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Colorado State Publications Blog

Highway Work Zone Safety

Did you know that since 1929, sixty Colorado highway workers have lost their lives in the line of duty? The most recent fatality, that of Nolan Olson in southwestern Colorado, occurred just this year. Olson, like many of the other fatalities, was just doing his job when he was struck by an oncoming vehicle.

In 2010 the Colorado legislature passed HB10-1014, which requires CDOT and the State Patrol to prepare a joint annual legislative report regarding fatalities in work zones and what awareness and safety measures are being taken. You can view all of these  reports online from our library. Also, during the 2018 session, just following Olson’s death, the General Assembly passed a resolution designating a section of Hwy 84 near Pagosa Springs as the “Nolan Olson Memorial Highway.”

To help avoid accidents like Olson’s, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) reminds drivers to “slow for the cone zone.” If you’re driving through a construction area, go extra slowly and carefully, always obey flaggers, and make sure to give workers a wide breadth. Visit CDOT’s website for more tips on safe driving in construction zones.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Yule Marble

Lincoln Memorial.

Did you know that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. are constructed of marble quarried here in Colorado? The stone comes from the Colorado Yule Marble quarry in the Crystal River valley near Marble, between Aspen and Carbondale. Colorado Yule marble, named for nearby Yule Creek, is a special variety of marble found only in Colorado. Yule marble has been used in buildings and monuments across the United States. Here in Denver it’s also been used in many state government buildings, including the building that houses our library.

The Yule Marble quarry. Courtesy Colorado Geological Survey.

The Colorado Yule Marble Company was founded by Channing Meek in 1905, although marble had been discovered in the area as early as the 1870s. The town of Marble was founded in 1881. It was after the turn of the century, however, when marble became especially fashionable. With financial assistance from the Rockefellers, Meek spent $3 million establishing the quarry and building a power plant and a railroad to the quarry site through Marble, where the processing mill was located. During its first few years the operation employed nearly 900 workers, many of them Italian immigrants. “Colorado Marble and Building Stone is the Finest in the World,” proclaimed the 1909-10 report of the state’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in a profile of Yule Marble, which you can read online from our library.

In 1912 an avalanche destroyed the quarry, which is cut into a steep mountainside. It was soon rebuilt and back in operation. That summer, Meek, the founder and superintendent, was killed in a trolley accident in the quarry. The operation continued with new leadership, however, and between 1914 and 1916 supplied stone to Washington, D.C. for the Lincoln Memorial.

Over the next few years, fires, floods, the coming of WWI, and labor troubles tested the company. It was foreclosed and split into two companies and sold; however, in 1924 the two companies merged to form the Consolidated Yule Marble Company. It was sold again in 1928, and in 1930, it was chosen to provide the stone for the Tomb of the Unknowns. “The company was chosen because it had the only quarry capable of cutting a single block of marble large enough for the proposed design,” according to an article in the Colorado Encyclopedia.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
A building in Los Angeles constructed of Colorado Yule Marble.

By 1941, demand for marble had decreased as cheaper building materials were being introduced and modernist styles favored steel and glass. The quarry was shut down in the fall of that year, just prior to America’s entry into WWII. During and after the war, the quarry site sat mostly vacant until 1990, when it was finally reopened. A series of different owners have operated the site since that time. In 2004, marble was declared the State Rock

If you’re out exploring the Crystal River valley this summer, you can visit the Colorado Yule Marble site. While the quarry itself is closed to tourists, you can still hike near the old Crystal Mill and see scattered marble remnants and rejects. The town of Marble also has a history museum.

Marble remnants can still be seen while hiking around the area. Photo by Alan Levine courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: Memorial Day

Before 1972, when Memorial Day began being celebrated on the last Monday in May, Memorial Day was traditionally held on May 30.  The holiday was established by the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), an organization of Union veterans of the Civil War, in 1868 to commemorate and decorate the graves of deceased Union soldiers.

Major Gen. John A. Logan, chief of the GAR, led the effort to create Memorial Day.  Following his military service, in which he was a member of Gen. William T. Sherman’s staff, Gen. Logan served as a U.S. Congressman and later a U.S. Senator from Illinois. Although he never lived in Colorado, Gen. Logan has many Colorado connections, mainly due to his investments in Colorado mines.  Coloradans also revered him as a war hero, and many came to see him when he came to Denver with the GAR Encampment, an annual reunion of over 25,000 Union veterans.  Logan County as well as Denver’s Logan Street and Fort Logan National Cemetery are named for him.  A 12,870-foot peak, Mount Logan, also bears his name.  You can read more about Gen. Logan and his Colorado connections in Robert Hartley’s article “General John A. Logan:  A Name Remembered and Honored in Colorado,” in the Summer 2007 issue of Colorado Heritage magazine, which you can check out from our library.

Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was originally known, has grown to memorialize all of America’s fallen soldiers, not just those from the Civil War.  An interesting look at how Memorial Day was celebrated a century ago can be found starting on page 105 of the State of Colorado’s 1913 Spring Holiday Book, issued by the Department of Public Instruction to help teachers plan lessons for the various holidays.  The section on Memorial Day includes quotations, poems, essays, and songs that were originally used to teach youngsters about the holiday, but can now be used to teach us about an element of American life and culture over 100 years ago that we still celebrate today.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: The White Ash Mine Disaster

This fall the Colorado School of Mines unveiled a new memorial dedicated to the victims of the White Ash Mine disaster of 1889.  Ten miners lost their lives in the accident near Golden, Colorado.

The White Ash Mine was located adjacent to the Loveland Mine, which had been shut down in 1881 following a fire.  The fire had damaged the 90-foot pillar that separated the two mines.  Meanwhile, water from nearby Clear Creek had been seeping into the Loveland Mine, and after eight years the damaged pillar finally broke, unleashing water into the White Ash Mine and drowning ten workers.

In the 1889 report of the State Coal Mine Inspector, which is available online through our library, inspector John McNeil recounts how he immediately responded to the disaster, which had occurred at about 4pm on September 9, 1889.  In attempting a rescue effort, he found that water had reached a height of 100 feet above the shaft, making survival impossible.  McNeil and White Ash foreman Evan Jones and mine manager Paul Lanius worked all night in the hope of reaching some survivors.  Water was not the only deadly issue they had to contend with, however.  “By three o’clock on the morning of the tenth instant, I lowered a light with a hand line to a depth of 530 feet, at which point it was extinguished by the carbonic acid gas.”  McNeil was also “astonished to find that the water had a temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit.”  McNeil and Jones descended the mine in a bucket with a hoisting cable.  They “found that a portion of the old workings on this level were on fire, and judging from the intense heat…felt satisfied that the fire itself would soon reach the shaft timbers, [which were] already smoking.”  Coming back up to the surface, McNeil ordered the two mines be sealed up in order to keep the fire from spreading.  Later in the month the mines were reopened and water pumping and debris clearing began, which took several months.  It was during this cleanup period that the bodies of the ten men were found.

The 1889 report is of enormous historical value relating to this incident, because it not only gives us McNeil’s eyewitness account, but also contains copies of correspondence; information on the investigation; a fold-out illustration of the underground workings of the mine, showing the conditions for the accident; and a list of the names of the deceased.  All other mine fatalities occurring that year are also listed in the report.

Starting in 2009, Golden citizens and civic organizations raised money for the memorial statue, which replaced a small memorial plaque that had been dedicated in 1936 by Golden Mayor Albert Jones, son of foreman Evan Jones. Colorado School of Mines donated the land for the new memorial, which was dedicated on October 29, 2016.

The new memorial commemorating the White Ash Mine disaster.  Photo courtesy Colorado School of Mines.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: Dr. Florence Sabin

At the Statuary Hall at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., each state commemorates two of their greatest citizens.  The 100 statues include politicians, war heroes, explorers, artists, inventors, and other notables from all periods of U.S. history.  Among them is Colorado’s contribution* — and one of only nine women in the Hall — Dr. Florence Rena Sabin.

Originally from Central City, Colorado, Dr. Sabin (1871-1953) was among the first handful of women to attend the medical school at Johns Hopkins University.  In 1917, she became a professor at Johns Hopkins, and during the 1920s and 1930s held many prestigious positions in national medical associations.  Dr. Sabin’s passion was medical research, particularly on tuberculosis, which was widespread in America in the early 20th century.  In 1938, after retiring from the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, Dr. Sabin returned to Colorado, where she worked closely with governors and legislators to develop significant health laws for the state.  Appointed Denver’s Manager of Health and Charities in 1947, Dr. Sabin employed new techniques such as x-ray technology in fighting tuberculosis, which reduced the city’s tuberculosis rate by half.

Recent Levels of Known Tuberculosis in Colorado, a 1957 report from the Colorado State Department of Public Health, explained Dr. Sabin’s work in Colorado and her contribution to the reduction of the state’s tuberculosis rate.  The report quotes Dr. Sabin as saying — at age 77 — “It seems to me imperative that we find out the zones of high incidence of this disease and start a ten year program to correct present conditions.”  She only lived five more years, but in that time “enthusiastically sponsored…and helped to implement” the program, with significant success.  (See pages 5-7 of the 1957 report).

The statue of Dr. Sabin was placed in the U.S. Capitol in 1959.  Click here to read the Colorado Senate’s Joint Resolution for the dedication of the statue.  Dr. Sabin’s ashes are housed in a book-shaped urn in the mausoleum at Denver’s Fairmount Cemetery.

*Colorado’s second statue is Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigert.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Denver's Cheesman Park

Denver’s Cheesman Park is a great place to walk, jog, picnic, sunbathe, and relax.  But did you know that it was originally a cemetery?  And, what’s more, there are still as many as several hundred bodies still buried there!

In a nutshell, the site of Cheesman Park was once City Cemetery.  This was not an unusual ancestor for a park — cemeteries in the 1800s were designed to be restful, contemplative places with parklike greenery.  When Denver was brand-new in the 1860s and 1870s, City Cemetery was considered far away from the city.  But as the city grew, development expanded and the cemetery was removed in the 1890s to be replaced by a park.  Originally named Congress Park, it was renamed for Denver water magnate Walter Cheesman, whose widow funded the construction of the Cheesman Memorial Pavilion.

However, the reason that so many bodies are still there is because of a scandal involving the removal of the corpses.  You can read about it in “Denver’s Cheesman Park:  A Place for the Living, or the Nonliving?” in the November/December 2012 issue of Colorado Heritage, the magazine of History Colorado (formerly Colorado Historical Society), which is available for checkout from our library.  Copies of articles can also be requested; visit our library’s homepage for information.

For more about Cheesman Park, the Memorial Pavilion, and other Denver parks, see the Colorado Historical Society publication Denver’s Historic Markers, Memorials, Statues, and Parks, also available from our library.  Finally, for more fun Cheesman/Capitol Hill trivia, see the article “Walter Cheesman’s Cowin the Summer 1996 issue of Heritage.

Photo courtesy History Colorado

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: The Vulcan Mine Explosion

This week we use our digitized historical documents to travel back to 1896 and one of the state’s worst mining disasters.  On the morning of February 18 of that year, an explosion at the Vulcan coal mine near New Castle, Garfield County caused the death of forty-nine miners.  Among those killed were the mine’s foreman, assistant foreman, and fire boss.  Two fourteen-year-old boys were also among the victims.  About half of the fatalities were Italian immigrants.

The mine was owned by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad to supply coal for the railway.  Just ten days before, the mine had been inspected by David Griffiths, the State Inspector of Coal Mines, who pronounced it in fine condition.  His report and justification can be accessed online from our library — information on the Vulcan explosion starts on page 47.  “I did not visit all the working faces, but was satisfied from what I had seen that the local management was doing everything for the safety of life and property,” he wrote.  He also noted that he had not received any complaints from miners about the condition of the mine.  However, later investigation revealed that miners had issued complaints.  Five days after the disaster, Governor Albert McIntire tasked the inspector with determining the cause of the explosion, particularly in light of his positive report of just days prior.  The inspector’s “endeavors were fruitless,” however, and the cause of the explosion remained a mystery.  He suggested that the accident may have been caused by a defective safety lamp igniting gas in the mine, or a miner’s carelessness in exposing a lamp to gas and flammable coal dust.  Griffiths finally concluded, however, that the accident was caused by explosives used to open a blocked entryway, mixing with dust to form a flame that elongated and then exploded when it reached an area with an accumulation of gas.  However, a team of representatives of the mine had varying opinions on this potential cause and no consensus was reached.  “There are some peculiarities in connection with this explosion,” Griffiths admitted.

The forty-nine deaths made the Vulcan disaster one of the deadliest mine disasters in Colorado history.  It was such as large explosion that “the town of New Castle was shaken as if by an earthquake,” noted the Colorado Springs Gazette.  The explosion caused so much debris that the bodies could not be recovered until March 15, four weeks later.  The 1896 disaster would not be the Vulcan’s last.  In December 1913, another explosion, also thought to be caused by gas and dust conditions in the mine, caused the deaths of thirty-seven men.  The report of the 1913 explosion can be found starting on page 46 of the 1913 coal mine inspector’s report, also available from our library.  Following the second disaster the mine reopened on a smaller scale, later being operated by the Rocky Mountain Fuel Company and renamed the Garfield-Vulcan.  In 1919 a fatal explosion again rocked the mine, this time causing three deaths.  Following these disasters the mine ceased to operate, but coal seams still burn in the mountains around New Castle to this day.  In 2004, the town erected a memorial on the town’s Main Street commemorating the victims of the mine explosions.

A memorial dedicated to the lost miners is in New Castle’s Burning Mountain Park on Main Street.  Courtesy Northwest Colorado Cultural Heritage Program/Colorado Tourism Office.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Military History

The nation’s military history was the theme of the Denver Veteran’s Day Parade this year.  Colorado has an interesting and extensive military history, dating back to territorial days when Colorado volunteers played a role in the western theater of the Civil War.  You can learn about Colorado’s military history through a number of insightful publications available from our library, including:

MILITARY LIFE

  • This Soldier Life:  The Diaries of Romine H. Ostrander, 1863-1865, in Colorado Territory, Colorado Historical Society, 2006.
  • The Tall Chief:  The Unfinished Autobiography of Edward W. Wynkoop, 1856-1866.  Colorado Historical Society, 1994.

FORTS, CAMPS, BASES, ETC.

  • A Time for Peace:  Fort Lewis, 1878-1891.  University Press of Colorado, 2006.
  • The Military Establishment at Camp George West.  Colorado Historical Society, 1992.
  • Fort Garland Museum:  A Capsule History and Guide.  Colorado Historical Society, 2005.
  • Old Fort Garland.  Colorado Historical Society, 1954.

BATTLES/ENGAGEMENTS

  • Military Engagements Between United States Troops and Plains Indians. University of Northern Colorado, 1980.
  • Hollow Victory:  The White River Expedition of 1879 and the Battle of Milk Creek. University Press of Colorado, 1997.
  • The Battle of Beecher Island and the Indian War of 1867-1869.  University Press of Colorado, 1992.
  • Cheyenne Dog Soldiers:  A Ledgerbook History of Coups and Combat.  University Press of Colorado, 1997.

WARS

  • Just Outside of Manila:  Letters from Members of the First Colorado Regiment in the Spanish-American War. Colorado Historical Society, 1992.
  • Distant Bugles, Distant Drums:  The Union Response to the Confederate Invasion of New Mexico. University Press of Colorado, 2006.
  • Colorado Volunteers in the Civil War:  The New Mexico Campaign of 1862.  Colorado Historical Society, 1963.

MONUMENTS AND CEMETERIES

ARCHIVES

  • Military Records of the State and Territory of Colorado. Colorado State Archives.
  • Colorado Volunteers, 1861-1865.  Colorado State Archives.
  • Annual Report of the Department of Military Affairs

HOMEFRONT

  • A War-Modified Course of Study for the Public Schools of Colorado. Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1918.

This Veterans’ Day, these publications and others available from our library can help us to remember those Coloradans who fought and died for our country.

The Colorado Veterans’ Monument in Lincoln Park across from the State Capitol is one of many military monuments on or near the Capitol grounds.  Others include Civil War monument and cannons; a Pearl Harbor Memorial; the USS Colorado Memorial; Volunteers of the Spanish American War Flagpole; Medal of Honor recipient Joseph R. Martinez statue; Amache Internment Camp and Governor Ralph Carr memorials; and the Sand Creek Interpretive Plaque.  Photo courtesy Colorado Legislative Council.
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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado State Capitol Art and Memorials

Colorado’s State Capitol is filled with artworks, from murals by Allen Tupper True to stained glass windows commemorating famous Coloradans, portraits of every U.S. President, paintings, tapestries, and more.  On the Capitol grounds can be found a number of statues and Civil War cannons.  And in the Capitol dome you can find a history exhibit, Mr. Brown’s Attic.

A new website from the Colorado Legislative Council offers visitors a floor-by-floor virtual tour of these many artworks and memorials.  On the homepage, you can either click on the link to a particular floor or other area (basement, dome, grounds), or you can filter by a specific type of artwork, memorial, or architectural feature (sculptures, paintings, stained glass windows, etc.)  Once you click on an area or floor, you receive a color-coded map followed by a listing, with a photo, of each artwork.  This site is a handy resource to take along with you on your smartphone or tablet as you tour the building, or just to look at on your computer if you cannot visit in person. 

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Ludlow 100th Anniversary

Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre, which took place April 20, 1914.  On that day, the State Militia was called in to deal with striking coal miners, who wanted recognition of their union.  The Milita fired on the Colorado Fuel & Iron laborers at the Ludlow tent colony for 14 hours.  It culminated with the torching of the camp, which led to the deaths of two women and 11 children, who had burned to death after seeking protection by hiding in pits dug underneath their tents.  A number of striking miners were also killed in the incident.

An eyewitness account can be found in the 1913-14 Biennial Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the State of Colorado, available in our library.  From a dispatch of the United Mine Workers of America, reprinted in the Biennial Report:  “‘One hundred and fifty gunmen, in militiamen’s uniform and with state equipment, have, with six machine guns, kept up a constant attack on men, women and children since daybreak Monday morning. … One boy, aged 11, was murdered by the gunmen when he ran to get a drink for his mother, who had lain in a cellar ill…the bodies of from fifteen to twenty men and women are lying on the prairie and in the ruins of the tent colony.'” 

The Biennial Report also includes affadavits of striking miners, testimonies of state officials defending their actions, and even the texts of President Woodrow Wilson’s proclamation, proposal for strike settlement, and appointment of a national Peace Commission in response to Ludlow.  The Biennial Report represents an important collection of primary source documents in this event of national significance in the Labor Movement.

More resources and eyewitness accounts can be found in the newspapers of the time.  See this post from the Colorado State Library’s Yesterday’s News Blog for local newspaper articles of the time.  Additionally, the El Pueblo Museum, a property of History Colorado, is running a special exhibit, Children of Ludlow, through 2015.  You can also visit the Ludlow site itself, in Las Animas County near Trinidad, which includes a memorial.  The site is a National Historic Landmark.

A number of secondary sources can also be found in our library, including several books: 

  • Representation and Rebellion:  The Rockefeller Plan at the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company
  • From Redstone to Ludlow:  John Cleveland Osgood’s Struggle Against the United Mine Workers of America
  • The Archaeology of Class War:  The Colorado Coalfield Strike of 1913-1914
  • Remember Ludlow!
  • The Great Coalfield War
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Colorado State Publications Blog

Ludlow

99 years ago this Saturday, Colorado was the scene of one of the bloodiest and most controversial incidents in the Progressive Era labor wars.  The Ludlow Massacre, April 20, 1914, occurred when Colorado National Guard troops fired on striking coal miners and their families in the Ludlow tent colony near Trinidad.  The miners, employed by John D. Rockefeller’s Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I), were part of a strike organized by the United Mine Workers of America that lasted from September 1913 to November 1914.  One of the great tragedies of the massacre was that not just striking workers, but also their families, were the victims.  At least 19 people died in all; of these, two women and 11 children were killed when, trying to protect themselves by burrowing under a tent, fire consumed the tent above them.  Historian Howard Zinn called the massacre “…perhaps the most violent struggle between corporate power and laboring men in American history.”  Today the massacre site includes a monument to the victims and has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

The story of the strike and its aftermath is a complicated one, and many books have been written about Ludlow and the Colorado coal strike.  Some of the resources that you can find in our library include:

  • Brandstatter, Natasha.  “Remembering Ludlow:  A Monument for the Masses.”  Colorado Heritage, July/August 2012.
  • Larkin, Karin, and Randall H. McGuire, eds.  The Archaeology of Class War:  The Colorado Coalfield Strike of 1913-1914.  Boulder, CO:  University Press of Colorado, 2009.
  • McGovern, George S., and Leonard F. Guttridge.  The Great Coalfield War.  Niwot, CO:  University Press of Colorado, 1996.
  • Munsell, F. Darrell.  From Redstone to Ludlow:  John Cleveland Osgood’s Struggle Against the United Mine Workers of America.  Boulder, CO:  University Press of Colorado, 2009.
  • Pascoe, Pat.  Helen Ring Robinson:  Colorado Senator and Suffragist.  Boulder, CO:  University Press of Colorado, 2011.
  • Rees, Jonathan.  Representation and Rebellion:  The Rockefeller Plan at the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, 1914-1942.  Boulder, CO:  University Press of Colorado, 2010.
  • Sampson, Joanna.  Remember Ludlow!, Denver, CO:  Colorado Historical Society, 1999
  • Secrest, Clark.  “Ludlow:   A Colorado Horror.”  Colorado Heritage, Winter 1992.
  • Wolff, David A.  Industrializing the Rockies:  Growth, Competition and Turmoil in the Coalfields of Colorado and Wyoming, 1868-1914.  Boulder, CO:  University Press of Colorado, 2003.

Numerous other books and articles have been published on Ludlow and the Colorado Coal Strike, so be sure to check your local public or university library for more information.  You can also find records on the Ludlow Massacre at the Colorado State Archives.

The Colorado State Archives has in its collection this and other telegrams to Governor Elias Ammons two days after the Massacre, when strikers retaliated against the troops.  “…strike situation absolutely beyond control…men women and children now among dead…” 
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Colorado State Publications Blog

Holocaust Awareness Week

This week, April 7-14, is Holocaust Awareness Week, which the Colorado General Assembly will be commemorating with SJR13-026.  The Joint Resolution will be heard on the Senate floor this Thursday, April 11, and following Senate passage will move to the House.  Holocaust Awareness Week remembers the 11 million people who died in the Holocaust, at least 6 million of whom were Jewish, and strives to create awareness so that they are never forgotten, and also so that such genocide can be prevented in the future.  You can watch the General Assembly’s proceedings live as they offer speeches and tributes in rememberance of Holocaust victims and survivors.  The Colorado Channel will broadcast the proceedings live on Thursday morning, but they will also be archived on the website for future access.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Black History Month

African-Americans made (and continue to make) an important contribution to the history of Colorado.  You can read short biographies of several prominent blacks in Colorado history on the State Library’s Colorado Virtual Library website, including Justina Ford, Barney Ford, Hattie McDaniel, and James Pierson Beckwourth.  You can also find video biographies of Clara Brown, Bill Pickett, Justina Ford, and O.T. Jackson on History Colorado’s Biographies of Notable Coloradans page.  Also, in our library you can find back issues of Colorado Magazine and its successor, Colorado Heritage, from the Colorado Historical Society.  Here you can find articles on topics such as blacks in WWI and WWII; black cowboys; buffalo soldiers; civil rights; jazz musicians; negro baseball leagues; slavery and freedom; and much more.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month.  During this month, the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, and other cultural heritage organizations “join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans.”  For more information visit www.nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov.

The State Publications Library has numerous resources on Native American/American Indian history, life, and traditions, including information on history, arts, language, material culture, and more.  Some of the highlights in our collection include: 

Archaeology

  • Archaeological Landscapes on the High Plains. University Press of Colorado, 2009.
  • Denver:  An Archaeological History, University Press of Colorado, 2008.
  • Report of the State Archaeologist to the Commission of Indian Affairs.  Colorado Historical Society, 1999.
  • Archaeological Investigations at Wolf Spider Shelter, Las Animas County.  Colorado Department of Transportation, 1996.

Arts

  • Native American Ceramics of Eastern Colorado, University of Colorado Museum, 2002.

History

  • Tribal Paths:  Colorado’s American Indians, 1500 to TodayColorado Historical Society, 2010.
  • Enduring Legacies:  Ethnic Histories and Cultures of the Colorado Borderlands.  University Press of Colorado, 2011.
  • The Ute Indian Museum:  Capsule History and Guide.  Colorado Historical Society, 2009.
  • The Ute Indians of Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico.  University Press of Colorado, 2000.
  • Cheyenne Dog Soldiers:  A Ledgerbook History of Coups and Combat.  University Press of Colorado, 1997.
  • The Anasazi of Mesa Verde and the Four Corners.  University Press of Colorado, 1996.

Language

  • A Reference Grammar of the Cheyenne Language.  University of Northern Colorado, 1980.

Law

  • A Guide to Colorado Legal Resources for Native Americans.  University of Colorado School of Law, 2005.
  • Report of the Native American Sacred Lands Forum, University of Colorado School of Law, 2001.
  • Indian Water Rights in the West:  A Study.  Western States Water Council, 1983.
  • Charters, Constitutions and Bylaws of the Indian Tribes of North America.  University of Northern Colorado, 1981.
  • Treaties Between the Tribes of the Great Plains and the United States of America, Cheyenne and Arapaho, 1825-1900.  University of Northern Colorado, 1977.
  • Southern Ute Lands, 1848-1899:  The Creation of a Reservation.  Fort Lewis College, 1972.

Traditions

  • Tell Me, Grandmother:  Traditions, Stories, and Cultures of Arapaho People.  University Press of Colorado, 2004.
  • Sacred Objects and Sacred Places:  Preserving Tribal Traditions.  University Press of Colorado, 2000.
  • Colorado Ute Legacy (video).  Colorado Historical Society, 1999.
  • Cheyenne Texts:  An Introduction to Cheyenne Literature.  University of Northern Colorado, 1980.

Listed above are just a few of the many resources we have available in our library; search our web catalog for more.

Also be sure to check out the Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs’ Resource Directory and the Auraria Library/Center for Colorado and the West’s Native American Studies Resource Guide

Finally, November is also the month we remember the Sand Creek Massacre, an attack on a peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho village that occurred on November 29, 1864.  For more on Sand Creek see this entry from the Colorado Historical Society’s blog; see also the chapter in Western Voices:  125 Years of Colorado Writing, also from the Colorado Historical Society (2004) and available from our library.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Ike Liked Colorado

So far, no U.S. President has hailed from Colorado, but one of the first ladies has – Mamie Eisenhower.  As a result, the President who spent the most time in our state was Dwight D. Eisenhower; he even established a “Summer White House” at Lowry Air Base during his presidency.  It was on this day 57 years ago, September 24, 1955, that Eisenhower suffered a heart attack while visiting Colorado.  According to Colorado:  A History of the Centennial State (University Press of Colorado, 2005), which you can check out from our library, Ike’s heart attack came after eating a hamburger and playing twenty-seven holes of golf! 
Eisenhower’s Colorado legacy also extends to transportation.  Colorado describes how one of his fishing buddies, a developer, helped convince the President to support the construction of I-70 running east-west through Colorado.  As a result, the Eisenhower Tunnel was named for him.  (A bit of trivia:  Only the westbound tunnel is the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel; the eastbound tunnel is the Johnson Memorial Tunnel, named for Colorado Governor and U.S. Senator Edwin C. Johnson.)  Learn more about the Eisenhower/Johnson tunnels on the Colorado Department of Transportation’s website, which includes a behind-the-scenes photo tour of the operation of the tunnels. 
Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnels.  Courtesy CDOT.
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Colorado State Publications Blog

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month begins Saturday and continues through October 15.  Hispanos have been an important part of Colorado history since the sixteenth century, when Spanish explorers roamed the Southwest in search of gold.  Ever since, the Hispanic community has made many contributions to the history of our state.  If you are researching Hispanic history in Colorado, our library has many resources that can help you.  Some of these include:

  • Colorado Hispanic Studies Resource Guide, Center for Colorado and the West, University of Colorado Denver.
  • Hispanic History Resources, History Colorado.
  • Enduring Legacies:  Ethnic Histories and Cultures of the Colorado Border Lands.  University Press of Colorado, 2011.
  • Colorado Review of Hispanic Studies journal, University of Colorado at Boulder.
  • The Life and Times of Richard Castro, Colorado Historical Society, 2007.
  • El Pueblo History Museum, a Capsule History and Guide.  Colorado Historical Society, 2006.
  • The Culebra River Villages of Costilla County, Colorado Historical Society, 2002.
  • The San Luis Valley:  Land of the Six-Armed Cross.  University Press of Colorado, 1999.
  • La Gente:  Hispano History and Life in Colorado, Colorado Historical Society, 1998.
  • The Architecture and Art of Early Hispanic Colorado, University Press of Colorado, 1998.
  • Race and Hispanic Origin for Colorado Counties and Regions, Colorado Dept. of Local Affairs, 1990.
  • Confluencia journal, University of Northern Colorado
  • The Status of Spanish-Surnamed Citizens in Colorado: Report to the Colorado General Assembly, 1967.

We also have much more, so be sure to check our web catalog for additional resources, including information on the contemporary Hispanic community. 

Finally, check out the Colorado Virtual Library, a project of the Colorado State Library, for biographies on famous Hispanic Coloradans, including:

  • Felipe Baca, rancher and town founder
  • Casimiro Barela, state legislator
  • Rudolfo “Corky” Gonzalez, activitst
  • Federico Peña, Mayor of Denver
  • Teresita Sandoval, early settler
  • Juana Suaso Simpson, early settler
Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Denver's Civic Center

Exciting news for Denver:  Civic Center has been recommended by the U.S. Department of the Interior to become a National Historic Landmark!  This is a prestigious honor for historic sites in the U.S. – according to the official announcement, if designated, “Civic Center would join a list of some of the most iconic, treasured and historically significant spaces in the United States. Designation would place Civic Center alongside such sites as the Empire State Building, the Alamo and the Library of Congress.”  The National Park Service Advisory Board will consider the recommendation today, May 22.  To find a list of all NHLs by state, visit the National Park Service’s NHL page.

One of the very interesting historical aspects of Civic Center that not many people realize is that the entire area was once completely built up.  One of the gems in our library collection is On Colfax Avenue:  A Victorian Childhood, by Elizabeth Young (published by the Colorado Historical Society).  This fun memoir describes growing up in late-nineteenth century Denver.  The house that Elizabeth grew up in used to be on about the northwest edge of what is now Civic Center Park.  (Another Denver girl growing up in the same time period, Edwina Hume Fallis, also published her memoirs in the book When Denver and I Were YoungShe also grew up in what is now Civic Center, living at what would have been about 14th and Acoma.) 

Civic Center was envisioned by Mayor Robert Speer during the early twentieth century.  At that time, the “City Beautiful Movement” was sweeping the country.  Ignited by the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, which created a model “White City,” cities across the nation sought to return to classical styles of architecture and rebuild their cities on European models.  Speer himself traveled around Europe gathering ideas to bring back to Denver. 

The Denver Public Library’s Western History and Genealogy Department has some terrific photos of Civic Center over the years, including photos of the buildings that stood there before being removed for construction of the park, and some eerie demolition photos

Civic Center, which includes the park in the center with the State Capitol to the east, the City and County building to the west, the Voorhies Memorial to the north, and the Greek Theater to the south, is a historic place that combines Colorado and Denver’s centers of government with classical architecture, artworks (including murals by Allen True), the Denver Public Library and Denver Art Museum, and much more.  The Park, though sometimes having a reputation as being sketchy, is brought to life by summer festivals and other events that make this a most historic part of Denver.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Peace Officers Memorial Day

Today, May 15, is Peace Officers Memorial Day.  The law creating this observance was signed by President Kennedy in 1962.  Since a1994 amendment to the law, flags are supposed to be lowered to half-staff to remember our brave officers who died in the line of duty.  Here in Colorado, you can visit the Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial in Golden.  You can also read about the lives of fallen officers on the following pages: 

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

International Women's Day/Women's History Month

Today is International Women’s Day, and March is Women’s History Month.  The Colorado State Senate passed a Joint Resolution honoring Women’s History Month.  We have a number of publications in our library that deal with Colorado women.  Some resources you can find in our library include, by topic:

BIOGRAPHY
Helen Ring Robinson:  Colorado Senator and Suffragist
A Wide-Awake Woman:  Josephine Roche in the Era of Reform
Irene Jerome Hood:  A Victorian Woman and Her Art

CIVIL RIGHTS
Pregnancy Discrimination

CRIME AND CORRECTIONS
Poverty, Recidivism and Women Offenders

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Colorado State Plan, S.T.O.P. Violence Against Women Act
Violence Against Women

EMPLOYMENT AND BUSINESS
Fulfilling the Promise:  Closing the Pay Gap for Women and Minorities in Colorado
Survey of Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses in Colorado
Colorado Women’s Economic Summit:  Creating Solutions

HEALTH
How Healthy Are Women of Reproductive Age?
Women’s Health Issues
Women and Cardiovascular Disease
The Health of Women in Colorado

HISTORY
Directory of Women’s History Sites in the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties
Long Vistas:  Women and Families on Colorado Homesteads
Colorado Women’s History:  A Multicultural Treasury
Women’s Gold (VHS)

And much, much more, so search our web catalog for topics that interest you.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Helen Ring Robinson

Tomorrow, March 2, the Colorado Legislature will pass a resolution honoring Helen Ring Robinson, the first woman elected to the Colorado State Senate, who served from 1913 to 1917. Robinson was recently profiled in a new biography, available from our library, Helen Ring Robinson: Senator and Suffragette, written by another former female Colorado legislator, Pat Pascoe. You can view the legislative session live online at 9:00a.m. on the Colorado Channel.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Martin Luther King Day of Service

Colorado’s Liutenant Governor and the Governor’s Commission on Community Service are promoting the Martin Luther King Day of Service, to encourage Coloradans to spend their day off volunteering. Their website offers information on how you can help, including groups and causes looking for volunteers, as well as archived reports from past years’ days of service and other Commission activities.