Denver, CO History
Very few towns have a history like Denver, Colorado. This a city that not only survived when many like it faded away, but was able to thrive and become the major city that we know it as today. As a city rich in history, Denver, Colorado is a small town that has turned into a big city in the span of close to hundred and fifty years. Up until 1858 the area was remote mostly inhabited by Native Americans.
The Hunt for Gold
When Americans headed westward in the 1940's and 50's, prospectors set up small towns near gold mines. Denver was originally one of those towns. Still a part of the Kansas Territory, the Denver area was relatively remote up until 1858 when gold was discovered near Little Dry Creek.
After that, this remote area was flooded with close to 100,000 new residents looking to find gold by 1860 in an event known as the Pike's Peak Gold Rush. During this time different towns around the area were being founded and inhabited.
General William Larimer
Many people had laid claims to the area by winter 1858. However, a land speculator by the name of General William Larimer used logs to claim land across the stream from Aurora called St. Charles. Most of the St. Charles residents had returned to Kansas for the winter and only a few people were left behind to protect the claims of those who left. Larimer got people to surrender the St. Charles claim by any means necessary.
Larimer got the land he sought, but he wanted the land to be made the county seat for Arapaho County. So, once the settlement was his he changed the name to 'Denver City' after the governor of the Kanas Territory. This was done as an attempt to curry favor with the governor and accomplish his goals.
However, this attempt was futile since James W. Denver had already resigned and no longer had a say in the matter.
From a Settlement to a City
Larimer and associates worked together to lay out road system and sold land to miners and merchants in hopes of creating a city. However, the gold deposits near town quickly dried up and miners were on the move westward to the mountains to find better gold prospects. However, determined to keep the city from turning into a ghost town, Denver began to produce gold mining equipment that wasn't easy to get anywhere else in the area. This kept the city from becoming another ghost town.
By the end of 1859, Denver and Arapaho County were caught in the turbulent times of the region. They had become a part of the Jefferson Territory that would later become Colorado. This was set into place just before the start of the American Civil war that had a huge impact on the politics of the city.
After being made the official capital of Colorado. Denver, CO continued to grow and thrive and with a population spike due to the railroad line the city was able to expand to what it is today.
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