How many of you have ever heard of or visited Colorado? It borders Wyoming and Nebraska to the north, Nebraska and Kansas to the east, Oklahoma and New Mexico to the south, and Utah to the west.
Colorado is one of the Rocky Mountain states. (Can you name any others?) It’s home to 15 beautiful and rugged mountain ranges and has more than 50 peaks towering over 14,000 feet! Bighorn sheep, mountain goats, mountain lions, black bears, prairie dogs and bison all live here in the wild. Likewise, the tallest sand dune in the country is in Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Monument. The 700-foot sand peaks were formed by ocean waters and wind more than one million years ago!
Colorado is also nicknamed the Centennial State because it joined the Union in 1876, 100 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed. This was a proclamation or document stating that the original 13 American colonies were free (from Britain) and now independent states.
Speaking of history, you can find one of the world’s largest preserved sets of dinosaur tracks here. The dino prints extend for more than 1,300 steps across one quarter of a mile.
Likewise, some people believe that the cheeseburger was invented in the city of Denver, which is also the state’s capital. Although many restaurants in different states claim to be the first one to top a burger with cheese, Louis Ballast of the Humpty-Dumpty Drive-In in Denver was the one who was awarded the trademark for the cheeseburger in 1935.
What really happened
- Humans have lived in Colorado for thousands of years. One of the earliest civilizations resided in the southwestern area of the state. They were hunter-gatherers who were known for their basket-weaving.
- Around 500 AD, the Anasazi culture developed. Anasazi means “ancient ones” in They lived in adobe structures with many rooms that were sometimes built into the sides of cliffs.
- By the time Europeans arrived in the mid-1500s, there were several Native American tribes already living in the eastern plains of Colorado. They were the Comanche, Apache, Cheyenne and the Arapaho. They lived in temporary homes called teepees and hunted buffalo for food. Other Native Americans, called the Ute, were hunter-gatherers and skilled warriors who lived in the western mountains.
- In 1682, French explorer Robert de La Salle visited eastern Colorado and claimed the land for France. It became part of France’s Louisiana territory.
- In 1803, the US bought eastern Colorado from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
- In the early 1800s, mostly fur traders and trappers began moving into the state. But when gold was discovered in 1858, thousands of people flocked to the region in hopes of striking it rich. As a result of this population boom, the US government created the Colorado Territory in 1861.
- The Colorado War occurred between 1863 and 1865. The US government fought with Native Americans who lived in the territory. The US won the conflict and relocated the Native Americans to what is now Oklahoma.
- In 1876, Colorado was admitted to the Union as the 38th
Stuff you should know
- The word “Colorado” means colored red in Spanish. Spanish explorers came up with this name after seeing the reddish silt (fine sand) in the Rio Colorado river.
- In 1894, it became the second state (after Wyoming) to give women the right to vote.
- Denver, the state’s capital, is called the “Mile-High City” because its elevation is 5,280 feet above sea level, which is actually a mile high.
- The ski industry began in the 1930s. During WWII, the US Army built Camp Hale, which was later called the 10th Mountain Division, to train soldiers in mountain climbing, skiing and cold weather survival.
- No US President or Vice President has ever been born in this state.
- This country has a total of 91 “fourteeners”, which are mountain peaks that are over 14,000 feet high. Fifty-six of them are in Colorado.
Crazy, funny, or just plain weird
- In Denver, you could go to jail for lending your vacuum cleaner to your next-door neighbor.
- The Peabody-Whitehead Mansion is one of the most haunted locations in Colorado. It was even featured in an episode of the TV show “Ghost Hunters”.
- In 2013, the Denver Gorilla Run set a new world record for the largest gathering of people dressed as gorillas.
- The city of Denver records an average of 300 days of sunshine every year. That’s more than San Diego or Miami Beach!
Tell me more
- The root beer float, which was originally called the Black Cow, was created in Colorado in 1893.
- The highest paved route in the country is the road to the top of Mount Evans. It reaches a height of 14,238 feet!
- The first teddy bear was invented here. The maids at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs made it as a gift for a famous guest, President Theodore Roosevelt.
- Which county in the US do you think has the most tornadoes? You might mention a county in Oklahoma or maybe Kansas. Actually, Weld County in Colorado gets more tornadoes than any other county in the country. Between 1950 and 2022, it has experienced 293 tornadoes. Guess who’s in second place? Harris County, Texas with nearly 50 fewer twisters.
- Colorado has its own style of pizza. It’s called “Mountain Pie”. It’s “savagely” thick, cheesy, and soft, just the way Mo likes it. Let’s not forget another popular dish created here: the Denver (or western) omelet, which contains eggs, bell peppers, onions, ham and often cheese. According to local legend, it originated in the railroad days by Chinese cooks making something similar to egg foo young, which is a Chinese omelet made with eggs, meat and vegetables.
Can you tell us something funny or interesting about Colorado? Email it to us along with your first name, age, and state you call home, and we’ll publish it on Mo’s social media pages!