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20th Century & Beyond

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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. Biography 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 […]

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Colorado's Beginnings

“Father” John Lewis Dyer: The Snowshoe Itinerant

When: 1812-1901 Where: Central Colorado Mountains Why important: Beloved circuit-riding Methodist preacher Biography 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 […]

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Colorado's Beginnings

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

  When: 1813-1890 Where: Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo Mountains Why important: Explorer, Presidential Candidate, Civil War General Biography 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 […]

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Boom Years

Otto Mears: Pathfinder of the San Juans

When: 1840 – 1931 Where: Born in Russia and came to America at the age of 11. Why Important: Built 450 miles of toll roads that later became most of the modern roads in southwestern Colorado.  He also built three railroads in the San Juan Mountains that helped develop the area’s mining wealth. Biography Otto Mears was […]

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20th Century & Beyond

Helen Bonfils: Denver Post Co Owner & Philanthropist

When: 1889-1972 Where: Peekskill, N.Y. Why Important: Co-owner of the Denver Post, Philanthropist, Established the Denver Center of the Performing Arts Biography Helen Bonfils was born on November 26, 1889 in Peekskill, New York. Her father, Frederick Bonfils, bought the struggling Denver Post newspaper with H.H. Tammen in 1895 and moved his family to Denver, […]

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Colorado's Beginnings

Black Kettle: Cheyenne Chief and Peace Negotiator

When: around 1803- 1868 Where: South Dakota Why Important: Native American peace negotiator Biography Black Kettle was born in South Dakota around 1803 (no one is quite certain what year he was born) into the Cheyenne Nation. Not much is known of Black Kettle’s earlier life, however he clearly possessed leadership skills as he was […]

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Colorado's Beginnings

Julia Archibald Holmes: First Woman to Summit Pike’s Peak

When: 1838-1887 Where: Nova Scotia, Canada Why Important: First woman known to summit Pike’s Peak Biography Julia Archibald was born on February 15, 1838 in Nova Scotia, Canada. When she was ten her family moved to the United States and settled in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her father was an abolitionist and her mother was a suffragist. […]

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Colorado's Beginnings

Ouray: Ute Chief and Negotiator

When: 1833-1880 Where: Southern Rocky Mountains, CO Why Important: Ute Chief and Treaty Negotiator Biography Chief Ouray was born November 13, 1833 in Taos, New Mexico to a Jicarilla Apache man and a Ute woman. On the night he was born there was a meteor shower. This event apparently influenced his parents to name him […]

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Colorado's Beginnings

Silas S. Soule: Abolitionist and Brave Soldier

When: 1838-1865 Where: Fort Lyon near Sand Creek, Colorado Why Important Soldier who refused orders to participate in the Sand Creek massacre Biography In Bath, Maine on July 26, 1838, Silas S. Soule was born. He grew up in Maine and Massachusetts in an abolitionist family and was taught that slavery was wrong. When Silas […]

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20th Century & Beyond

Jack Dempsey: Prize-fighter, Actor and Author

When: 1895-1983 Where: Manassa, CO Why Important: Professional Boxer Biography William Harrison “Jack” Dempsey was born on June 24, 1895 in Manassa, CO. He grew up poor. Jack’s father had trouble finding work and Jack helped out by working when he just a young boy. He left home when he was sixteen. To make money, […]

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Colorado's Beginnings

David Moffat: Railroad Tycoon and Industrialist

When: 1839-1911 Where: Denver, CO Why Important: Denver Businessman, Colorado railroad owner Biography David Halliday Moffat was born in Washingtonville, N.Y. on July 22, 1839. When David was only twelve years old he moved to New York City and became a messenger boy for a bank. He worked so hard that the president of the […]

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20th Century & Beyond

John Denver: Singer and Songwriter

When: 1943-1997 Where: Aspen, Colorado Why Important: Award winning musician, singer and activist. Biography John Denver was born on December 31, 1943 in Roswell, New Mexico. His real name was Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. Around the age of twenty, he changed his name to “John Denver” after his favorite state’s (Colorado) capitol. John’s father was […]

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Colorado's Beginnings

Clara Brown: Angel of the Rockies

When: 1800-1882 Where: Central City and Denver Why Important: One of the first African-American women to settle in Colorado and became a very successful business woman. Biography Clara Brown was probably born into slavery in Virginia around 1800. Wealthy white southerners who “owned” Clara often auctioned her to the highest bidder as if she were […]

Categories
Boom Years

Casimiro Barela: Perpetual Senator

When: 1847 – 1920 Where: Moved from New Mexico to Trinidad, and then to Barela, Colorado Why Important: Barela served as a territorial legislator, helped write the  Colorado Constitution, and represented Colorado as a senator for thirty-seven years Biography Casimiro was born in New Mexico in 1847. It was still part of Mexico at  that time. One […]

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Colorado's Beginnings

Frances Wisebart Jacobs: Health Care Activist

When: 1843 – 1892 Where: Central City and Denver Why Important: She helped establish the Jewish Hospital Association of Colorado, now called National Jewish Hospital. Biography Frances Wisebart Jacobs was born March 29, 1843 in Kentucky to Bavarian immigrants. The family later moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where her father Leon Wisebart worked as a tailor. Frances and […]

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Colorado's Beginnings

William Byers: Founder of Rocky Mtn News

When: 1831-1903 Where: Ohio, Iowa, Nebraska, and finally, Denver Why Important: Byers was the greatest Denver promoter, bringing people and money into the city. He established the first paper, the  Rocky Mountain News. Biography The greatest Denver promoter of all, William Newton Byers was born on an Ohio farm in 1831. His family moved to Iowa in […]

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Colorado's Beginnings

Chief Little Raven: Peacemaker

When: c. 1810-1889 Where: Colorado and Oklahoma Why Important: This Chief sought peaceful relations  between Native Americans and whites even amidst the Sand Creek Massacre. Biography Little Raven was born around 1810 on the Plains near Nebraska. He negotiated peace between the Southern Arapaho, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche, and Plains Apache in 1840. He was also known to welcome […]

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20th Century & Beyond

Mamie Eisenhower: First Lady and Humanitarian

When: 1896-1979 Where: Born in Iowa; grew up in Colorado Springs and Denver Why Important: Humanitarian and wife of President Dwight Eisenhower Biography Mamie Geneva Doud was born with a heart condition, and her older sister had asthma. In an effort to improve the girls’ health, their father moved the family from Iowa and eventually settled in […]

Categories
Boom Years

Molly Brown: Suffragist, Socialite and Adventurer

When: 1867-1932 Where: Born in Missouri, lived in Leadville and Denver Why Important: Maggie Brown traveled frequently, gave time and money to charity, sought women’s suffrage, and was a survivor of the Titanic disaster. Biography Margaret Brown was born of July 18, 1867. Her friends and family called her Maggie; she was not known as Molly until after […]

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Colorado's Beginnings

Chin Lin Sou: A Pioneer in More Ways Than One

When: 1836 –  1894 Where: Born in China, settled in Denver Why Important:  Chin Lin Sou was a leader in the Chinese American community and a successful businessperson in Denver. Biography Chin Lin Sou was born in 1836 in southern China. Chin heard stories of opportunities in the American West. He moved to the United States in […]