social, cultural, and political center for Denver’s black community. The Glenarm branch of the YMCA was built in 1924 and acted as the unofficial Town Hall of Five Points. Denver’s branch of the NAACP was established and hosted its first national meeting in 1925 to address the racial hostility and inequity perpetuated by the KKK’s firm hold on the Denver politics and society. In 1927, a group of black students successfully sued the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Denver for the unconstitutional separation of social functions for students based on race. Five points had now established itself as a political center for the advancement of equality as more and more of its residents began to own property and establish businesses.

The Lounge at the Rossonian Hotel (Photo Courtesy of Denver Public Library)

The 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s gave way to perhaps the greatest cultural boom in Five Points as the Jazz and Blues movement took root in the area. While Denver’s downtown hotspots invited popular musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Miles Davis, and Nat King Cole to perform, they were not permitted to stay in the white-only hotels in those neighborhoods. Thus, Five Points played host to these artists who also performed in the neighborhood’s many jazz and blues clubs. The lounge at the now Historic Rossonian Hotel (originally the Baxter Hotel) was one of Five Points’ most iconic locales and was considered the best jazz club between Kansas City and LA. At the height of the jazz era, Five Points had become a destination where black and white visitors were welcomed together, despite the racial tension and segregation that still plagued the rest of the city.

Historic Five Points Neighborhood (Photo from

As the 1960’s saw the decline of discriminatory housing practices and legal segregation in the city, the residents of Five Points dispersed to other neighborhoods and suburbs. By the 1970’s Five Points fell victim to economic strife, crime, and drugs. However, the community that had once thrived in Five Points refused to disappear, and in the late 1980’s and 1990’s there came a dramatic push to preserve and restore the area’s landmarks. In 1988, Paul W. Stewart opened the Black American West Museum to the public in the former home of Dr. Justina Ford, Denver’s first black woman doctor. In 1995, the Rossonian Hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has since undergone massive restoration with the help of former NBA star, Chauncey Billups, who is a partner in the project. In 2002, the Welton Street commercial corridor was listed as a Denver historic cultural district and in 2003, the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library opened on Welton Street in order to serve the neighborhood and preserve its rich history.

Juneteenth Celebration Bilboard (Photo Courtesy of Denver Public Library)

Five Points has even more recently become one of Denver’s most desirable neighborhoods, with home prices rising far above the median for the city. While this new influx of residents and businesses to the area has assured its survival and revitalization, the drastically inflated cost of living has driven out many of the same residents who fought for its preservation. Though Five Points now hosts its annual Jazz Fest and Juneteenth festival, drawing thousands of visitors to the area to celebrate its cultural heritage, it was Denver’s strong, black community that made the neighborhood a haven, a hotspot, and a home for decades in the face of oppression.


This post is brought to you by the Colorado State Library and Denver Public Libraries

Colorado Historic Newspapers

OCR Correction Makes Our Shared History More Accessible to All

We at the State Library are honored to be partnering with the cultural and civic organizations within our state to add so much interesting, unique, and entertaining historic content to the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC).

Over the past three years, we have added more than 600,000 pages of historic newspapers to the collection, including 91 new titles, 5 new languages, student papers from our institutions of higher education, previously unrepresented geographic regions, and so much more.  But we need your help!  Technology alone can only do so much.  It takes human intervention to make the collection even more valuable to the tens of thousands of students, genealogists, and researchers who use it every month.   What do I mean by human intervention?  Why, OCR correction of course.

Optical Character Recognition, or OCR, is a process by which software reads a page image and translates it into a text file by recognizing the shapes of the letters.  OCR enables searching of large quantities of full-text data, but it is never 100{66eaadba41c14e7e553ffe7a4ee73fbae213b19704eda0514b3dd79e37e4c0c5} accurate. The level of accuracy depends on the print quality of the original newspaper issue, its condition at the time of microfilming, the level of detail captured by the microfilm scanner, and the quality of the OCR software. Issues with poor quality paper, small print, mixed fonts, multiple column layouts, or damaged pages may contribute to poor OCR accuracy.  The effectiveness of OCR software has improved dramatically over the years, however, there are many pages within the CHNC that were added more than 10 years ago, and the quality of the OCR created text for those pages can only be corrected manually – and that is where “the crowd” comes in.  We need your help to clean up the database.

Here is an example of some pretty bad OCR from content added to CHNC back in the early 2000s.  Even though we can read the original article with little difficulty, it is because our eyes and brain work together to “fill in the blanks”.  This was not easily accomplished by early OCR software, and the resulting textual representation of this article is missing many important words and names, and would probably not be found by someone searching for Vincent Johnson.

The good news is that the CHNC database has a built in text correction tool that allows users to make corrections to the OCR text when errors are discovered.  Using this tool, any registered user can edit the OCR text for the articles they are using or finding in the database.  Correcting text is simple and safe, and does not alter the original image of the newspaper article, just the searchable text created from it.

Using the text correction tool, I made edits to the article’s OCR to the right, and now it looks like this.  All of the names are now entered correctly, and all other words are corrected as well.

To date, 485 users have collectively corrected over 2,647,588 lines of text in articles held within the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection.  Our top five correctors are listed on the front page of the database, in a place of honor for their contributions to the resource.





I recently asked some of our top correctors what motivated them to correct text in the database and here are some snippets of their responses.

“When I am correcting text, I feel like I am bring[ing] the people and events back to life, if only for a moment.”

“For me, originally I was looking for information on grandparents in Routt County. …   Since then I just correct because I realize that there are other people who are looking for their family histories as well.”

Whatever your reason for correcting, we appreciate every correction made, because it makes the CHNC experience better for everyone that follows.  Help us make the CHNC better by correcting text.  To learn more about correcting text, see our help and forums page – and check out our new text correction video on how to do it yourself.

For more information about text correcting, or to inquire about specific content relevant to you and your research, contact Leigh Jeremias.  Thank you for helping us make the CHNC the wonderful resource that it is for Colorado.


20th Century & Beyond

Elvin R. Caldwell: City Council President, Activist, Community Leader

When: 1919 – 2004

Where: Denver, Colorado

Why Important: First African-American City Council Member West of the Mississippi, Civil Rights advocate, policy-maker, and life-long community leader and organizer.


Elvin R. Caldwell was born in Denver on April 11, 1919 and grew up in the historic Five Points neighborhood, which was a predominantly black neighborhood at that time. Though Caldwell’s family and many of the families in his neighborhood were prosperous, they faced racial discrimination, inequality, and exclusion from white Denver society. Caldwell’s parents, Wilba and Inez, fought against this discrimination, setting an example for Elvin that would inspire him and shape the rest of his life as an advocate for equality. Caldwell graduated from Eastside High School in 1937 and received a track scholarship to the University of Colorado and later, the University of Denver.

In 1941, Caldwell married Frank “Frankie” Harriette Webb, a teacher, and the couple had four children: Elvin Jr., John, Kenneth, and Frances. During World War II, Caldwell served as a chief statistician and assistant superintendent for production at the Remington Arms Company. After the war ended, many of Denver’s black residents lost their jobs to returning white servicemen, while many returning black servicemen faced discrimination back home in the country they had fought for. Caldwell firmly believed that all Americans were equal and deserved full rights, so he took his fight to the Colorado State Government.

In 1950, at age 31, Caldwell was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives where he served until 1955 when he was elected to the Denver City Council, making him the first African American to serve on a city council seat west of the Mississippi. Caldwell served on the Denver City Council for 28 years, with five years spent as president of the council. During this time Caldwell was deeply involved with the Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA), which was created to eliminate slum housing with assistance from Federal Grants. He also fought against discriminatory lending practices by banks, which refused to offer home loans in predominantly black neighborhoods. Until the 1970’s, nonwhites were barred from serving as judges or being promoted within the police force and could only serve in the one African American fire Station. Caldwell persistently contested these practices and under his leadership, Colorado implemented its first Fair Employment Practices Act. In 1980, Denver Mayor William H. McNichols Jr. named Caldwell Manager of Safety, making him the first black member of a Denver Mayoral Cabinet.

In addition to his years of political service, Caldwell was actively involved in many community organizations. He served as a board member for the Glenarm Branch of the YMCA, the Boy Scouts of America, and PAL of Denver. He also served on the board of directors for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Opportunities Industrialization Center, The Denver Improvement Association, the Five Points Businessmen’s Association, and the Colorado Municipal League. To honor his service and dedication to equality in Colorado, in 1990, the Denver City Council created the Elvin R. Caldwell Community Service Plaza. In April of 2003, the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library opened its doors bearing his name, just 1 year before his death in April 2004. Elvin R. Caldwell was a tireless champion of the Civil Rights Movement, a steadfast advocate for equality and a deeply passionate community leader who dedicated his life to making Colorado and the United States a better place for all people.

This bio is brought to you by the Colorado State Library with thanks to the Colorado Encyclopedia

Plains to Peaks Collective

New Colorado and Wyoming Collections Join the DPLA

The Plains to Peaks Collective – a partnership of the Colorado State Library and the Wyoming State Library – is excited to announce that our partners have recently shared new historic collections with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).  The DPLA allows one-stop-searching of many of the rich cultural heritage items found in the United States. The PPC partners, including institutions from Colorado and Wyoming, now offer 181,000 items for research and discovery.

With this second collection of items, the PPC has welcomed new partners the American Alpine Club; the University of Colorado, Art Museum; the University of Wyoming, Art Museum and Mountain Scholar with collections from Colorado State University Libraries; University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Strauss Health Sciences Library and University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Kraemer Family Library.

A few highlights from our new partners include:

Photograph, Approaching Helen Glacier. American Alpine Club

The Albert R. Ellingwood Collection, American Alpine Club

Albert R. Ellingwood is one of the most notable figures in the early development of western mountaineering.  While on a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford in the early 20th Century, Ellingwood traveled often to the Austrian and Swiss Alps, learning European climbing techniques from Swiss guides.  He brought that knowledge with him when he returned to the Rocky Mountain region. In 1916 he was the first person to climb the last remaining unclimbed fourteeners; Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, and Kit Carson. During his time, Ellingwood was one of three men to climb all of the officially named 14,000-ft. peaks in Colorado.  A noted scholar and author, during his career,  he served as a professor of Political Science at Colorado College, Northwestern University, University of Illinois and the University of Southern California.

The American Alpine Club’s Albert R. Ellingwood Collection includes photographs of Ellingwood’s climbs in Colorado and Wyoming in 1920 and 1924.  Ellingwood was often accompanied by other pioneer climbers Carl Blaurock and Herman and Elmina Buhl.

Warren and Genevieve Garst Collection, Colorado State University, Libraries (Mountain Scholar)

Photograph, Warren Garst. Colorado State University. Libraries

Warren, a wildlife cinematographer, and Genny, a computer programmer, started their married life together in 1958.  Shortly after, Genny accepted a position teaching computer programming at then Colorado A & M in Fort Collins while Warren completed a master’s degree in zoology, while at the same time continuing to film wildlife and eventually accepting a filming job with Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.

For 25 years, from 1962 until 1987, Warren and Genny Garst spent at least nine months a year on the road shooting film footage. In his role as photographer Warren created over 20,000 images of animals, people, and places across all seven continents. The University’s collection contains correspondence between Warren and Genny, research materials, Warren’s writings including drafts and index cards for his zoology dictionary Zoolexicon, their photographic slide collection and oral histories.

University of Wyoming Art Museum

The University of Wyoming Art Museum’s permanent collection includes objects of American art, European art, photography, contemporary art, and ethnographic art.  The collections shared with the DPLA comprise items from their ethnographic art collection including a collection of 20th century sculptures, tools and other miscellaneous carvings from Easter Island. The Art Museum also has several special collections including the Huey G. and Phyllis T. Shelton Collection, which is comprised entirely of the work of Ichiro, the largest single-artist netsuke collection in the U.S. These first items shared with the DPLA are just a small sample of the Art Museum’s rich collection of 8,000 objects which they plan to share more of in the future.

Sculpture, Sarumawashi, Monkey Trainer. Ichiro. University of Wyoming Art Museum
Sculpture, Birdman. Easter Island. University of Wyoming Art Museum

CU Art Museum, University of Colorado Boulder

Lithograph, title unknown. Michel Fingesten. CU Art Museum, University of Colorado Boulder

The CU Art Museum’s growing collection of more than 8,700 objects represents the wide range of materials used in the creation of Ancient & Classical art, art of the Americas, Asian art, European art, and Modern and Contemporary art. The over 500 objects shared include items from the Michel Fingesten Collection.  Fingesten became one of the most prolific graphic artists and bookplate designers of the 20th Century. He died in 1943, shortly after being liberated from the Fascist internment camp of Ferramonti-Tarsia near Cosenza, Calabria. The University, with funding provided by the Program in Jewish Studies, acquired a large collection of Fingesten’s work in 2011.

Returning Partners

The returning PPC partners have continued to share items from their vast collections.  A few highlights from these collections include:

Diaries of a Wyoming teacher, homesteader, and superintendent of public instruction, Edith K.O. Clark, from the University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center.

The Denver Public Library is now sharing over 93,000 items, including this photograph, D&RGW train with engine 552, engine type EMD FT, from the Colorado Railroad Museum Collection.  This is just one of the 413 Colorado Railroad Museum photographs now shared with the DPLA.

Returning partner the Salida Public Library has partnered with the Salida Museum Association to share 127 images from the museum’s collection including this image of the Salida Hot Springs Pool constructed by a 1937 Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) project.

Please join us in welcoming these new partners and new collections to the DPLA. If you are looking for new stories to discover please check back often as we will be adding new items four times a year; April, July, October and January. If you would like to share your institution’s collections with the DPLA or have questions about participation please contact me, Leigh Jeremias, or visit the Plains to Peaks Collective website.


Colorado Historic Newspapers

CHNC Welcomes the Westminster Journal with help of SIPA & New Content Support Program!

Front Page of Westminster Journal (Vol. 1, No. 1)

The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection is proud to welcome Westminster’s first local news publication, The Westminster Journal, to our online catalog in our continued effort to expand access to Colorado’s rich newspaper history! Thanks to the Westminster Public Library, CHNC users can now browse over 850 issues of the Westminster Journal, ranging from its first publication in 1947 to 1964.

The Journal was founded by A.B. Withers, who was also publishing the Wheat Ridge Journal and the Edgewater Tribune at the time. Withers maintained the Westminster Journal and grew its readership until 1954, during which time he was responsible for the hire of some of Colorado most famous journalists, including Jack Bacon, who won the Colorado Press Association Newspaper Person of the Year in 1994. After Withers sold the paper, it changed hands several more times over the next nearly 20 years until Community Publications assumed its management and changed the name to the Journal-Sentinel.  However, the Westminster Journal saw this sleepy Denver satellite grow into a thriving central Colorado metropolis during a very exciting time in the Centennial State.

Readers can browse the journal to read about the first graduating class of the United States Air Force Academy, learn how the construction of I-25 changed the landscape and culture of the Front Range, or bask in the glow of the Denver Broncos victory over the Boston Patriots in the very first game of the newly re-established 1960 American Football League. Whatever your interest, the CHNC and our new partner, the Westminster Public Library, have you covered with help, in part by the Colorado Statewide Internet Portal Authority (SIPA) micro grant program and the CHNC New Content Support Program.

Both funding sources offer assistance to educational institutions expanding access to online resources.  And great news, the CHNC New Content Support Program for 2019 is officially underway and taking applications now. Learn more about how your Colorado community’s news publication can join the CHNC and reach audiences all over the world at and check out all of our great titles at!

Digital Colorado

CLIR: Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives Grant Available.

Council on Library and Information Resources: Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives

Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives, a program of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), is intended to help digitize and provide access to collections of rare or unique content in cultural heritage institutions. The program supports projects that make digitized sources easily discoverable and accessible alongside related materials, including materials held by other collecting institutions as well as those held within the home institution. Collections proposed for digitization may be in any format or relevant to any subject. Grants, ranging from a minimum of $50,000 to a maximum of $250,000 in the case of a single-institution project or $500,000 for a collaborative project, will be provided to colleges and universities, research centers, museums, libraries, historical societies, cultural associations, and select government units. Online initial proposals must be submitted by April 3, 2019; final proposals are due September 17, 2019. Visit the CLIR website to review the program guidelines and application process.

Colorado Historic Newspapers

Topics in History: The Lake County War

(Photo from

The Lake County War, as it has become known, was not actually a war at all in the traditional sense.  Instead, it is the term used to describe the time period in what was once Lake County (now Chaffee County) from 1874-1881, during which law and order broke down and vigilante “justice” reigned. For nearly a century, details of the events of this time were based on scattered and varying accounts, questionable witness testimony, and even local legend. In recent decades, however, historians have gathered information from local news sources, court records, and family histories in order to piece together the events of this tumultuous time in Colorado’s Arkansas River Valley.

In the early morning hours of June 17, 1874, Lake County homesteader, George Harrington raced from his home to a nearby outbuilding that was engulfed in flames. As Harrington and his wife attempted to extinguish the fire, which had been started deliberately, shots rang out and he was struck in the back and killed on the spot. Friends of Harrington were convinced that he was murdered by a fellow Lake Countian named Elijah Gibbs, with whom Harrington had recently quarreled over rights to an irrigation ditch. When Gibbs was acquitted of the murder in a Denver court, the late Harrington’s friends and supporters took matters into their own hands.

On the night of January 22, 1875, a posse of approximately 15 men surrounded Gibbs’s cabin and demanded he come out to be lynched. When Gibbs refused, the group threatened to set fire to the home with Gibbs’s family inside. As the group prepared to storm the cabin, Gibbs opened fire, hitting two of the men and causing one to accidentally fire on his own group, leaving all three dead. The posse left and Gibbs and his family fled the area. However, Harrington’s supporters were determined to get justice. The posse reformed with greater numbers and called themselves “The Committee of Safety.”

Over the following months, The Committee of Safety rounded up many of Gibbs’s alleged supporters, sympathizers, and fellow cattle rustlers. Many were tortured, while others were lynched. The committee’s tactics for “trying” a defendant included questioning the accused with a noose around their neck and tightening it with each answer the committee disliked. The group is even believed to have been responsible for the shooting death of Judge Elias Dyer, son of the famed circuit-rider Father John Dyer, after he issued warrants of arrest for 28 members of the Committee of Safety. The violence continued to a point that the Governor of Colorado sent a special detective to the area to investigate the conflict and report back.  However, the agent never uncovered anything of substance and the violence continued for the next several years, causing many families to flee the area in fear for their safety.

As time went on, the fervor of the committee members waned and the violence eventually subsided. The last of the Lake County War deaths is believed to have taken place in 1881, but estimates of the total death toll range anywhere from 10 to 100 over the course of the conflict. Among those lives allegedly claimed by the Lake County War were two brothers from the Boone family, distant relatives of the same Boone family that explored the Missouri Territory. Though many details of the Lake County War have been lost to time, a renewed effort by historians has uncovered new information regarding the motives and power dynamics of its key players.  One thing that remains certain though, is that the Lake County War was evidence of a Colorado that was still very much the Wild West.


Historic Newspaper Articles About The Lake County War

Colorado Historic Newspapers

New Year, New Newspaper Support Program

CHNC New Content Support Program

The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC) is excited to announce that the 2019 program to support the addition of new historic news in the CHNC is now open for applications.  The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection New Content Support Program for newspaper digitization is designed to help cultural heritage organizations across our state increase online access to historic community news through the CHNC.  We want to help local communities include their historic stories to the larger Colorado digital newspaper footprint.

About CHNC

A service of the Colorado State Library, the CHNC currently includes more than 1.2 million digitized pages, representing more than 250 individual newspaper titles published in Colorado primarily from 1859 through 1923. Due to copyright restrictions, the CHNC does not always include newspapers published after 1923, but the CHNC can digitize beyond 1923 if publisher permission can be secured by our partners.

On-going support for maintaining, developing, and providing access to the CHNC is paid for with state and federal funds administered by the Colorado State Library. We continue to add new pages to the CHNC when community funding is located to pay the costs of digitization.


Program funding will be awarded for the digitization of newspapers on microfilm or in original format; the processing of digital files including segmentation of pages into articles, advertisements and illustrations; the creation of metadata; OCR transcription of newspaper text and inclusion in the CHNC online database.  Support awards can only be used to offset the cost of digitizing newspaper pages for inclusion in the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection, and will be applied by the Colorado State Library to support the actual digitization process through their chosen vendor partners.

In Spring of 2019, CHNC will award $15,000 in support for newspaper digitization projects. Institutions can apply for a maximum of $3,000 of support funding and a minimum of $1,500 towards the digitization of newspapers for inclusion in the CHNC. All support awards require a 25{66eaadba41c14e7e553ffe7a4ee73fbae213b19704eda0514b3dd79e37e4c0c5} cash match.  The cash match needs to be provided to CHNC by June 30, 2019. The amount of funding requested by applicants will determine how many projects will be funded.

Who Can Apply

We strongly encourage institutions that are not currently CHNC partners to apply.  Special consideration will be given to newspaper content that is underrepresented in CHNC such as geographic areas, ethnic groups, social movements and non standard content types such as company newsletters.

Private individuals wishing to apply for support funding should be partnered with a local cultural heritage organization such as a library, archives, museum, friends group or association.  Single individuals without affiliation will not be considered.

Application Process

Complete all questions on the application form, found here.  Incomplete applications will not be considered.  Applications received on or before February 28, 2019 will be considered.

Successful projects will be selected by the Program Committee.  Projects will be evaluated on the historical significance of proposed newspaper title, support of content areas that are currently underrepresented in CHNC and plans for community engagement.  Special consideration will be given to institutions that are not currently CHNC partners.

Application Rubric

Total available points = 50 pts

  • Completed form = 5 Pts
  • Historical significance of title(s) = 1 – 10 pts
  • Support of Content Areas not currently represented = 1 – 10 pts
  • New title to CHNC = 5pts
  • New Partner to CHNC = 10 pts
  • Plans for ongoing community engagement and promotion = 1-10 pts

Project Period or Timeline

The project time period is from April 1, 2019 to December 30, 2019.  Any digitization work needs to be in process by December 15, 2019.


Completed applications must be received on or before February 28, 2019.


Awardees will be notified by March 15, 2019.

Questions and Additional Considerations

The program does not cover indirect costs and cannot be used for any purpose other than the digitization of newspaper content to be added to CHNC.  If you have questions about the support program, the application process, or about newspapers available for digitization or if you would like a cost estimate please contact Leigh Jeremias,  If you are considering applying to support a newspaper title that may be in copyright (issues published after 1923) please contact Leigh prior to the application submission so copyright holder permissions can be discussed.


Colorado's Beginnings

“Father” John Lewis Dyer: The Snowshoe Itinerant

Portrait: John Lewis Dyer (Photo from Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame)

When: 1812-1901

Where: Central Colorado Mountains

Why important: Beloved circuit-riding Methodist preacher


John Lewis Dyer was born in Franklin County, Ohio in 1812, but spent most of his early years in Illinois. He received little formal education and, after his marriage to Harriet Foster in 1833, Dyer moved his young family to Wisconsin in order to work in the lead mines. Unfortunately, Harriet died when she was only 35, leaving Dyer with their five children. After their infant daughter (also named Harriet) died very shortly after, Dyer decided to become a Methodist minister. He became a circuit rider, meaning that he traveled from town to town as his services were needed for weddings, funerals, and sermons.

Stained Glass Image of John Dyer in Father Dyer United Methodist Church (Photo from

Dyer’s circuit covered a very large area across both Wisconsin and Minnesota and often meant he had to travel in harsh winter weather through very deep snows. Fortunately, Norwegian immigrants in Minnesota taught Dyer how to make skis that allowed him to travel more easily and navigate the wintery terrain. In 1861, after a decade of circuit riding in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Dyer left his younger children with his sister and headed to Colorado to join his son, Elias, who had moved to Denver shortly before. Wishing to see the mountains, Dyer started a preaching circuit through Colorado’s many mountain mining towns. He was able to use his snowshoeing and skiing experience to travel from town to town on foot, a task that had proven too difficult for many younger preachers.

Cover of John Dyer’s Autobiography: The Snowshoe Itinerant (Photo from

However, Dyer faced a different challenge in the Colorado mining towns. The rough-and-tumble residents spent a great deal of their time drinking and gambling in saloons. Dyer saw this as a sign that his preaching was needed more than ever. He set up churches in many towns, including one in Breckenridge that still functions today: Father Dyer United Methodist Church. Dyer understood the hard lives of the miners because he had once worked in the mines. Also, Dyer’s life as a minister was far from easy. In fact, he made so little money on his circuit that he started carrying mail when he traveled over Mosquito Pass in order to make extra money. During these hard travels, Dyer became very well-known and was affectionately called “Father Dyer” even though Methodist ministers were not referred to as “Fathers.”

Stained Glass Portrait from Colorado State Capitol (Photo from Park County Histories)

In 1870, “Father” Dyer married Lucinda Rankin, a widow who lived near Castle Rock. Lucinda joined Dyer and took up residence in Summit County for fifteen years until Dyer could no longer travel on his circuit. At the age of 73, Father Dyer and Lucinda moved to Denver where he wrote and published his autobiography, The Snow-Shoe Itinerant. Father Dyer died in 1901 at the age of 89, but his legacy remains in Colorado. His stained glass portrait hangs in the State Capitol, Father Dyer Peak in the Tenmile Range is named for him, and he was one of the first inductees into the Colorado Ski & Snowboarding Museum Hall of Fame in 1977.

This bio is brought to you by the Colorado State Library

Colorado Historic Newspapers

Topics in History: Leadville’s 1896 Crystal Carnival and Palace

1880’s Leadville, Colorado
(Image from

The City of Leadville was founded in much the same way as many Colorado mining towns in the mid-19th century: with the discovery of gold. The Pikes Peak Gold Rush or Colorado Gold Rush brought prospectors to the area where they founded a town called Oro City. Unfortunately, the gold in this “gold city” quickly ran out and the town all but disappeared. However, the miners discovered a high silver content in the sand of the Arkansas river and traced its source back to the nearby area that is now present-day Leadville. There they discovered heavy silver deposits and by 1877, Horace Tabor and August Meyer founded the town of Leadville and the Colorado Silver Boom began.

Over the next decade, Leadville grew to be a hub for the wealthiest members of Colorado society and was even a frequent haunt of famous personalities such as Oscar Wilde, Margaret “Molly” Brown and John Henry “Doc” Holliday. Horace Tabor became known as the “Leadville Silver King” as Leadville gained the reputation as “the richest city in the world,” though the nickname was more a comment on Leadville’s quick rise to fame than an actual statement of worth. However, the city’s prosperity was not to last. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act caused the Panic of 1893, and the value of silver suddenly plummeted. Many of Leadville’s wealthy mining residents, including Horace Tabor, lost their fortunes practically overnight, and the town fell on very hard times.

Crystal Palace Construction
(Image from Denver Public Library)

In 1895, with many of Leadville’s businesses facing bankruptcy, the town’s leaders proposed a dramatic and risky idea for a major winter carnival to draw tourists and business back to the town and keep Leadville’s remaining residents in town for the winter. The centerpiece of the carnival would be a giant, crystal palace constructed out of solid blocks of ice and large enough to house all the events of the carnival. Because Leadville stood at over 10,000 feet and often had snow year-round, town leaders believed that, placed properly, the Crystal palace could also remain all year and become a permanent community structure and tourist attraction. The carnival organizers hired architect Charles E. Jay, who had designed the ice castle for Saint Paul, Minnesota’s winter carnival.

Through funding and support from the town’s business owners, as well as project manager, Tingley S. Wood, construction of the Crystal Palace began on November 1, 1895. It took a crew of over 250 men working day and night to construct the palace’s timber and metal framework and haul its over 5,000 tons of ice in from Palmer Lake.  The ice was the shaped, shaved, and stacked to give the Crystal Palace the appearance of having been built entirely from ice.  The ice walls were then sprayed down with water to freeze the blocks together and act as a kind of mortar. After only 36 days, the Crystal Palace was complete. Its towers reached over 90 feet high and 40 feet wide and enclosed over 58,000 square feet on over 5 acres of ground. It was a masterpiece.

Skating Rink inside Crystal Palace
(Image from

The Palace included a 20-foot wide promenade, a ballroom, a skating rink, and even a restaurant that displayed its dishes frozen in blocks of ice as part of the structure. Builders had also frozen electric lights into the walls of the palace so that it appeared to sparkle and glow. On January 1,1896, the winter carnival began and the Ice Palace was officially opened to the public as more than 2,000 visitors arrived in town to marvel at the structure. Admission to the Palace was 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children and included use of the ballroom and skating rink. Season tickets were also made available, so that town residents and frequent visitors could use the Palace again and again. The Palace appeared to be a tremendous success and local railroads even promoted the attraction with special routes and group rates.

Ice archways inside Crystal Palace
(Image from Denver Public Library)

For the next nearly three months, the Crystal Carnival hosted more than 250,000 visitors and events ranging from skating competitions to stock exchanges. However, March of 1896 brought unseasonably warm temperatures and attendance at the Carnival fell dramatically. By the end of March, the Palace had begun to melt, and there appeared to be no way to save it.  On March 28th, 1896, theCarnival hosted its last official ceremony in the Palace and as the hopes of making it a permanent fixture of the town disappeared. Though it had drawn many visitors and gained a tremendous amount of publicity for the town, investors in the Crystal Carnival and Palace took a significant loss on their investment and had no intention of trying to repeat the event. In October of 1896, the last remaining parts of the Crystal Palace were demolished.  Today, Ice Palace Park stands on the land where the Crystal Palace once was and though there was talk of reviving the Carnival and Palace in the 1980’s, high cost projections prevented any serious investment in the idea. Instead, the Carnival and Palace remain only a memory in the now comfortably thriving mountain town of Leadville, Colorado.

Leadville Crystal Palace
(Image from

Historic Newspaper Articles About Leadville’s Crystal Palace


Digital Colorado

SIPA is Here to Help

The SIPA (Statewide Internet Portal Authority) recently opened applications for its 2019 Micro-Grant program.   The program is designed for state and local governments, special districts and public education in Colorado to put more information and services online.  Grant funding is available for hardware, professional services, innovation, digitization
project planning and broadband.  Example projects include, digitization and online access of historical collections, school programming, information kiosks and interactive mapping. 

Mark you calendar for SIPA’s 2018-19 grant application timeline:

  • November 30, 2018: Grant applications open
  • January 18, 2019: Grant applications due by 5pm MST
  • January 19 – March 1, 2019: SIPA review period
  • March 4– 8, 2019: SIPA will announce the 2019 grant awardees
  • April 16, 2019: Awards are given at the annual SIPA User Conference and Grant Ceremony

If you have questions about the grant application process please refer to SIPA’s frequently Asked Questions page or email  I am also happy to offer advice on proposed historic collection projects.  You are welcomed to contact me at

Plains to Peaks Collective

Big Opportunities for Small Libraries: IMLS Launches New Special Initiative

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has launched a new special initiative, Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries (APP), and is accepting grant applications now through February 25, 2019. This new funding opportunity is designed specifically to strengthen the ability of small and rural libraries, archives, and related organizations to serve their communities, and awards sizes range from $10,000 to $50,000.

The initiative is in line with the IMLS Strategic Plan 2018-2022, Transforming Communities, which includes goals of lifelong learning, increasing public access, and building capacity. APP is a special initiative of National Leadership Grants for Libraries, which support projects that enhance the quality of library and archives services nationwide by advancing theory and practice.

“We’re pleased to support the work of small libraries and archives across our nation who are essential to their communities in so many ways,” said IMLS Deputy Director of Library Services Robin Dale. “These grants will provide opportunities for small libraries who provide such important programs and services at a local level to impact new, promising practices on a national scale.”

Categories: Three categories of APP grants are available to applicants:

  • Transforming School Library Practice: School libraries support learning and the development of critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration skills. IMLS is interested in furthering how school library professionals can serve as integral instructional partners to classroom teachers. Grant projects could include programs and services that prepare students for success in college, career, and life, or foster early, digital, information, health, financial, media, civic, and other types of literacies. 
  • Community Memory: Libraries and archives not only serve as stewards of our nation’s knowledge and collections, but also as trusted spaces for community engagement and dialogue. This project category centers on engaging local communities in the collection, documentation, and preservation of their local histories, experiences, and identities. Proposals could include events and programs to digitize materials related to community histories, such as photographs, artifacts, or texts, or oral history projects that involve community members in the documentation and preservation of local histories. 
  • Digital Inclusion: Libraries have an important role in promoting digital inclusion and increasing access to information, ideas, and networks. This category focuses on projects that support the role libraries play in promoting digital literacy, providing internet access, and enabling community engagement through civic data and civic technology. Grant proposals could include programs supporting broadband access and wireless networks to address the homework gap, increase small business development and entrepreneurship, or plan for emergency preparedness.

Cohort Learning and Evaluation:  Grantees in this initiative will participate in communities of practice based on their project category. Three third-party mentor organizations will lead these cohorts, providing expert guidance and facilitating communication between grantees.

“Using an approach similar to IMLS’s Community Catalyst initiative, these new grants will support small libraries—some who may be applying for their first federal grant—through capacity building and cohort style learning,” said Dale.

This component of the grant is designed to promote shared knowledge, build grantee capacity in relevant areas, and grow networks in the library and archives fields. In addition, IMLS intends to identify and support a third-party organization to evaluate this initiative.

Who is Eligible? This grant opportunity is designed for small and rural libraries and archives, and applicants should consider how their organization might be a good fit. There are a number of ways to be “small,” and attributes of “small” libraries or archives could include:

  • size of the staff and volunteer corps;
  • operating budget and sources of revenue;
  • size of the collection and range of services provided;
  • size of facility and property;
  • types, numbers, and geographic distribution of audiences served; and size relative to other organizations of the same discipline or within the same geographic region.

Institution types could include rural or urban public libraries, Native American tribal libraries, school districts representing elementary through secondary school libraries, or research or special libraries. For more details, please read the notice of funding opportunity (PDF 384KB).

Webinars:  Two pre-application webinars will be held with program staff to answer questions from potential applicants. The webinars, which will each cover the same material, are scheduled for:

Recordings of the webinars will also be made available on the IMLS website. For information about how to participate in the webinars or to access the webinar recordings, see the IMLS webinar page.

Colorado's Beginnings

John Charles Frémont: Senator, Governor, Presidential Candidate, and Explorer

Portrait: John Charles Fremont (Photo from


When: 1813-1890

Where: Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Why important: Explorer, Presidential Candidate, Civil War General


John Charles Frémont’s life was a series of ups and downs.  He ran for president, but lost.  He served as a civil war general, but was ridiculed for his approach.  And even before all that, he led an expedition through Colorado’s rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains that ended in disaster with deaths of 10 members of the party.

Frémont began his career as an explorer while he was a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers.  When he was 28 years old, Frémont married the 16-year-old daughter of powerful Missouri senator, Thomas Hart Benton. Though the Senator was very angry at first, he eventually accepted his daughter’s marriage and offered financial and political support to Frémont for his expeditions to the West. In 1841, Frémont mapped the Des Moines River in Iowa.  Moving further west, Frémont teamed up with Kit Carson on expeditions through the Sierra Nevada Mountains all the way to Lake Tahoe.  He also led expeditions to Utah, Oregon, and California, where he even served as military governor.

Portrait: Kit Carson and John C. Frémont Photo from the Museum of the San Fernando Valley

In 1845, Frémont set out on his first expedition through the land that would eventually become Colorado with Kit Carson in search of the source of the Arkansas River. Three years later, Frémont lead another expedition along the Arkansas, but when the party reached Bent’s Fort, trappers there told them that they were too late in the season to make it across the mountains before winter hit.  However, Frémont wanted to prove that his route to California was passable year round, so he ignored the trappers’ advice and pushed on.  The party started off successfully until Frémont made a sudden decision to turn south of the River.  As a result, his guide, Richens “Uncle Dick” Wootton and several other members of the party turned back.  Frémont and the remaining members became snowbound in the mountains and 10 men died. Frémont was criticized for his poor decisions regarding the expedition and as a result, his reputation suffered.

Because of his strong political connections, however, Frémont was able to regain his reputation and within only eight years after the disastrous expedition, he was chosen as the presidential candidate of the newly-founded Republic party. The party’s main platform was anti-slavery and Frémont’s campaign slogan was “Free Men, Free Soil, Frémont.” Unfortunately, Frémont’s own father-in-law, Thomas Hart, endorsed democratic candidate, James Buchanan, losing credibility for Frémont.

Col. John C. Fremont in the Rocky Mountains (Photo from Nevada Public Radio)

Though Frémont lost the presidential election, his political career was far from over. He served as a U.S. Senator from California, Governor of Arizona Territory, and Major General in during the Civil war. He also created controversy when he issued a proclamation freeing all slaves in Missouri.  The proclamation was not recognized by the U.S. government, however, and Frémont was removed from command.

Frémont spent most of the remainder of his life in Arizona and New York, where he became involved in railroad development. Although he never lived in Colorado, he played a key role in its early exploration earning him the nickname, “The Pathfinder” and the honor of having Fremont County, Colorado named for him.

This bio is brought to you by the Colorado State Library


Digital Colorado Learning

Teacher Librarian Day 2019 – Registration open

Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Western Region is proud to announce the 15th annual Teacher Librarian Day on Friday, February 15th, 2019.

This year’s theme is Voices. From our students to our mentors, the everlasting voices throughout each of our lives give us reason for empathyperspective, and rational understanding of the world around us. Recognizing every voice and developing these skills in our students through primary sources as windows of the past help our communities to become more civically mindedthoughtful, and curious.

The morning of TLD will offer inspiring short TED-style talks focusing on innovative ways to use primary sources in the K-16 classroom. In addition, the afternoon of TLD will feature hour-long breakout sessions from a number of our speakers as well as educational partners in Colorado.

What You Should Know:

  • When: February 15th, 2019
  • Where: History Colorado Center
  • Who should attend: K-16 teachers, librarians, and other educators. Come by yourself and bring your colleagues!
  • What to expect: A full day of innovative and inspiring professional development.
  • Substitute Reimbursement will be offered to the first 100 educators. Please select the “General Admission + Substitute Reimbursement” ticket option.
  • All attendees are eligible to register for .5 graduate credits offered through Adams State University.
  • A certificate showing 8 professional development hours will be given through email after the event.

Register for TLD 2019 now!

Colorado Historic Newspapers CSL News

Temporary Discount on Newspaper Digitization Costs

As part of a promotional effort, one of the digitization partners working with the Colorado State Library and the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection is offering a limited time price reduction on the processing of TIF images to create the  OCR and METS/ALTO output needed for inclusion in the CHNC database, and we are passing that discount on to you.

  • Timeline:  Between December 1st 2018 – February 28th, 2019.  Commitment MUST be received by January 15th 2019.
  • Quantity limit:  No limit – send as little or as much as you want, the more you send the more you save overall on your digitization project.
  • Cost:  The cost for digitization activity varies, but the discount of $0.05/page is applied across the board, whether we are digitizing content from TIF/PDF files, microfilm, or paper originals, the discount is the same.

The discount is applied to all of the pages we push into process for the months of December – February, so there is no upper or lower limit required.  However,  we would love to take advantage of this reduction and push more pages into process during this short three month window to enable the greatest savings possible for all of us. If you have been thinking about digitizing a small batch or a large batch of newspaper pages, now is the time to do it.  Prices will return to their normal levels for projects initiated after February 28th 2019.

Don’t forget – there are many steps that need to be completed in the digitization process, so drop us a line now if you are interested so that we can make sure that you will be included in this window of opportunity.  The deadline for letting us know of your interest is January 15th. We would love to tell you more, talk with you about your specific collections and needs, provide you with an estimate, or get right to getting your project in the queue.  Contact Leigh Jeremias ( for more information.

Learning Plains to Peaks Collective

Free Online Professional Development in Digital Local History

Creating Local Linkages is a free online professional development resource for public librarians developed by historians at the George Mason University’s Roy Rosenzweig Center for History & New Media. The program introduces them to historical research methods and digital history skills that they can share with their patrons.

The Course

  • Five modules that include readings, activities, step-by-step tutorials, and an assignment.
  • Topics include local history; framing questions about the past; building digital history exhibits; and creating contexts for historical sources.
  • Participating librarians gain skills to create new and enhance existing community programs, develop digital local history exhibits using library collections, and help patrons conducting genealogical research.

The Creating Local Linkages curriculum will be taught as an eight week online course that librarians can complete at their own pace.  Participants will receive feedback from staff at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History & New Media, and have access to a private web forum where they can share ideas with fellow librarians from around the country. All participants who finish within the eight weeks will receive a certificate of completion.

Sign up

The first session of the Creating Local Linkages course will begin in February 2019 and is full, but additional courses will be offered in July and October 2019 and March 2020. Sign up for alerts when registration opens for those courses.

Follow Creating Local Linkages on Twitter @LocalLinkages for news and updates, including workshops in 2019 and 2020.This project was made possible in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Plains to Peaks Collective

DPLAfest 2019 Call for Proposals Now Open

DPLA is seeking proposals for DPLAfest, a gathering that will explore how libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural organizations across the country leverage technology to serve, inform, and empower communities. We invite proposals that showcase projects, ideas, and solutions designed to help the field meet the technological, social, and civic demands of the 21st century and that highlight the critical role of libraries—and the DPLA network—in shaping the future of access to digital knowledge.In line with the DPLAfest 2019 theme of Future Shapers, Culture Makers, we invite proposals for presentations, roundtable discussions, and lightning talks related to:

  • Assessment and impact
  • Collaboration with non-traditional partners
  • Collections as data
  • Community voices, including inclusive collection development and practice and building and sustaining community-based collections
  • Ebooks, audiobooks, and digital storytelling platforms
  • Innovations in e-content delivery services
  • Library Simplified/SimplyE
  • Reuse of content and/or data
  • Self-publishing models and platforms
  • Sharing cultural heritage
  • Sustainability
  • Technology innovation in areas including, but not limited to: content delivery platforms, aggregation technology, machine learning, virtual reality, blockchain

We also encourage proposals that highlight current digital library initiatives in the DPLA network’s hubs and contributing institutions.The deadline to submit a session proposal is Friday, January 11, 2019. 

Submit a proposal 

DPLAfest Website Now Live : Visit our new event website at for all things DPLAfest! View featured speakers, registration, travel information, and more, with new information added regularly over the coming months.

Register for DPLAfest today!