Rocky Mountain High?
The earliest inhabitants of the area now know as Colorado were the Ancestral Pueblo people. Sometime between 600 and 1300 A.D. they left, without a forwarding address.
Speaking of Pueblo, it is the only city that can boast that it has four living recipients of Medal of Honor residing there.
Colorado is called the “Centennial State”, most likely because it became a State in 1876. But like all great ladies, she was fashionably late, arriving to Statehood on August 1st.
In Colorado’s centennial year it became the only state in history to turn down the Olympics. The 1976 Winter Olympics were supposed to be held in Denver, but 62% of all state voters said no. Don’t worry, the 1976 Winter Olympics found a warmer welcome from Innsbruck, Austria. Hopefully everyone had passports.
The name “Colorado” means “colored red”. Big surprise, huh?
“Beulah red” marble covers the State capitol in Denver. It took six years to cut, polish and install the marble between 1894 and 1900. They better pray that the capitol building façade doesn’t get any chips as all the “Beulah red” marble in the world was used to create that building.
Colorado has the lion’s share of the country’s highest records (not including legalization of marijuana). It boasts the highest elevation automobile tunnel, the highest level incorporated city, the highest suspension bridge, and the highest mean level altitude for a State.
If pot isn’t your thing, Colorado also has the most microbreweries per capita in the USA.
If you want to stand exactly one mile above sea level, just stand on the 13th step of the Capitol building in Denver.
The highest elevation paved road in the USA is the road to Mt. Evans off I-70. The road, and not coincidentally the mountain, rise to 14,258 feet above sea level. There is a very nice lake below the peak that sports beautiful tundra foliage and is an excellent picnic spot. Don’t marry the guy that took you there. Just a hint.
The world’s largest flat top mountain is Grand Mesa in Colorado.
The longest continuous street in the USA is Colfax Avenue in Denver.
Denver, Colorado claims to be the birthplace of the cheeseburger. The name was trademarked in 1935. It is unknown what royalties Louis Ballast (the holder of the trademark) ever received from MacDonald’s. Or Burger King. Or Wendy’s. Pretty sure he did not get one red cent from either Arby’s or Taco Bell.
In related news, Tanglewood resident Betsey Ellis first experienced Taco Bell while briefly residing in Denver in 1974.
Pike’s Peak is named for the explorer Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike. Surprisingly, he never actually climbed the mountain that bears his name. Some 400,000 people ascend Pike’s Peak every year, at least a couple must be named Pike. Most of them take the train.
Katherine Lee Bates wrote “America the Beautiful” after being inspired by the view from Pike’s Peak.
The world’s first ever rodeo was held on July 4, 1869 in Deer Trail, Colorado. The world’s largest rodeo is held each year in Denver. Sorry again Texas.
The oldest wooden merry-go-round is the Kit Carson County Carousel. (Try saying that five times fast). It still has the original paint job.
Rocky Ford, Colorado was named by Kit Carson because he crossed a rocky ford in a river to get there. It is the sweet melon capital of
the world. Lucille Ball was such a fan of Rocky Ford melons that she had them delivered to her dressing room.
The high school mascot for the Rocky Ford Meloneers is the “Muscular Melon”.
Dove Creek, Colorado is the pinto bean capitol of the world. It is not known how the 735 residents of the town celebrate this distinction.
The tallest sand dunes in the USA are not in a coastal state at all, they are outside of Alamosa. The 700 foot tall dunes were created by the action of winds and waves over one million years ago.
And finally, on September 10, 1945 a farmer named L.A. Olsen cut the head of a chicken to have as the family dinner. Unfortunately the family went hungry as the chicken lived for another four days without it’s head. “Mike the Headless Chicken Day” is still celebrated annually in Fruita, Colorado. “Headless Chicken Day” also seems to be celebrated daily in Washington, D.C.
Next month, we will examine the white bread world of Connecticut.