History Colorado staff and other writers chronicle the latest preservation success stories, share new perspectives on the past, and peer behind the scenes into the care and documentation of our collections. Read on to learn about how rare collections of historic artifacts and photographs are stored, cared for, and put on view. Find out what Colorado communities are doing to preserve their past for future generations. And, read in-depth histories of Colorado people and events of the past that still matter to us today.
We're now accepting guest contributions to our blog! We are especially seeking stories of underrepresented people and places across our state. Email hello at historycolorado.org to learn more.
Note: Photographs in blog articles are from the History Colorado collection unless credited otherwise. To inquire about digital copies or permissions, please contact email@example.com. Views expressed in and completeness of articles written by guest contributors do not necessarily represent History Colorado.
The Center for the Future of Museums notes in its 2019 TrendsWatch report that trust in institutions like governments and nonprofit organizations—History Colorado represents both of these sectors—is at an all-time low. While this fact might not immediately elicit optimism, report author Elizabeth Merritt notes this reality actually reflects a promising trend: the democratization of authority. Profound, rapid change at the start of the twenty-first century, Merritt writes, “gave voice to marginalized individuals and groups that were long excluded from traditional authority platforms.”
With its extreme climate and rocky landscapes, Colorado might seem a surprising location for wineries. But when British explorer Isabella Bird traversed Colorado’s St. Vrain Canyon by horseback in 1873, she described “wild grape vines [trailing] their lemon-colored foliage along the ground.” Plenty of sunshine and cool nights in Colorado provide the ideal conditions for grapes with the complex character needed to produce delicious wines.
All across the fort, men drill in Reconstruction-era uniform, all in blues and grays. They pitch tents, clean their guns, and drink water from tin canteens. Heavy artillery, including cannons and mountain howitzers, is unloaded and set up. In the Soldiers’ Theatre, women in hoop skirts are gathered for domestic duties, kept energized by tea and conversation. And outside on the grounds, cavalry parade on horseback.
Hands-On History, a unique program at El Pueblo History Museum in Pueblo, Colorado, began several years ago as an after-school camp and has since evolved into an all-day educational experience. Most important, this program was designed to serve and support working families of Pueblo.
This weekend marks the 145th reprise of The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports. Many of us will watch thoroughbreds earn their costly pedigree at the Kentucky Derby. While we celebrate these purebred horses for their agility and speed, horses in Colorado were largely obtained from wild herds of mustangs that were caught and domesticated. Wild horses and cowboys have long represented Colorado and the rest of the American West on the covers of western pulp books and magazines and in the minds of people all over the world. Historically, horses in the West have had more practical purposes than the status symbols that run at the Kentucky Derby.
Coloradans love our local beer. The first locally brewed keg was tapped in Denver to rave reviews from residents at the end of 1859. Today more than 360 breweries throughout the state—encompassing both the world’s largest beermaking plant and the smallest nano-operations—pour locally made libations for appreciative patrons. In every corner of this rectangular patch of mountains and plains, liquid artisans are crafting an array of exceptional beverages that pair well with the joys of living here. An intrepid (and thirsty!) aficionado could watch the Colorado sunset with a different locally made beer in hand every evening for nearly a decade without repeating.
Our Colorado’s Reel History blog series showcases some of the many newspapers in our collection. Check out some clippings from the Rocky Ford Enterprise below, then read on for a short history of the paper.