Colorado Governors: James B. Grant

James Benton Grant served as Governor of Colorado from 1883 to 1885. He was the state’s first Democratic governor as well as Colorado’s youngest statehood governor. Grant was born January 2, 1848, the son of a wealthy Alabama plantation family. Throughout much of the Civil War he was too young to serve in the military, […]

Colorado Governors: Frederick W. Pitkin

Colorado’s Pitkin County was named for Frederick Walker Pitkin, who served as governor of the state from 1879 to 1883. Born in Connecticut in 1837, Pitkin had settled in Milwaukee until ill health caused him to seek the “climate cure” first in Europe and then out west. He arrived in Colorado’s San Juan region in […]

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 […]

Time Machine Tuesday: State of the State Speeches

The 2018 legislative session begins tomorrow, and traditionally the first week of the session includes a “State of the State” speech from the governor to the legislature as well as a “State of the Judiciary” speech from the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court.  Looking back on historical speeches provides valuable insight on the […]

Colorado Governors: Samuel Elbert

Colorado’s highest mountain bears the name of Samuel H. Elbert, territorial governor of Colorado from 1873-74.  Elbert County is also named for him. Originally from Ohio, Elbert, a lawyer, moved to Nebraska in 1854 and became heavily involved in Republican politics.  He campaigned hard for Abraham Lincoln and through this campaign met John Evans, future […]

Colorado Governors: Edward McCook

Edward Moody McCook served two non-consecutive terms as territorial governor.  Originally from Ohio, McCook had come to Colorado during the 1859 Gold Rush.  He settled in Central City and set up a successful law practice.  He returned east to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War, attaining the rank of Brigadier General.  McCook […]

Colorado Governors: Alexander Cameron Hunt

Colorado’s fourth territorial governor, Republican Alexander Hunt, was appointed to lead the territory on April 24, 1867.  Hunt had grown up in Freeport, Illinois, where he eventually served as mayor.  Lured by the California Gold Rush in 1850, Hunt stayed in California until a new gold discovery was made in Colorado in 1858.  Relocating to […]

Colorado Governors: Alexander Cummings

After the resignation of John Evans, Alexander Cummings (served 1865-1867) was appointed Territorial Governor of Colorado by President Andrew Johnson. Cummings had previously served as a special purchasing agent for the War Department during the Civil War and, after being discharged from this post, had in February 1864 attained the rank of Brigadier General and Superintendent […]

Colorado Governors: John Evans

Colorado’s second territorial governor, John Evans, is remembered for his many contributions to the development of Denver, including bringing the railroad to the young town and founding the Colorado Seminary, which became the University of Denver.  Evans is also remembered for being disgraced by his role in the Sand Creek Massacre and his subsequent resignation […]

Colorado Governors: William Gilpin

The first governor of Colorado Territory, William Gilpin, was appointed by Abraham Lincoln and served 1861-62.  Born in Pennsylvania in 1813, Gilpin participated in several western expeditions in the 1840s, served as a Major in the Mexican-American War, and was made a General in charge of protecting white settlers on the Santa Fe Trail.  When […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Davis Waite and the City Hall War

Colorado’s only third-party governor, Davis Waite, was elected in 1892 as a member of the Populist Party.  In the era of progressive reforms and worker unrest, Populists advocated “an eight-hour workday, employees’ liability legislation, a child labor law, and state operation of coal mines.”1 Populism swept Colorado that year, with 57% of Colorado voters backing […]

Time Machine Tuesday: A Governor’s View of Colorado Political History

This Election Day, as history is being made in our state, let’s step back and take a look at the first fifty years of Colorado politics. In 1927, the State Historical and Natural History Society of Colorado (later the Colorado Historical Society, and now History Colorado) issued an illustrated five-volume History of Colorado.  (All five […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Governor Lamm's Executive Orders

Colorado governors’ executive orders are divided into three categories:  1) A Orders, which appoint individuals to boards and commissions, judges, and other political appointments; 2) B Orders, which establish new boards, commissions, councils, and task forces; and 3) D Orders, which contain state government policies and organization changes as well as disaster declarations and mobilization […]

The Governor’s Residence at the Boettcher Mansion

The Colorado governor’s mansion, officially named the Governor’s Residence at the Boettcher Mansion, is the “White House” of Colorado.  It is the official residence for Colorado governors as well as the site of many official state functions.  (Where it differs from the White House, however, is that the governor does not have his office there […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Ralph Carr Salutes Delph Carpenter

Ralph Carr Colorado Governor Ralph L. Carr (served 1939-1943) is best known for standing up for Japanese Americans during WWII.  But Carr was also interested in water rights, working as an attorney for the Colorado Interstate River Commission.  This brought him into contact with Delph Carpenter, known by many as the “father of Colorado river […]

Inaugural Speeches of Colorado Governors

Today is Inauguration Day in Colorado — the governor’s swearing-in.  In our library you can find the inaugural addresses of many of Colorado’s past governors, all the way back to Governor Frederick W. Pitkin in 1881.  In fact, we have Governor Pitkin’s inaugural address in German, along with those of several other early governors.  Colorado […]

Governor John Vanderhoof

The Denver Post is reporting that former Colorado Governor John Vanderhoof has died.  He was 91.  Governor Vanderhoof served from July 1973 through 1974.  He served as Lieutenant Governor under John Love and became governor after Love resigned to join the National Energy Policy Office.  Vanderhoof was born in Rocky Ford, Colorado, and was a WWII Veteran.  He also served twenty years in the […]