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Denver: Capital of Colorado

The Mile High City.

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Denver is the state capital of Colorado and is known as “the Mile High City.” It got its nickname because when the city’s height is measured from the 15th step of the state capitol building, it is one mile (5,280 feet) above sea level.

Arapaho and Cheyenne Native Americans lived here for generations before the first Europeans came. In 1858, a small group from Georgia traveled to the area and discovered gold at the base of the Rocky Mountains.

In June of the same year, two rival towns were founded on the Cherry Creek: Auraria and St. Charles. At that time, all a person had to do was take some land and start putting in roads and buildings, and then sell it to someone who might want to build a town. In this case, the claim of St. Charles was “jumped” by William Larimer, Jr., who renamed it to Denver City.

“Pikes Peak or bust” gold rush, named after the mountain where the precious metal was found, brought many more settlers and miners to the area. Because there were so many people, Auraria joined Denver City in 1860. The next year, the Colorado Territory was established, and Denver City became Denver.

In 1867, Denver became the capital city, but citizens were still struggling to bring more business to the area. The transcontinental railway was built and went through Wyoming, skipping the city. Citizens decided to build their own railway, which was finished in 1870. The city’s railway connected with the Union Pacific at Cheyenne; the Kansas Pacific Railroad reached Denver shortly after that. The bold move was a success, and the population rose from 4,759 in 1870 to 106,713 in 1890.

Kelli Ballard

National Correspondent at and Kelli Ballard is an author, editor, and publisher. Her writing interests span many genres including a former crime/government reporter, fiction novelist, and playwright. Originally a Central California girl, Kelli now resides in the Seattle area.

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