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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado’s Role in World War I

Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the First World War. Colorado had reason to be proud of its role in the Great War. In early 1917, Colorado’s state legislature was the first in the nation, according to James Baker and Leroy Hafen’s History of Colorado, to appropriate funds for the National Guard in the event of war. 43,000 Coloradans served in the military or were training to serve at the time the war ended, with 1,009 Coloradans killed and 1,759 wounded. At home, numerous others were engaged in war work or volunteered in various ways to assist in the war effort, whether through war bond fundraisers, Red Cross chapters, defense councils, Home Guards, supply collections, or other activities. You can read about Colorado’s role in the Great War in a chapter in the 1927 History of Colorado, which has been digitized by our library. Here you can find information on the training and organization of Colorado’s troops; state governmental leadership during the war; and the activities of the war effort here at home. The authors concluded:

“‘Colorado in the World War’ was a wonderful spectacle, a whole state converted into a smoothly running powerful machine for winning the war. It was a moving sight to see rich and poor, country and city people alike, accept the draft, give up their sons, some of them to die, without a murmur of protest. For the time, there were no parties or classes. It was a unit moved by the single purpose to make the power of this state felt to the highest degree in destroying the enemy of civilization…Everybody within the boundaries of the state did everything he could. No sacrifice was too great.”

 

 

Colorado headlines from November 11, 1918, courtesy of Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community

A recent news story discussed a new state audit report assessing the Fort Lyon residential facility – but the news report failed to actually link to the report. You can view the report here. The report provides a cost-benefit analysis of the facility and an assessment of success rates.

Fort Lyon, in Bent County, served as a U.S. Army fort from 1867 to 1897. In the twentieth century it was used as a veteran’s hospital, and then as a minimum security prison from 2001-2011. In 2013 the site reopened as a rehab facility for homeless persons. The facility includes not only housing, but programs to help residents overcome substance abuse issues. It is not a correctional facility – residents live there by choice.

Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community is run by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. To learn more, visit the facility’s website.

Residents of Fort Lyon get to live in the campus’s historic buildings. Photo courtesy DOLA.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

College and University Veteran Services

Colorado’s state-funded colleges and universities support veterans and active-duty servicemembers in a variety of ways, from tuition benefits to job placement assistance to mental health services.  If you are a servicemember or veteran who is thinking of applying to a Colorado higher education institution, the following list provides links to the different veterans programs offered by each college or university:

Adams State College:  Veteran’s Educational Benefits
Colorado Community College System:  Veteran Education & Training
Colorado Mesa University:  Veteran Services
Colorado School of Mines:  Veterans Services
Colorado State University:  Services for Veterans at CSU
Colorado State University – Global Campus:  Military Tuition Assistance and Benefits
Colorado State University – Pueblo:  Military and Veterans Success Center
Fort Lewis College:  VA Educational Benefits
Metropolitan State University of Denver:  Veteran and Military Student Support Services
University of Colorado – Boulder:  Office of Veteran Services
University of Colorado – Colorado Springs:  Office of Veteran and Military Student Affairs
University of Colorado – Denver: Veteran & Military Student Services
University of Northern Colorado: Veterans Services
Western State Colorado University: Veteran Educational Benefits

 

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: Increasing Farm Production in Wartime

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, ever-increasing numbers of Americans were joining the armed forces.  Whether they were training stateside or had been shipped overseas to fight in Europe or the Pacific, the huge numbers of soldiers, sailors, nurses, and others involved in the war needed to be fed.  Luckily, the United States had millions of acres of farmland to grow crops and livestock to feed the hungry soldiers.

A USDA poster promoting wartime farm production.

There was one problem, however.  Throughout the 1930s farmers on the Great Plains had suffered through drought, dust storms, and the Depression.  Agricultural production had declined as a result, and many wary farmers were reluctant to increase production.  By 1942, however, rising farm prices and a push by government agencies to encourage farm production helped to reverse this trend.  Among the agencies here in Colorado working to help farmers increase production was the Colorado State Board for Vocational Education.  A forerunner to today’s community college system, the Board worked to improve education in vocations and trades.  In 1942 they teamed up with the Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts (today’s Colorado State University) to offer a Rural War Production Training Program.

The program offered 20-hour courses designed to help farmers increase the production of specific commodities most needed by the war effort (beef, vegetables, wool, etc.).  The courses also encouraged home vegetable gardening due to shortages of imported foods.  “The main purpose of the war production courses is to discuss with producers ways and means, and to assist them in outlining plans of action, by which the production goal can be reached in the shortest possible time and with the greatest efficiency,” wrote the Board in one of their course manuals.  These manuals, which you can read online courtesy of our library, were issued for the course instructors to help them develop syllabi. They included teaching tips, discussion questions, sample course outlines, and suggestions for film strips and reference material.  These manuals offer an interesting look at the teaching methods of the past as well as of the importance of farming during wartime.  The manuals available from our library are:

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Veterans' Benefits

Military veterans are entitled to many state and federal benefits including home loans, tuition support, career services, nursing homes, and burial services.  Recently the Colorado Legislative Council published an Issue Brief that gives an overview of the benefits available to veterans in Colorado.

For more in-depth information on some of the programs listed in this overview, see the following publications, available from our library:

You can also find helpful information on the following websites:

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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

Veterans Community Living Centers

Colorado offers five state-run homes for aged veterans and their families.  Located in Aurora (Fitzsimons), Florence, Monte Vista, Rifle, and Walsenburg, the facilities provide a variety of services including long- and short-term care, assisted living, memory care, and hospice services.  Those eligible for the Veterans Community Living Centers (formerly known as State and Veterans Nursing Homes) include honorably discharged veterans, their spouses/widows, and “Gold Star” parents (those whose children died while serving in the Armed Forces).  To find out more about the homes and the services they provide, go to their website.

For detailed information and background on the program, search our library’s online catalog using search terms  veterans nursing homes and veterans community living centers.  Here you will find resources such as audit reports, legislative reports, business plans, annual reports, and sunset reviews.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: Pearl Harbor

It was “a date that will live in infamy” — December 7, 1941 — and to this day we still commemorate the attack on Pearl Harbor as one of the most significant events in our country’s history.  Tomorrow, December 7, 2016, will be the 75th Anniversary of the historic event that brought America into WWII.

Here on the homefront, Americans were quick to mobilize and respond.  In Colorado, the Extension Service at the Colorado State College (now Colorado State University) that same month issued their Agricultural Planning Handbook, first in the new Colorado Farm Defense Program series of brochures.  In May 1942 the series was renamed the Colorado Farm Victory Program.  Search our library’s online catalog to view all of the publications in the series and see what Colorado was doing on the agricultural front throughout the war.

Two months after the attack, in February 1942, Governor Ralph Carr convened an assembly of over 250 Coloradans at the State Capitol to discuss “a plan for a statewide program of community civic adult education and information” regarding the war effort.  The report of the assembly, entitled Civilian and Community Morale Through Understanding and Participation, has been digitized by our library and is available to read online.

For an additional perspective on Pearl Harbor’s impact on Colorado, read the article “Pearl Harbor and One Mother’s Heartbreak,” by Clara May Morse, in the anthology Western Voices:  125 Years of Colorado Writing, available for checkout from our library.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Camp George West and Military Munitions on Green Mountain

This month the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced that it will be investigating possible unexploded military munitions from testing sites at Camp George West in the 1930s through WWII.  There is concern that some of these munitions may be found in nearby Green Mountain residential neighborhoods that were developed after that time, and the CDPHE may be contacting residents in the areas.  For more information on CDPHE’s investigation, see their February 12 press release and their informational webpage.

Camp George West was established near Golden in 1903, originally known as the State Rifle Range.  It was used as a summer encampment for the Colorado National Guard from 1906 to 1944.  For historical information on Camp George West see History Colorado’s Historic Resources of Camp George West.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Resources for Military Families

As we keep our veterans and servicepersons in our thoughts this Veteran’s Day, here are some resources from our library with information on services and benefits for military families:

Also, you can learn about the following state programs and guidelines by visiting these webpages:

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Colorado State Publications Blog

10th Mountain Division

Today came the news that Earl Clark, who served with the 10th Mountain Division in WWII and organized a national association for veterans of the 10th, has died.  Clark was also inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame. 

The 10th Mountain Division was organized during WWII as the “soldiers on skis” who were specially trained for mountain fighting.  Much of their training took place at Camp Hale, near Leadville.  The Division, including Mr. Clark, fought in northern Italy in WWII and helped to force the Nazis out of that region.  The 10th Mountain Division still exists, though no longer based in Colorado, and has recently trained soldiers for the mountains of Afghanistan.

The Denver Public Library Western History & Genealogy Department and the Colorado Historical Society (History Colorado) both have extensive collections of 10th Mountain Division archives and artifacts.  One interesting artifact held by History Colorado is the 10th Mountain Division diary of Dan Kennerly. This diary of the Italy campaign has been published in the Spring 2004 issue of Colorado Heritage magazine, which is available for checkout from our library. 
 

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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

Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran’s Day — to all our veterans and active military out there, thank you for your service.  The State of Colorado offers many resources for veterans: 

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Colorado State Publications Blog

The American Soldier

Be sure to visit the History Colorado Center to view their exhibit “The American Soldier” before it closes on September 2!  This poignant exhibit explores through photographs the lives and experiences of American soldiers from the Civil War to the present day.  Soldiers’ experiences have also been preserved through letters and diaries.  On the History Colorado website you can find the WWI letters of 1st Lt. Charles Stewart, which were discovered in a Denver attic.  Another interesting look at military life is the diary of Romine H. Ostrander, kept from 1863-1865 during his service in the 1st Colorado Infantry.  The diary has been published in book form by the Colorado Historical Society and is available from our library.  

 

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Colorado State Publications Blog

D-Day Radio Broadcasts

Did you know that you can listen to online recordings of radio broadcasts from D-Day, courtesy of the Colorado State Archives?  Recorded by NBC on June 6, 1944, the historic recordings were given to Colorado Governor Stephen L.R. McNichols in 1957.  They found a home at the Colorado State Archives and are now available online.  These recordings give fascinating insight into history as it unfolded.  Pictured below is a copy of the cover of the recording given to Governor McNichols. 

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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

New Resource for Military Servicepersons in Colorado

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office has just released a new guidebook, Consumer Guide for Military Personnel and their Families.  This helpful guide gives service members and their families information on topics such as predatory lending, debt collector scams, foreclosures, identity theft, fraud prevention, and more, all written specifically for those serving our country.  For more information on consumer protection and fraud in Colorado, or to report a fraud, see the Colorado Attorney General’s website’s Consumer Protection Section.
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Colorado State Publications Blog

Hire a Colorado Vet

We’re talking about veterans, not veterinarians. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has just launched a new resource “Hire a Colorado Vet” to help veterans find employment opportunities. Besides offering tools for resume help and interview preparation, the site creates a way for veterans to connect with potential employers. Employers are able to post job openings, and veterans can post an online job application that employers can search to find qualified applicants.

In a recent press release, Governor Hickenlooper gave his support for the program:
“Veterans bring great job skills, values and experience to an employer. The Hire A Colorado Vet program allows our country’s veterans to connect with employers. This program will help to ensure that when veterans return home they are welcomed, respected – and employed,” Hickenlooper said. “Employers who hire veterans will tell you they have made a real investment in their business with each hire.”

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado in the Civil War

Lately, Civil War history has come into the spotlight as it began 150 years ago this year, and many anniversary events are taking place. Today, December 6, is the 146th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which ended slavery in 1865.

While many think of the Civil War as being fought mostly in the East, Colorado did have a role. The Colorado Volunteers fought in the Battle of Glorieta Pass (which actually took place in what is now New Mexico) in what is called the “Gettysburg of the West” against Confederate Texans. (Less gloriously, the Colorado Volunteers also fought in the “Indian Wars” and were responsible for the Sand Creek Massacre, which destroyed around 200 peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians).

Did you know, there are more books written about the Civil War than any other event in American History? Two interesting books in our library collection, both published by the Colorado Historical Society, shed light on the Colorado Volunteers’ service in the Civil War: Colorado Volunteers in the Civil War: The New Mexico Campaign in 1862; and This Soldier Life: The Diaries of Romine H. Ostrander, 1863-1865, in Colorado Territory.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Veterans Day – November 11th

On Friday, many state offices will be closed in observance of Veterans Day.

Since 1919, November 11th has been a day to honor those who have fought for our country in times of war. The date was originally chosen to honor the armistice between the Allied nations and Germany at the end of World War I that went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of November (Armistice Day). In June 1954, legislation was passed changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day, to honor American veterans of all wars.

If you’d like more information on the history of veteran’s day and how it is commemorated, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has put together a nice set of Veteran’s Day resources, including a teacher’s guide.

On a related note, if you are looking for information on services available to Colorado veterans, visit these state agency websites:

The Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs is a central source of information on veterans benefits, rights and issues. Their “Veteran Resource Links” page is a great collection of internet resourcesfor veterans.

The Veterans’ Services program at the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has a mission “to provide Veterans and transitioning service members with the resources and services to succeed in the 21st Century workforce by meeting labor-market demands with qualified Veterans.” This is the place to go for information on employment services, education and training, and benefits for veterans.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Military Records

There are several places within Colorado state government to find military records. Historic military records are housed at the Colorado State Archives. These include the records of military personnel from Colorado who served as Colorado Volunteers or Colorado National Guard members. At the archives you can find rosters, muster rolls, service records, administrative files, special and general orders, record books, and much more. You can also search their online indexes for Colorado Volunteers registration (1861-65), Colorado Civil War casualties, Colorado Volunteers in the Spanish American War, Colorado Veterans’ grave registration index, Colorado Vietnam War casulaties, and more. (For historical background on the Colorado Volunteers, see this article from the Archives.)

More recent Colorado National Guard records can be obtained through the Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs. See their website for instructions on obtaining records.