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.
Many consider the Stonewall riots of 1969 in New York City to be a pivotal moment in LGBTQ history in the U.S. Fewer remember that one of the most significant events that followed happened a few years later in Boulder, Colorado.
History Colorado’s exhibit Zoom In: The Centennial State in 100 Objects highlights the history of Colorado through the stories behind one hundred objects. At the end of the exhibit, we ask visitors to fill out a card identifying what they think the 101st object should be. Through occasional blog posts, we’re sharing visitors’ 101st object suggestions and what we’re doing in response to them.
Major League Baseball has had an annual World Series, a series of games between the American League champion team and the National League champion team, almost every year since 1903. (In 1904 the New York Giants refused to play the Boston Pilgrims, and in 1994 the players were on strike.)
Our exhibit Play Ball! A Celebration of America’s Game features artifacts from some of the most noteworthy World Series, from the controversial 1919 games to the perfect game of 1956 to the first series the Colorado Rockies played in, in 2007. Here are the stories behind them, but you’ll want to see the objects for yourself!
Today, Jefferson County residents know Belmar as a vibrant shopping, dining, governmental, and residential development that opened in the heart of Lakewood in the early 2000s. The main attraction, once known as Villa Italia, opened in 2004 as one of the state’s largest shopping malls. It has since evolved into a much larger commercial and retail complex that keeps expanding.
What shoppers, residents, and visitors may not know is that the name “Belmar” comes from the extraordinary estate built there by May Bonfils, daughter of Fredrick Bonfils. The Bonfils name—both famous and infamous—conjures not only Colorado’s most successful and feared newspaper tycoon but also his two feuding daughters, May and Helen, striving to improve and culturally enrich the lives of Coloradans.
Among the many pieces of correspondence available to researchers at the Hart Library are the letters of Martin Bischoff (Mss. 01509), who wrote home to his family from England during World War II. Here, Martin—somewhat casually—tells his family of a disaster in the English Channel that would earn him the Purple Heart.
So many people have made their mark on Colorado’s rich history, and our state’s Hispano residents have been here longer than many. Hispanic Heritage Month reminds us to celebrate their stories — stories of discovery, patience, persistence and resilience.
No matter where you live or travel in Colorado, the Hispano influence is powerfully felt. Here are some places where you can appreciate and learn from that legacy.
Once upon at time, Columbus Day was not a source of contention but of celebration. Italian-Americans led by Denverite Angelo Noce pushed for the holiday to honor their national heritage. Italians are generally so integrated today it is easy to forget that they were once near the bottom of Colorado’s pecking order.
Federico Peña was elected Denver’s first Hispanic mayor in 1983. He went on to serve as U.S. Secretary of Transportation and then as Secretary of Energy during the Clinton Administration.
Earlier this spring, Peña shared his oral history with our curator of archives, Shaun Boyd, and our director of community engagement, Marissa Volpe. Below is a summary of what he shared—you can also listen to it in its entirety below or here.