History Colorado has been collecting, preserving, and interpreting our state’s history for 140 years. Our first collections were stored in a rented room at the Glenarm Hotel—the building that served as the state capitol in 1879. Obviously, we’ve outgrown the Glenarm and three other locations since that time. We now manage more than 15 million photographs, documents, and artifacts. Considering the number of moves we’ve made, the number of sites and storage facilities statewide that we maintain, and the evolution of the documentation and tracking process—from cursive ledger book entries to typewritten catalog cards to computer database records—it is not surprising that an occasional artifact (or a box of them) has been separated from its provenance.
Watchman Badge No. 1 is a hand-engraved shield cut and shaped from a sheet of German silver. Sometimes called nickel silver, German silver is an alloy (or combination) of copper, nickel, and zinc. The badge has a blanket–style safety pin soldered to its back. Unfortunately, it has no markings to tell us who made it, not to mention where, or when it was manufactured. But we do know it belonged to one of Denver’s first policemen, Eleazar L. Gardner.