Denver - description of the city:

Denver is the biggest city in Colorado, and it is also the state capital. It is also just behind El Paso County as far as being the most populous county in Colorado. Denver lies just east of the Rocky Mountains. Denver is sometimes referred to as the Mile-High City because the city is precisely one mile above sea level. It is one of the highest big cities in the United States. 

The population of Denver is right around 635,000, and it is in the top 30 most populous U.S. cities.

Denver History 

Denver was first set up as a mining town in the late 1850s during a gold rush. A bunch of gold miners had come from Kansas and founded Montana City on the South Platte River. That was the first official settlement in what would later turn into the city of Denver. That site quickly faded away, and it was left behind for Auraria and St. Charles City.

 In 1858, a land speculator from Kansas, plunked down logs to make a claim on the bluff that overlooked the meeting of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River, across the way from the current mining settlement of Auraria, and on the site of the current St. Charles City. The land speculator, William Larimer, called the place Denver City to gain favor with the governor of Kansas, whose last name was Denver. Larimer thought that the name of the town could help make it the county seat of Arapaho County, but the governor had already taken a leave from office. The location could be gotten to by existing trails, and it was across the South Platte River from the site of Indian settlements. The location of these first towns is now the site of a park in the downtown area of Denver. Larimer, along with some friends in business, sold the land in parcels to miners and merchants, with the idea of building a major city that would bring in new emigrants. Denver City was just a frontier town at that point, and the economy was based mostly on servicing miners with livestock, saloons, and gambling. In the first years of the town, land parcels were sometimes gambled away by miners in drunken card games in the city’s saloons. In 1859, residents of the city of Denver donated approximately 50 lots to get the first overland wagon route in the region. It offered daily service for gold, freight, mail, and people. The Express could reach Denver on a trail that would cut down westward travel time to just six days. In 1863, Western Union picked Denver as the site of its regional terminus. 

The Colorado Territory was first set up in February of 1861. Arapahoe County was created in November of 1861, and Denver City was set up in November of 1861 as well. Denver City was the seat of Arapahoe County from 1861 until 1902. Denver City became the capital of the entire territory in 1867. Because of its new prominence and special place in the state of Colorado, it changed its name to Denver. It was believed that a shorter name would give the city an image with more prestige. Colorado was admitted to the Union in 1876. 

By the end of the 1860s, Denver citizens had accomplished a lot. The residents could look back proudly at their success in establishing Denver as a thriving supply center. However, the choice to route the first transcontinental railroad in the nation through Cheyenne instead of Denver was a blow to the town. It was nearly 100 miles away, but the industrious and ambitious citizens of Denver got together to build a railroad that would connect to the transcontinental railroad. Fundraising began shortly after the decision was made, and $300,000 had been amassed in just three days. The citizens were hopeful that they would get their railroad connecting up to the transcontinental railroad. However, fundraising was stalled before enough money was raised, and it forced the visionaries behind the plan to seize control of the railroad. Despite serious challenges, in 1970, citizens celebrated as their railroad linked up to the transcontinental railroad, and that move ushered in a whole new age of success and prosperity for Denver. 

Once Denver was connected up with the rest of the nation by railroad, Denver became a major supply and service center. The little city grew a lot in those years, and it attracted wealthy people from all over the country. It also attracted crime and poverty, like any major city. Denver residents were happy when rich people chose their city to move to. Huge homes for the country’s most famous millionaires were built there. The city leaders wanted to turn Denver into one of the nation’s leading cities, and they tried to win over industry leaders and laborers to come work there. Soon, the city had a big middle class, and it has a booming population of emigrants from all over the world, including China, Italy, and Germany, as well as Spanish and African-American citizens. The city was unprepared for this new rush of immigrants, and the Silver Crash in 1893 set the stage for political and social unrest, as well as ethnic bigotry. 

In the late 1800s, the city underwent a period of corruption and crime. Some serious criminals were working with the elected leaders of the city to control gangs, gambling, and elections. There was also a depression in 1893 because of the silver crash. In 1887, a charity was set up to help the poor of Denver. The charity was the forerunner to the international charity United Way. By 1890, Denver had grown a lot in size and population. It had become the second-biggest city west of Omaha, Nebraska. However, Los Angeles and San Francisco beat it for size and population in 1900. In 1900, Denver had a population that was 97% white. 

The Colorado General Assembly voted in 1901 to split up Arapahoe County into three parts: South Arapahoe County, Adams County, and Denver. However, a Colorado Supreme Court ruling legislation, and a referendum delayed the creation of the County and City of Denver until November of 1902. 

Denver has been the site of the Democratic National Convention two times, once in 1908 and again in 2008, and each time the city promoted itself on the socioeconomic, political, and national stage. 

In the early 1900s, Denver, like several other cities at the time, was home to a major car company. 

From the early 1950s to the late 1980s, a nuclear weapon facility previously situated roughly 15 miles from Denver, created fissile plutonium “pits” for nuclear weapons. There was a big fire at the facility in 1957, and there was some leakage from nuclear waste kept at the site between the late 1950s and late 1960s, and this actually contaminated some parts of Denver, to different degrees, with plutonium-239, which was a dangerous radioactive substance. A study by the county health director in 1981 found that the contamination had caused an increase in cancer and birth effects in Denver and Rocky Flats. There were later studies that confirmed what he had discovered. Plutonium contamination was detected as recently as 2010, and it stands as a risk to completing the Jefferson Parkway, which would finish the automotive beltway in Denver. 

Denver was chosen in 1970 to host the Winter Olympics in 1976, to coincide with the centennial celebration in Denver, but in November of 1972, voters in Colorado struck down the measure that would allocate public funds to pay for the costs of hosting the games, which were then moved to Austria. Denver suffered some notoriety for being the first city to ever decline to host the Olympic games, and it made future bids to host the games more difficult. A local congressman was the one spearheading a move against hosting the Olympics on environmental grounds, and this congressman went on to become governor of Colorado for three terms. Denver has looked into a bid to host the 2022, but there will not be a bid submitted. A new comprehensive zoning code was adopted in 2010. The new zoning was meant to specify how development would happen moving forward in the city. 

Historically, Denver has been known as the Queen City of the West and the Queen City of the Plains, since it has had such an important role in the agricultural industry of the region. There have been several ships in the US Navy with the name the USS Denver to honor the city.

Reasons To Visit Denver

The Denver Art Museum: The Denver Art Museum has been bringing great artwork to Denver for several decades, but 2014 will bring some really amazing artwork. The new exhibition, Modern Masters, will have iconic artwork from Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dali, Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and more.

Rocky Mountain National Park: National Geographic recently rated Rocky Mountain National Park as one of the best trips of 2014. This national park is more than 100 years old, it’s just 70 miles from Denver, and it’s one of the best outdoor experiences in America. It’s nearly 400 square miles of pure scenic gorgeousness. There are hundreds of miles of trails, lakes, waterfalls, and wildlife. This unspoiled national park is what Colorado is all about.

Home to Several Sports Teams: Denver is the home of several sports teams, seven of them. There are the Denver Broncos of the NFL, the Colorado Rockies of the MLB, the Denver Nuggets of the NBA, the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL, and others.

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science: Since 1900, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science has been piquing the interests of visitors. There is now a whole new wing in the museum, and there are five levels of discovery.

The Beer Capital of the West: Several publications and magazines have recognized Denver as one of the top beer cities in the U.S. Denver’s craft beer environment continues to get better and better. Denver brews more beer than any city in America.

Denver has a great distillery scene, too. There wasn’t a single distillery in Colorado 15 years ago, but there are now more than 40 distilleries making rum, gin, vodka, brandy, and whiskey.

Let’s not forget Denver’s thriving bar scene. Plus, Colorado legalized marijuana in 2014. Denver is an ideal city to have a good time in!

Red Rocks Park & Ampitheatre: Red Rocks was recently described by Rolling Stone magazine as quite possibly the most perfect music venue on earth. If you’re a music lover, wouldn’t you want to see it? The Red Rocks Park & Ampitheatre has a stunning 9,000-seat venue, and it’s just a little while away from downtown Denver. There is an awesome concert series from May through September.

Fresh Food & All-Star Chefs: Denver has some of the most delicious food you’ll ever eat. For several years, chefs in the Mile High City have been working with local farms, and they have been utilizing real, fresh produce, cheese, and organic meats to make dishes that are delicious, eco-friendly, and innovative. In Denver, you can go to a restaurant and order a meal made with real, fresh, delicious produce. How many cities in the country offer you that opportunity?

Beautiful Art Everywhere You Go: Great art doesn’t just sit in museums in Denver. All over the city, you’ll find beautiful murals, amazing sculptures, and many other types of public art that will inspire and delight you. Denver has put up more than 150 works of art all over the city. There will be even more great art coming in 2014.

Denver Is A Paradise For Outdoor Lovers:  Denver is the best place on earth for lovers of the outdoors. Whether you want to drink beer outside at a café, go canoeing down a river, bike from one park to the next, or explore the Rocky Mountains, there is no better place than Denver to do it in.

Country United States
International title Denver
Population 600,158 people
Timezone America/Denver
State Colorado
Geographic coordinates Latitude: 39.73915 x Longitude: -104.9847

Photo Galery Denver

Denver - places of Interest
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Spending days in Denver
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Places to visit in Denver
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Walks across Denver
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Sightseeing in Denver
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The main attractions of Denver
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Famous Landmarks of Denver
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A tour about Denver
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History and present of Denver
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Denver video guide

Places to visit in Denver

Famous Places

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