History of Denver, CO

Denver is the capital and most populous city of Colorado

It was founded in 1858 by General William Larimer Jr., who claimed it for America while he was exploring what would become Kansas Territory.

Despite its original reputation as a “great cow town,” Denver has grown substantially, becoming the fastest-growing city in America between 1860 and 1870.

Denver is named for James W. Denver, Governor of Kansas Territory and Acting Superintendent of Indian Affairs at the time Colorado was organized.

It is nicknamed the Mile High City because it’s one mile above sea level (5,280 feet). This fact also contributes to its sunny climate; on average, 303 days per year are sunny in downtown Denver!

The city sits at the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River—a location is now known as Confluence Park—and has been labeled “the most photographed place in America.”

Denver is also known as the Queen City of the Plains, due to its status as a key transportation hub in the region.

The first train arrived in Denver on June 24, 1870, and since that time Union Station has served as the city’s primary public transit terminal; it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975.

In 1976, the Denver Mint became the only major U.S. mint to ever produce gold coins (the $5 Buffalo gold piece).

There are more than 80 neighborhood “pockets” within Denver proper—urban enclaves representing distinct cultures and neighborhoods within their boundaries.

Colorado became an independent nation in 1876 once succeeded from the United States; for nearly a century, Colorado would remain an independent nation before joining the Union in 1892.

Denver leaders were so enthusiastic about hosting the Democratic National Convention that they voted unanimously to host it in 1908—the only city to do so. The convention was held from July 20-August 5 and William Jennings Bryan became the first presidential candidate of either party to deliver his speech accepting his nomination at an outdoor venue.

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On March 14, 1911, President William Howard Taft once became stuck in a White House bathtub; he and several advisors were rescued by none other than Alexander Phimister Proctor, Denver’s most prominent sculptor (and also known for creating “Dancing Bears” around Congress Park).

If you visit Denver, you might come across a large blue bear with estimated 250-pound testicles. This is “I See What You Mean,” a sculpture by artist Lawrence Argent; it’s said to represent the city’s playful nature and serves as a popular photo-op for weary travelers.

The Beatles’ final concert took place at the West Auditorium in Denver on August 29, 1966.

Speaking of music, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra was formed in 1915 and remains one of America’s premier symphony orchestras today.

Poncho weather isn’t just about what you wear—it refers to precipitation frequency within this sun-drenched region (expect precipitation 52 days per year).

Mile High Stadium was home to the Denver Broncos from their inception in 1960 through 2000; it was demolished and replaced by a new stadium, now known as Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

It’s also where major music festivals such as Warped Tour, Ozzfest, and Riot Fest take place each year—as well as several sold-out Pearl Jam shows in 2013!

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