As a state, Colorado is comparatively young. It joined the Union in 1876 just 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence its most popular nickname is the Centennial State. It is also called the Highest State and, like mountainous West Virginia, the Switzerland of America. Some former nicknames were the Buffalo Plains State, the Lead State, and the Silver State.
Colorado River When Spanish explorers saw the brightly colored river that begins high in the Rockies, they named it Colorado, meaning “red”. (For a short time it had been known as Tison, meaning “firebrand” — firebrands or burning pieces of wood that the Native Americans had carried to keep warm.) The name was given to the land around the river when it became a territory. It has always been colorful in scenery and in history.
Colorado is not entirely mountainous. The eastern third of the state is part of the Great Plains, and irrigated crops of hay, wheat, potatoes, corn, and sugar beets are grown there. In mountain valleys and on the high plateaus cattle and sheep are raised.
DENVER Colorado: The Mile High City was founded where the south fork of the Platte River and Cherry Creek converge and where a party of prospectors discovered gold in November 1858. Named after James W. Denver, Govenor of the Kansas Territory it grew in importance as the main supply camp for the Colorado gold camps, which was not serviced by rail until 1870. Historic mansion homes from the likes of the un-sinkable Molly Brown and craftsman style bungalow homes, catalog houses , dutch revival, and everything in between are throughout the downtown area. The City grew and continued to annex ground from counties around it until it was determined that that practice need to be approved by the voters. The City encompasses 154 square miles and averages over 300 days of sunshine each year. Portions of the city will have homes in the $1,000,000 plus range and the trendy portion of Cherry Creek offers townhomes in the $600,000 plus range. High rise condominiums and lofts are predominant in the downtown area, while the neighborhoods further from downtown tend to be more suburban in nature. Luxury homes around the Country Club district are large and stately.
HIGHLANDS RANCH is located in the south end of the metro Denver area and encompasses an area of over 22,000 acres. The community has been created from the beginning as a master planned community with over one third of the acreage being dedicated to open space and parks. Concrete jogging paths and nature walks are the norm through the wonderful park system. There are over 27,000 residential dwelling units and typically some 250 real estate property listings. My wife & I have lived here since 1989 and her new car averages less than 5000 miles per year, “because everything is so close”. Prices of homes range from about $175,000 up to over $1,000,000. There are gated communities, luxury homes, golf course lots and quiet cul de sac lots listed in the Denver multiple listing service (MLS). Properties with mountain views are frequently found throughout this south Denver Colorado community.
LITTLETON was originally “Little’s Town” and was a rail stop on both the Santa Fe and Denver & Rio Grande Railroads. It is our real small town feel in south Denver Colorado and every year features wonderful community events, such as Western Welcome Week, and the Candlelight Walk. Orchard road went east to the “orchards” and there were stock yards and other agricultural roots in this now bedroom community of Denver. Homes can range in price from $150,000 up to a high well over $3,000,000. Unique to this area are the Polo Reserve which is a residential community built around active polo fields and where regular matches are held. Gated communities, luxury homes and retirement homes can also be found through property searches.
CENTENNIAL is the area’s newest city bordering Littleton, Greenwood Village, Cherry Hills Village and Lone Tree, Colorado. The city was incorporated a few years ago and absorbed quite a bit of unincorporated Arapahoe County. While mainly residential in nature there are quite a few commercial properties in the Centennial Airport area. Single family homes tend to range in the low range of $180,000 up to the multi-million dollar homes. Gated communities, golf course homes, and luxury homes are dotted through out the city while residential real estate listings tend to be in the middle ranges predominately in the $250,000 to $500,000.
ENGLEWOOD is one of the earliest bedroom communities of Denver, Colorado Englewood is immediately adjacent to the south city line. Many of the homes were built during the post world war two boom. As a matter of fact there are even some “WAR HOUSES” where they had been started before the war started and when the rationing started, there were not enough materials to build all of the walls. So they just put a roof on the basement! Portions of unincorporated Arapahoe County are still known as Englewood, and while these homes would be newer, the prices tend to be over $200,000.
AURORA, Colorado’s eastern suburb is Colorado’s largest city in terms of arial extent. This is a real bedroom community, yet it is also home to many defense industry contractors with Buckley Air Force base being with in the city limits. Real estate listings will range from north of I-70 in Adams County south through Arapahoe County to the Douglas County line. Homes will be priced in all ranges and schools will be either Cherry Creek Schools or Aurora Public schools.
PARKER is little cow town south and east of Denver on Smoky Hill Road which has grown into a wonderful community. They strive to maintain the western flair and host Parker Days every summer. There are quite a few horse properties and many acreage can be aquired for less than $300,000. New Home Builders are located all over the town which occupies most of north eastern Douglas County. All schools are Douglas County Public Schools and the city is access by the local Regional Transportation District (RTD) with bus service some many will ive in the country and commute to Denver’s downtown business district. Real estate property listings will range in price from just under $200,000 to well over a million. Additionally, large ranches and acreages are still available.
Regions Outside Denver
Pikes Peak is perhaps the state’s best-known mountain. Native American legends of creation and of a great flood were centered about this isolated mountaintop. Zebulon M. Pike tried to scale its mists during a blizzard in 1806, but his climbing party did not have enough rations or cold-weather clothes. The mountain’s pinnacle described as unscalable by Pike was reached 14 years later by Dr. Edwin James, a botanist with the Stephen H. Long expedition through the Rockies. The peak was the landmark that guided the fortune hunters who rushed there in 1859 in search of gold. \Pikes Peak or Bust!\ was crudely lettered on the canvas covers of their Conestoga wagons. Some who came to dig for gold, such as Horace Tabor, instead became silver barons. In more recent times there were uranium prospectors who rode in jeeps, instead of on burros, and panned with a Geiger counter. (See also Frontier; Pike, Zebulon M.; Tabor.)
In the 1950s Grand Junction became a uranium production center. Located in the fertile Grand Valley of western Colorado, the town is surrounded by the Colorado Plateau, the forest- and lake-studded Grand Mesa, and the vast Colorado National Monument the site of stark monoliths of red sandstone, honeycombs of caves, and dinosaur beds. Rocky Mountain National Park and the town of Estes Park at its eastern entrance are also world famous. Scenic wonders the red granite cliffs of the Royal Gorge of the Arkansas River, the ancient cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park, the fantastic rock formations of the Garden of the Gods combine with the state’s dry climate to make Colorado a year-round tourist playground.
- Nickname. Centennial State.
- Motto. Nil Sine Numine (Nothing Without Providence).
- Song. ‘Where the Columbines Grow’, words and music by A.J. Flynn.
- Entered the Union. Aug. 1, 1876, as the 38th state.
- Capital. Denver since 1867
- Population (2000 census). 4,301,261, ranked 24th state in the U.S. by population, 3rd largest growing state in the nation, and approx. 41.5 persons per square mile.
- Extent. Area, 104,091 square miles (269,595 square kilometers), including 496 square miles (1,285 square kilometers) of water surface (8th state in size).
- Elevation. Highest, Mount Elbert, 14,433 feet (4,399 meters), near Twin Lakes; lowest, Arkansas River near Kansas line, 3,350 feet (1,021 meters); average, 6,800 feet (2,073 meters).
- Geographic Center. 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of Pikes Peak.
- Temperature. Extremes lowest, -60 F (-51 C), Maybell, Jan. 1, 1979; highest, 118 F (48 C), Bennett, July 11, 1888. Averages at Denver January, 31.0 F (-0.6 C); July, 72.7 F (22.6 C); annual, 50.7 F (10.4 C). Averages at Grand Junction January, 27.0 F (-2.8 C); July, 78.2 F (25.7 C); annual, 52.5 F (11.4 C).
- Precipitation. At Denver annual average, 13.80 inches (350 millimeters). At Grand Junction annual average, 8.04 inches (204 millimeters).
See our winter day video
- Land Use. Crops, 16%; pasture, 43%; forest, 30%; other, 11%.
- Douglas County. Noted the fastest growing county in the U.S. in the 2000 Census.
- Constitution. Adopted 1876; amendment may be passed by two-thirds vote of both legislative houses or by initiative action of the people; ratified by majority voting on it in an election.
- Representation in U.S. Congress. Senate 2. House of Representatives 7.
- Electoral votes 9.
- Legislature. Senators 35; term, 4 years. Representatives 65; term, 2 years.
- Executive Officers. Governor term, 4 years; may succeed self. Other officials lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general; all elected; terms, 4 years.
- Judiciary. Supreme Court 7 justices; term, 10 years. Court of Appeals 13 judges; term, 8 years. District Court 110 judges; term, 6 years. County Court 132 judges; term, 4 years.
- County. 63 counties; governed by boards of commissioners; members elected for 4-year terms.
- Agricultural. Cattle, wheat, corn, dairy products, hay, pigs, potatoes, sheep, sugar beets, onions.
- Manufactured. Machinery; food and food products; printing and publishing; electric and electronic equipment; instruments, medical and optical goods, rockets.
- Mined. Molybdenum, uranium, granite, basalt, gold, silver, lead.