Resources for Teaching Colorado History

If you’re a teacher and Colorado history is among your subjects this school year, the State of Colorado and our library have numerous resources that can help you and your students. The State Publications Library is a treasure-trove of primary source material. From the original state constitution to publications that examine life in Colorado in […]

State Capitol Tours

Summer is a great time to tour the State Capitol building. Whether you’re looking for a fun educational activity with your kids, or you’re just curious yourself, a tour of the Capitol is a great way to learn about Colorado’s history and government and enjoy the statehouse’s beautiful architecture. Each year, nearly 70,000 people tour […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Minerals and Geology

One of the most frequently accessed publications in our library’s digital collection is The Minerals of Colorado and Area Locations. Published in 1960 by the Colorado Bureau of Mines, this resource lists the various minerals found in Colorado and exactly where in the state they have been discovered, including by county and by mine name (if […]

Colorado's Own Tartan

Today is National Tartan Day.  Did you know that Colorado has a state tartan?  According to information from the State Archives, the Colorado tartan, or plaid pattern, “is comprised of a pattern and colors that symbolize Colorado’s splendor and history.” The colors of the tartan include forest green, cerulean blue, black, lavender, and white – […]

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Amphibian

Colorado’s newest state symbol, designated just this year, is the State Amphibian, the Western Tiger Salamander.  This small amphibian can be found in ponds and lakes statewide; also look for them near rodent burrows and on ground surfaces at night during damp weather.  For more information, see the Tiger Salamander page in the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s […]

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Reptile

Like many of our other state symbols, schoolchildren petitioned the Legislature for the designation of the State Reptile.  In 2007 the distinction went to the Western Painted Turtle, a small, multicolored turtle found in ponds and lakes around the state.  Check out the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife’s website for a species profile of the […]

Colorado’s State Symbols: The State Rock

Not to be confused with the State Gemstone (Aquamarine) and the State Mineral (Rhodochrosite), the State Rock is Colorado Yule Marble.  Quarried in Marble, Colorado in Gunnison County, Colorado Yule Marble has been used in many important buildings around the state including the Colorado State Capitol; it has also been used in the Washington Monument, […]

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Mineral

Colorado’s State Mineral is the deep red Rhodochrosite.  The Colorado State Archives tells us that “On April 17, 2002, Colorado Governor Bill Owens signed a bill passed by the General Assembly designating the Rhodochrosite as the new state mineral. While there was some debate as to whether the state mineral should be gold or silver or […]

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Tree

The Colorado General Assembly officially designated the Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens) as Colorado’s State Tree on March 7, 1939.  This coniferous tree found in the higher elevations of Colorado is of a bluish color.  It was first documented on Pikes Peak in 1862.  You can read more about Colorado Blue Spruce on the Colorado State Forest Service’s […]

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Tartan

In Scotland, different patterned tartans, or plaids, are used to symbolize different clans, or families.  Well, did you know that Colorado has its very own tartan design?  The General Assembly adopted the state tartan in 1997.  The dominant color is cerulean blue, accented with forest green, black, lavendar, gold, white, and red, all chosen to symbolize something about Colorado.  […]

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Insect

The Colorado General Assembly designated the Blue Hairstreak Butterfly, Hypaurotis cysalus, as the State Insect in 1996.  The two-inch-wide, black, orange and purply-blue butterfly is generally found at elevations between 6,500 and 7,500 feet.  To learn more about Colorado butterflies, see the Colorado State University Extension publication Attracting Butterflies to the Garden.   Image courtesy Colorado State Archives

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Gemstone

Because Colorado’s mountains are rich in minerals, there are many gemstones to be found in our state, but only one has the distinction of being named Colorado’s state gemstone – the aquamarine.  This light blue to green mineral was designated our state gemstone in 1971; it is found primarily at Mount Antero and White Mountain in […]

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Fossil

Schoolchildren suggested Colorado adopt a state fossil, the dinosaur Stegosaurus, in 1982.  One of the most recognized dinosaurs, with its line of plates along its back and spiky tail for defense, Stegosaurus lived in what came to be Colorado during the Mesozoic era, Jurassic period 150 million years ago.  Stegosaurus fossils have been discovered in Colorado.  For […]

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Fish

Colorado’s state fish is the Greenback Cutthroat Trout, Oncorhynchus clarki somias.  Colorado’s waters are filled with many kinds of trout, such as Rainbow Trout and Brook Trout; however, the Greenback Cutthroat is special because by the late 20th century it was on the brink of extinction.  Then, in the 1990s, scientists discovered a few small […]