Medium 9781607321446

Colorado: The Highest State, Second Edition: The Highest State, Second Edition

Views: 1737
Ratings: (0)

Chronicling the people, places, and events of the state's colorful history, Colorado: The Highest State is the story of how Colorado grew up. Through booms and busts in farming and ranching, mining and railroading, and water and oil, Colorado's past is a cycle of ups and downs as high as the state's peaks and as low as its canyons. The second edition is the result of a major revision, with updates on all material, two new chapters, and ninety new photos. Each chapter is followed by questions, suggested activities, recommended reading, a "Did you know?" trivia section, and recommended websites, movies, and other multimedia that highlight the important concepts covered and lead the reader to more information. Additionally, the book is filled with photographs, making Colorado: The Highest State a fantastic text for middle and high school Colorado history courses.

List price: $27.95

Your Price: $22.36

You Save: 20%

 

22 Slices

Format Buy Remix

1 THE HIGHEST STATE

ePub

The young college professor hoped to see the Colorado prairies and mountains from the top of Pikes Peak. For a young woman in 1893, that trip would have been quite an adventure. So Katharine Lee Bates and some friends hired a wagon and a driver and started up America’s most famous mountain.

The trip thrilled Professor Bates. Atop Pikes Peak she wrote: “I was looking out over the sea-like expanse of fertile country” when the opening lines of a poem “floated into my mind”:

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!

These lines from her poem became the beginning of the song “America the Beautiful.” Years later, Denver poet Thomas Hornsby Ferril wrote a poem about the community in which he lived for over ninety years. “Two Rivers” describes the South Platte River and Cherry Creek and the people who came to settle along their banks in Denver:

Two rivers that were here before there was
A city here still come together: one
Is a mountain river flowing into the prairie;

 

2 THE FIRST COLORADANS

ePub

Evidence of the first human beings in Colorado dates back more than 17,000 years. These first people were hunters and food gatherers who had come to North America from Asia around 25,000 years ago. To find out more about these earliest Coloradans, archaeologists continue to excavate their sites and study the relics they find. The ancient past remains a giant puzzle for which we are still finding new pieces.

The Paleo-Indian people, who began to settle Colorado around 13,000 years ago, had no written language. We know about them because they left rock art behind. They either painted pictographs on rock walls or used stones to carve out petroglyphs. Archaeologists have also found campsites, burial sites, stone tools, and skeletons of some of the large animals Paleo-Indians killed to eat. They hunted huge bison or buffalo, ground sloths, and mammoth elephants. These early people also hunted animals you would recognize: rabbits, deer, and coyotes.

At the time of the Paleo-Indians, mammoths, camels, and horses roamed all across Colorado. Mammoth bones have been found at various sites in the state. These giant animals eventually became extinct in Colorado.

 

3 NATIVE PEOPLES OF COLORADO

ePub

While the Ancestral Puebloans were building and farming in southwestern Colorado, other Native Americans were exploring the eastern plains. Archaeologists have found rock shelters, camps, storage pits, artifacts, and burial sites in that region. Like the Ancestral Puebloans, these other early Indians were hunters and gatherers at first, and some later became farmers. They were related to Native American cultures in the East, perhaps even to the famous Mound Builders of the Midwest.

These ancient tribes may have made contact with the Ancestral Puebloans. Undoubtedly, they migrated into eastern Colorado from several directions. When the first Europeans reached this area, these people, like the Ancestral Puebloans, were gone. In their place were the Plains Indians.

The name Apache encompasses several similar tribes who ranged across the area that is now the US Southwest. The term includes six of the major traditional Apachean-speaking groups: Chiricahua, Jicarilla, Lipans, Mescalero, Plains Apache, and Western Apache. The Apache were also kin to the Navajo, although the two tribes were not always on friendly terms. The Gila Apache, for example, often fought with the Navajo. The Navajo call themselves Diné, which means “the people” in the Apachean language. The term Apache probably comes from the Zuni and means “enemy.” The tribes who make up the Apache were skilled warriors and bison hunters on the Great Plains.

 

4 EXPLORERS, TRAPPERS, AND TRADERS

ePub

As early as the 1600s, the Native Americans realized they were not going to have Colorado to themselves. From the south came men riding strange beasts, practicing a different religion, and bringing tools and weapons the Indians had never seen. The lives of these foreigners as well as those of the Indians would never be the same. In 1598 the Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate commanded the expedition that brought European settlement to what the Spanish called New Mexico. Word spread quickly among the Native Americans that a new and unusual people had arrived. It would not be long before the two peoples made contact, each group curious about the other.

The Spanish in the Rio Grande Valley did more than simply trade with the Utes and the Plains tribes. They were also interested in exploring the land. The Spaniards dreamed of finding gold and silver in the mountains to the north or on the eastern plains. Catholic friars also hoped to find converts among the Native population.

We do not know about all the Spanish expeditions to the land that would become Colorado. We do know that in 1650, Juan de Archuleta led a search party to recapture some Pueblo Indians. Seeking freedom, they had fled from the Spanish. Archuleta’s party traveled across the eastern plains, along the Arkansas River, and to an Apache settlement known as El Quartelejo. There, Juan de Ulibarri also captured some runaway Pueblo Indians in 1706.

 

5 UP THE RIO GRANDE

ePub

Before the gold rush and the arrival of English-speaking people, the Spanish had already settled in Colorado. These pioneers came up from New Mexico along the Rio Grande, the third-longest river in the United States. The Rio Grande became the pioneer route from Old Mexico and New Mexico into what is now southern Colorado.

Hispanics found a wide mountain valley along the upper Rio Grande, where they started the first permanent towns in Colorado. They built their villages with adobe—a mixture of local clay and water with hay mixed in to help hold the bricks together. On top of adobe walls, they used logs to build roofs. The log ends left sticking out of the walls were called vigas. To secure their villages, the Hispanics formed plaza villages by lining up the buildings to form four walls around the town. The open area in the center was known as the town’s plaza.

The Plaza de los Manzanares was the first of many plaza villages in the San Luis Valley. Manuel and Pedro Manzanares brought their families to settle there in 1849. This tiny town is now called Garcia. It is on the Colorado–New Mexico state line.

 

6 NATIVES VERSUS NEWCOMERS

ePub

In the 1880s, natives who had long occupied Colorado began to face newcomers who also wished to live here. Both groups called this land home. Sadly, neither group ever completely understood the other. Neither the Native Americans nor the Euro-Americans, as US residents of European ancestry are sometimes called, were all bad or all good. They were just human beings trying to do their best for themselves, their families, and their friends. Their disagreement had started centuries earlier on the Atlantic Coast of the North American continent, where the struggling English colonists and eastern tribes had engaged in a series of bitter attacks and counterattacks. As European, then American, settlement moved west, the conflict continued.

During the 1700s, the Spanish in New Mexico had campaigned against the Utes and the Comanche from Colorado. The Native Americans had raided Spanish lands, and the governor of New Mexico sent troops northward to punish the raiders and show them Spain’s might. The Spanish, however, were never able to establish a permanent settlement in this part of the Rocky Mountains. This struggle, therefore, proved minor compared with what happened later.

 

7 MINERS

ePub

“PIKES PEAK GOLD—A NEW CALIFORNIA.” This headline greeted readers of The Leavenworth [Kansas] Times on September 11, 1858. In Kansas and elsewhere, the news of a new gold discovery raced like the wind across the land.

Dreams of gold excited many people beyond reason and drove them to go get it, to leave everything behind and head for the mountains. Gold, people thought, would make them rich with little work. Unfortunately, most of the men and women who rushed to Colorado to find their pot of gold did not get rich. What they found instead was hard work under very difficult conditions. As one person said, “I never worked so hard in my life to get rich without working.”

The first Europeans who traveled to the area that became Colorado were looking for gold or silver. The Spanish from New Mexico searched for minerals in this land to the north during the 1700s. They left behind Spanish names and stories of lost mines but did not find enough gold or silver to tempt them to stay. Golden legends drifted out of the Rockies for a century before the gold rush.

 

8 CITY LIFE

ePub

The mining frontier was an urban frontier. Camps and towns were built at the same time the miners came. This was different from the cattle and farming frontiers, where towns were usually formed years after the first settlers arrived. The miners did not have time to raise crops, manufacture their equipment, or haul in their supplies. But they did have gold and silver to pay others to do those things for them. Therefore, people came and settled in communities that served the mining districts. These townspeople made it possible for large numbers of miners to settle wherever they found gold and silver.

Denver quickly became the most important of Colorado’s new communities. Although not near the mines, it had a good location along two of the most important gateways to the mountains, Clear Creek Canyon and the South Platte River. Denver also had the advantage of being well-known among miners, since it was the center to which many gold rushers first traveled.

Denver grew rapidly and annexed the neighboring towns of Auraria and Highlands. Of Denver’s early rivals, Golden proved the hardest to overcome. Golden was closer to Clear Creek Canyon and the mountain gold. Like Denver, Golden hoped to become the capital of the territory. The two rivals took turns serving as the capital until Denver officially became the state capital in 1881.

 

9 SOUTHERN COLORADANS

ePub

Denver may have dominated Colorado news, but other parts of the state were also making history. As railroads opened up the southern part of the state, its agricultural base expanded with the development of tourism, coal, and oil.

William Jackson Palmer organized and served as president of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad (D&RG). As the name reveals, this line ran from Denver to the Rio Grande in Alamosa. Palmer believed Colorado’s southern region had a bright future. More than a railroad man, Palmer was a town builder. He founded Colorado Springs in 1871 to greet his first train from Denver. Palmer hoped his new town at the base of Pikes Peak would become “the one spot in the West where nice people could gather together and live out their days in gentility and peace.”

Tourists did come to climb Pikes Peak, visit Garden of the Gods, and drink the mineral waters at the nearby resort, Manitou Springs. Elaborate hotels in early Colorado Springs included the Antlers Hotel and the Broadmoor. Pikes Peak inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write “America the Beautiful” after she rode up the mountain as part of a group from Colorado College.

 

10 COWBOYS AND FARMERS

ePub

I’m up in the morning before daylight,
Before I sleep the moon shines bright.

This is how a favorite cowboy song, “The Old Chisholm Trail,” describes the workday of one of the West’s most popular characters. The cowboy has ridden the range in Colorado since the 1850s, although today he is found more often in a pickup truck than on a horse.

The cowboy and his horse, the ranches, the long cattle drives, and the cattle towns have all become part of American history and folklore. Hardly a week goes by without an old movie or television program depicting the cowboy’s West. Colorado was, and still is, cattle country.

Cattle were driven from Texas to the Pikes Peak country in 1859 because there was a good market for beef in the mining districts. Several of the major cattle trails, including the Dawson and Goodnight-Loving, came into Colorado. Cowboys drove the longhorns—long-horned cattle—over these hot, dusty, dangerous trails. The first cattle ranches were started because the miners wanted meat. The eastern plains of Colorado had once been called the Great American Desert, but cattlemen found the grass there very nourishing for their cattle. For that reason they established their ranches on the plains as well as in the mountain valleys. The range was open and free for anyone who had the courage to risk the hard life of ranching.

 

11 WESTERN SLOPERS

ePub

The Western Slope lies on the Pacific side of the Continental Divide in Colorado. Its high mountains, river valleys, mesas (high, flat tablelands), and lonely stretches of semi-deserts are some of the state’s most rugged and beautiful land. This part of Colorado gives birth to the great Colorado River, which carries two-thirds of the state’s water. Water has always been important to growth and development and will continue to be in the future. Water is the lifeblood of the Western Slope.

These lands had been home to Indians for many, many years—first the Basketmakers, then the cliff dwellers, and finally the Utes. At first, the high mountains kept the gold seekers of 1859 from invading this part of Colorado. They could not be kept out for long, however, and they soon found passes through those mountains. By midsummer the Fifty-Niners had arrived on the Western Slope in their search for gold. Few of them stayed long, however. The loneliness, the threat of Indian attacks, transportation problems, and hard winters drove out all but the most determined. Breckenridge and Summit County had the only gold placers that proved rich enough to keep miners there for two or three years. The problem of moving goods through the Rocky Mountains squelched interest in other mining areas, such as the San Juan Mountains and the Gunnison country.

 

12 HARD TIMES

ePub

If you could go back to the year 1900, what would you find? Many Coloradans your age would not be in school but instead would be working on farms and in factories. You would also find many men and boys working in damp, dark mines or in hot, noisy smelters where gold and silver were taken out of ores. Miners and smelter workers often worked ten hours a day for three dollars a day or less. Because of the dangerous working conditions, these laborers were lucky to work an entire year without a serious accident or illness. Added to these problems were high unemployment and frequent strikes. As a result of the low wages, dangerous working conditions, and other problems, miners and other workers attempted to form unions and to go on strike.

Some people blamed the federal government for many of their troubles. The government had stopped buying silver in 1893 and was now using only gold to back up paper money. This meant that every dollar bill could be traded for a certain amount of gold. Because the government was using this gold standard instead of silver as it had been, Colorado’s silver mines lost value. By the end of 1893, half of Colorado’s silver mines had closed, throwing about 50,000 people out of work. Hundreds of businesses failed, including many banks. Colorado and the rest of the United States sank into an economic depression, or period of high unemployment and low economic productivity.

 

13 REFORMERS

ePub

Benjamin Barr Lindsey was a tiny man. He weighed ninety-eight pounds and stood barely five feet, five inches tall, but he stands tall among Colorado’s reformers. Lindsey spent his life working for the poor and the powerless and especially for their children.

Perhaps Lindsey loved underdogs because he grew up as one. In 1880, when he was ten, his family came to Denver from a farm in Tennessee. They moved into a shack on West Colfax Avenue. After Ben’s father committed suicide, the boy began delivering The Denver Post in the morning and working as a janitor at night. He also kept going to school and did not stop until he became a lawyer.

The constant hard work and poverty depressed Ben, as he recalled later in his book, The Beast: “It seemed to me that my life was not worth living—that everyone had lost faith in me—that I should never succeed in the law or anything else—that I had no brains—that I should never do anything but scrub floors and run messages . . . I got a revolver and some cartridges, locked myself in my room, confronted myself desperately in the mirror, put the muzzle of the loaded pistol to my temple, and pulled the trigger.”

 

14 THE AUTOMOBILE AGE

ePub

For many Americans, life seemed to speed up after the arrival of the automobile. During the 1920s, these horseless carriages changed the places and the ways people lived, worked, and played. Autos enabled people to move to new suburban homes and still work, go to school, and play in the city.

Cars cost a lot of money, but during the 1920s many people had money. World War I (1914–1918) had strengthened Colorado’s economy. When the war began in Europe in 1914, Colorado farmers and ranchers found European markets for their crops and livestock. Colorado’s mining industry also enjoyed new booms in coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, tungsten, and zinc.

World War I was also a tragic time. About 43,000 Coloradans joined the armed forces, and around 1,000 of them died. After the war ended on November 11, 1918, an even deadlier menace swept the globe—the 1918 worldwide influenza (flu) epidemic. In ten months alone, flu killed more than 500,000 Americans, including 7,738 in Colorado. Every Colorado community mourned its losses. One issue of The Silverton Standard listed over 125 deaths in that small mountain mining town.

 

15 THE DEPRESSION, RECOVERY, AND GROWTH

ePub

For every boom, there is usually a bust. Colorado’s silver boom ended with the panic of 1893. The good times of the 1920s ended with the Great Depression that began in 1929. Following the 1929 New York Stock Market crash, stock values fell and many companies went out of business. Recovery came very slowly and only after the federal government spent billions of dollars to put people back to work.

Uncle Sam, as Americans called the US government, became more important to Coloradans than state or local governments, which did little to relieve the problems caused by the Great Depression. Local politicians let Uncle Sam rescue the unemployed, hungry, homeless, and desperate.

Even people who had saved their money in banks were hurt by the Great Depression. In Colorado, 66 of the state’s 237 banks failed during the 1930s. For a time, all banks were closed so the federal government could determine which ones had enough money to reopen. After the stronger banks reopened, the federal government promised to insure deposits. This program, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, is still in effect. It means that if a bank fails, the government will pay depositors the amount they had deposited in that bank, up to $250,000.

 

16 ECONOMIC AND ETHNIC DIVERSITY

ePub

At age seventeen, Charles Boettcher left Germany for America. He was not alone. Germans were the single largest foreign-born group to settle in Colorado between 1870 and 1910. Charles hopped off the Union Pacific train at Cheyenne, Wyoming, for a visit with his brother Herman, who ran a hardware store there. Herman put his little brother to work in the store, paying him two dollars a week and letting him sleep under the counter at night.

When Colorado began to grow in the 1870s, the Boettcher brothers decided to open branch stores there. Charles built the two-story brick store that still stands at Pearl and Broadway in Boulder. A few years later, Charles moved to Leadville and started another hardware store. By 1890 he had moved to Denver to start still another business.

Boettcher was smart. He saw his friends put all their money into one mine, one business, or one railroad. When hard times came, as they did in 1893 and 1929, his friends lost everything. Boettcher put his money into many different businesses. That way, if one enterprise failed, he still had the others. Boettcher’s approach became Colorado’s best example of economic diversity. Local areas, states, regions, and even countries need economic diversity. If one industry does not do well, other employers can still offer jobs and economic benefits.

 

17 CONSERVING COLORADO

ePub

As the United States celebrated its 200th birthday in 1976, Colorado was observing its 100th anniversary as a state. Some Coloradans thought 1976 was a good time to look back at the first 100 years and think about their history.

The biggest change was the number of people living in the state. In 1876, there were about 100,000 Coloradans. By 1976, there were over 2 million. In 1876, many Indians still lived in Colorado. In 1976, about 9,000 were left, mostly on two small Ute reservations in the southwestern corner of the state. About 4,000 other Native Americans lived in Denver.

The 1858–1859 gold rush had brought over 40,000 fortune seekers to Colorado. These newcomers—miners and townspeople, farmers and ranchers—went to work like beavers. They built dams and ditches to provide water for their mines and towns, farms and factories. The settlers changed nature’s flow to serve people wherever they wanted to work and live.

Many early Coloradans did not like the mountains. To them the Rockies were only waste rock that hid gold and silver, coal and oil, marble and granite. So the mountains were blasted, dug, and tunneled for mines, wagon roads, railroads, and auto roads.

 

18 BOOM AND BUST

ePub

Colorado’s ups and downs have been as high as the state’s 14,000-foot mountains and as low as its river canyons. Colorado history is a tale of booms and busts. For centuries, Spanish- and English-speaking peoples avoided the state, with its high mountains and semi-desert lowlands. It took a gold rush to lure European Americans to Colorado. The first big boom came with the 1858–1859 gold strike, which started a large-scale hunt for natural resources. After thirty years of gold and silver rushes, the searchers switched to coal, molybdenum, uranium, oil, and natural gas. But all these natural resources were limited. Each mineral boom ended in a bust.

The oil crash in the mid-1980s reminded modern-day Coloradans about this boom-and-bust cycle. The lesson was underlined in 1982 when the price of oil dropped from forty dollars to nine dollars per barrel and the petroleum industry dried up abruptly. Thousands of geologists, oilfield workers, and others lost their jobs. Exxon and other giant international firms dropped their billion-dollar plans to mine oil shale (rock containing oil deposits) in western Colorado. By the mid-1980s, Colorado was losing population. In Denver, one-third of downtown offices were empty. Fortune seekers left for greener fields, such as California.

 

Load more


Details

Print Book
E-Books
Slices

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
9781457111655
Isbn
9781457111655
File size
2 KB
Printing
Not Allowed
Copying
Not Allowed
Read aloud
No
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata