Photographs from the Charles S. Lillybridge Collection
Did you know the state of Colorado celebrates Bike to Work Day this June 24th? Organized by the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), the day is designed to celebrate and encourage people to try out bikes as a way to get to work. Even History Colorado’s bison statue that resides outside our 1200 Broadway entrance in Denver is participating! Be sure to stop by and check out his biking attire and snap a photo with him.
Colorado, like many states across the country, has seen a bicycle resurgence in the past ten years. Bikes (often of the vintage or vintage-inspired variety) are the preferred mode of transportation for many, since they’re an inexpensive, environmentally friendly and healthy way to get around. Cities in Colorado, such as Denver and Boulder, are actively adding more bike lanes to make commuting easier.
This isn’t the first time Colorado has seen a bike craze. History Colorado holds many collections documenting the state’s cycling tradition, including historic photos from the Charles S. Lillybridge collection (Ph.00259). Lillybridge (1849-1935) was a Denver photographer who worked and lived out of a small house beside the Platte River on West Alameda Avenue, next to the Alameda bridge. With his camera, he shot the world around him, documenting the day-to-day activities of people passing by his studio. In the process he captured an interesting intersection in history when horse-drawn carriages, automobiles and bicycles were all learning to share the road. With better technology and enhanced safety features, bicycles really took off as a mode of transportation in the mid-1890s through the turn of the century. Not only do Lillybridge’s photos document people who biked to work in Denver, like newspaper boys and workmen installing overhead street lights, but his photos also depict adults and children biking for leisure or just to get around town.
History Colorado holds about 2,000 glass plate negatives shot by Lillybridge, many of them digitized and available to view here. Also, don’t forget to search History Colorado’s Online Collection at H-co.org/collections to find bicycle-related material in our collections.