History of Denver

Denver, Colorado, was established in 1858 by a group of prospectors. These explorers traversed through the Great Plains and discovered gold at the bottom of the Rocky Mountains. Since the California Gold Rush had taken place a few years earlier, people flocked to the area in hopes of finding the precious metal.

People soon were building cabins, teepees and tents on the banks of the South Platte River, and people arrived by horseback, on foot or in a covered wagon. The great mountain of Pikes Peak served as a marker, so people would look to the mountain and know how far they had to travel.

The people who came early claimed land, and they sold it to those who arrived later. General William H. Larimer formed a city and named it after James Denver. Denver was the Kansas Territorial governor, and Larimer has aspirations of gaining political favors. However, Larimer did not know that Denver had resigned his position.

The city was incorporated in 1861. However, in 1863, a devastating fire occurred in the heart of downtown, and the city suffered almost 400,000 dollars in damages. A year later, a flood in the city caused houses to be swept away and left several residents dead.

Fortunately, the railroad arrived in 1870, and the town thrived. The railroad brought tourists and new residents to Denver, and the population soared to more than 100,000, making Denver only behind San Francisco as the largest city in the Western United States.

In the 1900s, stockyards, brickyards, flour mills and leather made contributions to the Denver economy. Coors Brewing, which became the country's third largest beer making, established headquarters in Denver. After World War II, numerous oil and gas companies moved their headquarters to the city.

Denver quickly became the largest telecommunications center in the country, and it was one of the main transportation hubs. Skyscrapers and other big buildings were being erected, and the population increased to over 500,000.

Denver suffered hardships during the 1980s when the price of oil declined. Layoffs occurred, and people were leaving the city. However, by the end of the 1980s, construction was beginning on an airport, and the city was on its way to recovery. The structure was completed in 1994, and the city remains a popular place to travel.