History of Denver
Denver was founded in 1858. Initially, it was a mining town in Kansas Territory. The first settlement was founded during Pikes Peak Gold Rush by a group of Kansas gold prospectors. The town was soon abandoned in favor of other mining locations. The following year, a land speculator General William Larimer started selling land to miners and merchants. Denver was a frontier town and its economy was based on services for miners, as well as saloons, gambling and livestock trading. In 1859, the Leavenworth Pike’s Peak Express reached Denver and Western Union came four years later. The steady railroad transportation guaranteed an influx of new settlers and immigrants.
The Colorado Territory and Arapaho County were created in 1861 and Denver City was incorporated the same year. The city served as a county seat until the consolidation, which took place in 1902.
During the last decades of the 19th century, Denver had serious problems with corruption and organized crime. Poverty was also a major problem during that time, due to a depression caused by the crash of the silver market. Still, in 1890, it was the second largest city west of Omaha. A new boost for the city was provided by a Democratic National Convention held in 1908 and also by the emerging Brass Era car industry, with companies such as the Colburn Automobile Company.
In the second half of the 20th century, Denver has had problems with radioactive contamination from the now closed Rocky Flats Plant that produced plutonium pits for nuclear warheads. It is believed that the location of the old nuclear plant is still contaminated, which complicates the completion of the Denver automotive beltway.
Denver is known as the only city ever to decline hosting the Olympic Games. It was selected to host the 1976 Winter Olympics but the city voted against the allocation of the funds for financing the games, mostly because of certain environmental concerns.
Denver Geography Climate
Denver lies between the Rocky Mountains to the west and the High Plains to the east. It is the center of the Front Range Urban Corridor. The city center consists of plains and the surrounding areas are hilly. Downtown Denver is located near the confluence of Cherry Creek and South Platte River.
The climate in Denver is semi-arid and continental. The city has well-defined seasons, all four of them. The precipitation is modest but evenly spread throughout the year. Because of its location at the foot of the Rockies and on the High Plains, Denver often experiences brief, but intense changes of weather.
Denver has 80 official neighborhoods. Some of them are characterized by large skyscrapers and modern structures, some have well-preserved turn of the century houses and some consist of modern suburban developments. Neighborhoods closer to the city center are generally denser and the buildings are generally made of bricks. Some of the most famous neighborhoods in Denver are LoDo, Capitol Hill, Baker, Cherry Creek, Lowry, South City Park/Greektown, Highland, Washington Park, Golden Triangle and Park Hill, which is a great example of successful intentional racial integration in urban zones.
The racial composition in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, was 68.9% White, 31.8% Hispanic or Latino, 10% Black or African American, 3.4% Asian, 1.4% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, as well as 9.2% some other race and 4.1% two or more races.
Economy of Denver
As for the economy, Denver is a major storage and distribution center, which is logical considering it is the largest city in the 500 miles radius. Some of the largest companies based in Denver area include AIMCO, The Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company, the Gates Corporation, Molson Coors Brewing Company, Village Inn and the Newmont Mining Corporation, which is one of the largest gold producers in the world.
Government is also a large employer in the city, not only the state government but also several federal and military agencies. Denver experienced an energy boom in the 1970s and 1980s. However, there was a dramatic decline in oil prices in 1986, which affected the oil industry in the city. Nevertheless, Denver still hosts energy and mining companies such as EnCana, Smith International, Rio Tinto Group and Anadarko.
Many popular fast-food chains that operate on the national level have originated from Denver, most notably the Chipotle Mexican Grill, Smashburger and Quizno’s.
Culture, Sports and Education
Some of the most important cultural institutions in Denver include Opera House, Denver Art Museum and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
Denver played an important role in the American folk scene of the 1960s and 1970s, with names like Bob Dylan, John Denver and Judy Collins who lived and performed in Denver.
Because of the nice and sunny weather and the proximity of the mountains, Denver is a great place for sports and outdoor activities. The city also has professional franchises in all four major sports: the NFL’s Denver Broncos, the MLB’s Colorado Rockies, the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.
The most important institutions of post-secondary education in Denver include University of Denver, Johnson and Wales University, University of Colorado Denver and Community College of Denver.
Transportation in Denver
Denver is served by the Denver International Airport, which is the largest US airport by land area. There are five interstate highways passing through the city, as well as two US Routes. As for the trains, Amtrak provides passenger service to the city, with stops at the historic Union Station.