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So Much to See

sunny 100 °F


The problem with visiting these interesting places is choosing where to go by priority. Yesterday, I wrote of the Capitol tour and the City tour. The History Museum is always of interest so we returned downtown. It was so interesting that several hours were spent there not allowing enough time to visit Denver's fabulous Art Museum. Another time.

As I mentioned, the discovery of gold & silver brought people here from every direction in our country and from around the world. Homesteaders found that to survive and prosper on agriculture was very difficult. The problem was/is that the semi-arrid high plains of Colorado only receives 12-15" of moisture annually. That includes rain and snow-melt from the Rockies. The majority of the precipitation falls on the western side of the Continental Divide. Denver and the High Plains are on the eastern side of The Divide. Engineering projects have addressed the situation with reservoirs and pumping stations diverting some of the water eastward, however. Water has grown to be a commodity of equal or greater value than the minerals mined here. Competition for water between farmers and municipalities is a serious issue in Colorado. This topic was covered at the History Museum. The discovery of gold in 1858 created a population boom that grew Denver from a tiny hamlet to 4,800 people in a year. (It' s now 3M) Of course, the influx of wealth to the area just added more growth and social ills . As the mines were depleted a transition to raising beef cattle occured with giant ranches formed. One man, John Wesley Prowers, at one time owned 10,000 cattle and 400,000 acres of land.
The Museum contained 4 floors of exhibits. One dealt with growing up in small town Colorado, the positive lessons learned from neighbors depending on neighbors to survive and thrive. Being from a small town I could relate to the closeness felt among our towns people while growing up in Heuvelton, NY. Of course, since the Native American Indians were such an important part of Colorado's history a large exhibit was devoted to them. Colorado's Indian tribes were treated terribly by the Spanish Conquistadors when they arrived on horseback with guns. The Indians had never seen a horse before as the Spanish introduced the animal to the Americas. The Native Americans found it almost impossible to defend themselves against a mounted foe with rifles. Terrible attrocities occurred as the Spanish drove the Indians from their land. Another very sad story in our history.
It was about 4:30pm when we finished the museum so we decided to walk the 3-4 blocks to the famous Brown Palace Hotel, a National Landmark. Built in 1892, it has an interesting history. It seems that Henry C. Brown, who made a fortune mining silver & at the time Denver's richest man walked into one of the city's two fanciest hotels for a meal. He was dressed in cowboy clothing and was turned away at the dining room for no one recognized him. He was very insulted at the slight and vowed to build a better hotel to compete with the established lodges. That he did. He bought a triangular-shaped 9-acre (a city block) lot between the two hotels and spared no expense in building this masterpiece. It has a central atrium which rises 6 stories to the glass ceiling/roof. Each afternoon High Tea is served, and there are 4 restaurants within. We had a light dinner in an English themed Palace Arms dining room. Very beautiful and very British. The 3 block walk back to the parking garage was welcomed after dinner.

Posted by dixter 18:59 Archived in USA Tagged denver ii part

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