History of Denver
19th Century 
Pike's Peak Gold Rush and First Settlements 
The Denver area, part of the Territory of Kansas, was sparsely settled until the late 1850s. Occasional parties of prospectors came looking for gold, then moved on. In July 1858, Green Russell and Sam Bates found a small placer deposit near the mouth of Little Dry Creek (in the present-day suburb of Englewood) that yielded about 20 troy ounces (622 grams) of gold, the first significant gold discovery in the Rocky Mountain region. News spread rapidly and by autumn hundreds of men were working the along the South Platte River. By spring 1859, tens of thousands of gold seekers arrived and the Pike's Peak Gold Rush was under way. In the following two years, about 100,000 gold seekers flocked to the region.
In the summer of 1858 a group from Lawrence, Kansas, arrived and established Montana City on the banks of the South Platte River (modern-day Grant-Frontier Park). This was the first settlement in what would become the Denver Metropolitan Area. The site faded quickly due to poor findings by miners and most of the settlers and some structures moved north to the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek and formed a new settlement named St. Charles. The location was accessible to existing trails and had previously been the site of seasonal encampments of the Cheyenne and Arapaho.
In October of 1858, five weeks after the founding of St. Charles, the town of Auraria was founded by William Greeneberry Russell and party of fellow settlers from Georgia on the south side of Cherry Creek. The town, named for the gold mining settlement of Auraria, Georgia, was formed in response to the high cost of land in St. Charles and gave away lots to anyone willing to build and live there. A post office was opened in Auraria in January 1859 serving the 50 cabins that had already been constructed.
A short time later a third town, called Highland, was founded on the west side of the South Platte River. Surrounded by steep bluffs and separated from the other two settlements by the river, it was slow to develop.
Larimer Party 
In November 1858, General William Larimer, a land speculator from eastern Kansas, placed logs to stake a square-mile claim on the site of the St. Charles claim, across the creek from the existing mining settlement of Auraria. The majority of the settlers in St. Charles had returned to Kansas for the winter and left only a small number of people behind to guard their claim. Larimer and his followers gave the representatives whiskey, promises, and threats and the St. Charles claim was surrendered.
The name of the site was changed to "Denver City" after Kansas Territorial Governor James W. Denver, in an attempt to ensure that the city would become the county seat of then Arapaho County, Kansas. Ironically, when Larimer named the city after Denver to curry favor with him, Denver had already resigned as governor and no longer had say in naming the capitol.
Denver at first was a mining settlement, where gold prospectors panned gold from the sands of nearby Cherry Creek and the South Platte River. Larimer, along with associates in the Denver City Land Company, laid out the roads parallel to the creek and sold parcels in the town to merchants and miners, with the intention of creating a major city that would cater to new immigrants. In the early years, land parcels were often traded for grubstakes or gambled away by miners in Auraria. But the prospectors discovered that the gold deposits in these streams were discouragingly poor and quickly exhausted. When rich gold deposits where discovered in the mountains west of Denver in early 1859 it appeared that Denver City might become a ghost town as prospectors left for more lucrative claims. But once the gold rush began there was a great need for materials that couldn't be produced locally which assured Denver's future as a supply hub for the new mines.
Before the gold rush, trading was sparse in the Denver area. Early expeditions into the area, such as the Pike and Long expeditions, had returned east referring to the plains as the "Great American Desert" which deterred immigration. Despite this, frontier posts and forts existed and traded with the natives and frontiersmen. However the closest major trading routes, the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails, didn't come with in a hundred miles of the Denver area. Until a permanent trading route was established the locals had to make due with what little extra new immigrants brought with them.
Auraria and Denver began to compete for businesses that could cater to the new immigrants and for domination of the area. Auraria began to take an early lead with the first saloon, smithery, and carpentry shop. But in May 1859, Denver City donated 53 lots to the Leavenworth and Pike’s Peak Express in order to secure the region’s first overland wagon route. Offering daily service for “passengers, mail, freight, and gold,” the Express reached Denver on a trail that trimmed westward travel time to as few as six days. With supplies being delivered to the Denver side of Cherry Creek, businesses began to move there as well. By June Auraria had 250 buildings compared to Denver's 150 buildings, and both cities were growing quickly. With this growth came a need for a wider government.
The New Territory of Colorado 
Denver, Auraria and the land east to the Continental Divide were part of Arapahoe County which encompassed the entire western portion of the Kansas Territory. At the creation of Arapahoe County in 1855 it was occupied primarily by Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians with only a few white settlers, and thus the county was never organized. With no county government and the leaders of the Kansas Territory preoccupied with the violent events of Bleeding Kansas, little time or attention was given to those in Arapahoe County even by the United States Congress who were preoccupied with threats of secession by the slave states. In addition the mine fields were beginning to move beyond the borders of the Kansas Territory and because of their importance and ties to mining activity closer to Denver, calls began for a new territory or state.
On October 24, 1859, an election was held to form a provisional government for the goldfields and the formation of the Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was approved. The elected Governor of the Territory of Jefferson, Robert Williamson Steele, opened the first session of the Jefferson Territorial Legislature in Denver City on November 7, 1859. The Congress, embroiled in the debate over slavery, failed to consider the new territory. The election of Abraham Lincoln for the President of the United States eliminated any chance for federal endorsement of the Territory of Jefferson and any role in government for Governor Steele, a staunch pro-Union Democrat and vocal opponent of Lincoln and the Republican Party.
Seeking to augment the political power of the free states, the Republican led congress hurriedly admitted the portion of the Territory of Kansas east of the 25th meridian west from Washington to the Union as the free State of Kansas on January 29, 1861. Kansas statehood left the western portion of the now defunct Kansas Territory, which the Jefferson Territory also claimed, officially unorganized.
On February 28, 1861, outgoing U.S. President James Buchanan signed an Act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado. President Abraham Lincoln appointed William Gilpin of Missouri the first Governor of the Territory of Colorado and he arrived in Denver City on May 29, 1861. On June 6, 1861, Governor Steele issued a proclamation declaring the Territory of Jefferson disbanded and urging all employees and residents to abide by the laws governing the United States.
The Colorado General Assembly first met on September 9, 1861 and created 17 counties for the territory on November 1, 1861, including a new Arapahoe County with Denver City as its seat. The legislature approved the reincorporation of the cities of Denver, Auraria, and Highland as Denver City on November 7, 1861 in order to better administer the quickly growing cities.
Denver City served as the Arapahoe County Seat from 1861 until it became its own county in 1902. In 1865, Denver City became the Territorial Capital. With its new-found importance, Denver City shortened its name to just Denver. On August 1, 1876, Denver became the temporary state capital when Colorado was admitted to the Union, and a statewide vote in 1881 made Denver the permanent state capital.
The Turbulent 1860s 
Prior to 1861, Denver was technically part of Arapahoe County, Kansas but because the county was never organized there was a lack of government services that resulted in vendettas and vigilantism, but also entrepreneurialism. William Hepworth Dixon, an English traveler, once noted of Denver, "a man's life is of no more worth than a dog's" but that in its people he saw "perseverance, generosity, [and] enterprise." After Colorado became a territory courts were set up, judges were appointed, and laws were created but mob justice was still common.
The same year that Colorado became a territory, the American Civil War broke out and Colorado was not spared. Most Denverites were from the North and their support for the Union drove many Southerners from town, including Denver's first mayor John C. Moore. William Gilpin, Colorado's first territorial governor, organized Colorado's volunteer militia, and sent them south in February 1862 to fight Confederate Texans at the Battle of Glorieta Pass. With resources tied up in the war there was little left over for mines, farms, and infrastructure and Denver stagnated.
Though Denver surpassed most other cities in Colorado at the time and was transforming itself, it was still considered a frontier town. Churches, lacking permanent facilities, often held their services in public halls or saloons and children attended pay schools led by teachers of questionable ability. Gold mining declined as miners exhausted the shallow parts of the veins that contained free gold, and found that their amalgamation mills could not recover gold from the deeper sulfide ores. Many people left Colorado, and often those that stayed lacked continuous work during the economic slump, spending their time drinking and getting into fights.
Denver's early wooden buildings were extremely flammable and on July 15, 1862 citizens organized a volunteer Fire Department. Unfortunately, almost a year later, carts and buckets were still on order, and firemen were untrained and untried. On April 19, 1863, a fire broke out in the center of downtown Denver. High winds fed the sparks and, in a few hours, a great majority of the wooden buildings in the heart of Denver had been destroyed. Losses totaled over $250,000, and although the buildings themselves were of minimal value, the loss of inventory devastated many new businesses. As a result of the fire, new laws were passed to prohibit using wood and other flammable materials to construct downtown buildings. Denver's new buildings were built with brick, often larger than the original. As the rebuilding progressed, Denver began to look like a town rather than a temporary campground.
On May 19, 1864, just over a year after the fire, the spring melt combined with heavy rains caused severe flooding on Cherry Creek. The flooding severely affected the low-lying Auraria, destroying the Rocky Mountain News building, the Methodist Church, City Hall, and numerous offices, warehouses, and outbuildings. Eight Denver residents had been killed, and enormous number of livestock had been drowned. Financial losses totaled approximately $350,000 and left many homeless. The water was badly contaminated and threatened a major epidemic. Despite these overwhelming losses, rebuilding began almost immediately. Ignoring the risk, many rebuilt well within the flood plain, and flood waters continued to engulf Denver in 1875, 1878, 1912, and 1933. It was not until the 1950s, when the Army Corps of Engineers completed Cherry Creek Dam, that the flooding was stopped.
The summer of 1865 saw attacks on supply trains and market manipulations drive up prices. In 1865, grasshoppers swarmed through the area stripping away all the vegetation. Real estate values fell so low that entire blocks changed hands during poker games. The town's population shrank from 4,749 in 1860, to only about 3,500 in 1866. Many of the original gold miners and town founders were among those who left.
By the mid-1860s the Civil War was over and Denver had survived many tragedies. The city began to grow again and ended the decade with a population of 4,759. With the freeing up of capital that the end of war brought, new investment was once again possible. Denverites began to look toward the next step for growing their city, ensuring the route of the transcontinental railroad traveled through Denver.
The Transcontinental Railroad 
With investment once again flowing into the Denver area transportation became a greater concern. Transporting goods to and from Denver was a large expense, an expense that railroads could alleviate. In 1862 the United States Congress passed the Pacific Railway Act and Coloradans were excited at the prospect of the railroad crossing the Rockies Mountains through Colorado despite the dismal surveys by John C. Frémont and John Williams Gunnison. When the Union Pacific Railroad choose to go north through Cheyenne, Wyoming many at the time expected that Cheyenne would blossom into the major population center of the region. Thomas Durant, vice president of the Union Pacific, pronounced Denver "too dead to bury." Colorado Territorial Governor John Evans declared that "Colorado without railroads is comparatively worthless."
As a result, Evans, together with other local business leaders, partnered with East Coast investors to form a railroad company that would link Denver and the Colorado Territory with the national rail network. The company was incorporated on November 19, 1867 as the "Denver Pacific Railway and Telegraph Company." The sense of urgency for the Denver boosters was enhanced by the formation of a rival, the Colorado, Clear Creek and Pacific Railway (later the Colorado Central Railroad), by W.A.H. Loveland and citizens of nearby Golden, with the intention of linking that city directly with Cheyenne and making Golden the natural hub of the territory.
Within several days, the company sold $300,000 in stock, but were unable to raise further funds to begin construction. The efforts seemed to be on the brink of failure when Evans was able to persuade Congress to grant the company 900,000 acres (3,600 km²) of land on the condition that the company build a line connecting the Union Pacific line in Wyoming with the existing Kansas Pacific line, which then extended only as far west as central Kansas.
Racing to beat the Golden investors, the company broke ground on its Cheyenne line on May 18, 1868 and took approximately two years to complete. The first train from Cheyenne arrived in Denver on June 24, 1870. Two months later, in August 1870, the Kansas Pacific completed its line to Denver and the first train arrived from Kansas. With the completion of the Kansas Pacific line to Denver, the Denver Pacific became integral to the first transcontinental rail link between the east and west coasts of America. While the Union Pacific line had been declared finished in 1869 with the Golden spike event in Utah, linking it with the Central Pacific Railroad, passengers were required to disembark the train and cross the Missouri River at Omaha by boat. With the completion of the Denver Pacific line, it was finally possible to embark a train on the east coast and disembark on the west coast.
The Denver Pacific's rival, the Colorado Central line from Golden, was not completed until 1877. By this time, Denver had established its supremacy over its rival as the population center and capital city of the newly-admitted State of Colorado. The railroad brought residents, tourists, and much-needed supplies. In the 1870s, it is estimated that the railroad brought 100 new residents to Denver each day. Population statistics bear this out, for Denver's population soared from 4,759 in 1870 to over 35,000 by 1880. In addition to bringing new residents, it put Denver on the map as a tourist destination and brought 1,067 visitors in its first month of operation. That first month also brought 13 million pounds of freight. Denver now had the people and supplies it needed to flourish and solidify its dominance in the region. 
Denver during the Silver Boom 
Silver was discovered near Montezuma, Georgetown, Central City and Idaho Springs in the mid-1860s, but mining was delayed for the most part until smelters were built in the late 1860s. Despite the early silver discoveries, Colorado’s largest silver district, Leadville, was not discovered until 1874. With silver mining in Colorado booming much wealth came to the residents of Denver.
The city's economy was gaining a more stable base rooted in railroads, wholesale trade, manufacturing, food processing, and servicing the growing agricultural and ranching hinterland. Between 1870 and 1890, manufacturing output soared from $600,000 to $40 million, and population grew by a factor of 20 times to 107,000. By 1890, Denver had grown to be the 26th largest city in America, and the fifth-largest city west of the Mississippi River. The rapid growth of these years attracted millionaires and their mansions, as well as poverty and crime.
From Denver's start as a gold mining town through its transformation into a supplier of goods and services, it had always been a place where miners, workers, and travelers could spend their hard earned money. Saloons and gambling dens sprung up quickly after the founding. In 1859, the Apollo Hall theater opened followed over the years by such notables as the Denver Theatre, home to the city's first opera performance in 1864, and the Broadway Theatre which brought in internationally renowned performers, but none was quite as luxurious as the Tabor Grand Opera House built in 1881.
Built by Horace Tabor with the money he had made mining silver, the Tabor Grand Opera House in Denver was said to be the most opulent building and the best-equipped theater between Chicago and San Francisco at its opening. It occupied the entire block and was claimed to have single-handedly changed Denver's image of itself from a frontier boomtown to a world class city. The following years saw many other grand buildings erected, including Union Station in 1881, the 10-story Brown Palace Hotel in 1892, and the Colorado State Capitol Building in 1894 as well as splendid homes for millionaires like the Croke, Patterson, Campbell Mansion at 11th and Pennsylvania and the now-demolished Moffat Mansion at 8th and Grant. The city was beginning to take on a "big city" image.
The 1880s and 1890s saw corruption as well as progress. Underworld bosses such as Soapy Smith and Lou Blonger worked side-by-side with city officials and police to profit from gambling and other criminal enterprises. There were a range of bawdy houses, from the sumptuous quarters of renowned madams such as Mattie Silks and Jenny Rogers to the squalid "cribs" located a few blocks farther north along Market Street. Edward Chase ran card games and regularly entertained many of Denver's most influential leaders. Gambling flourished and bunco artists exploited every chance to separate miners from their hard-earned gold. Business was good; visitors spent lavishly, then left town. As long as madams conducted their business discreetly, and "crib girls" did not advertise their availability too crudely, authorities took their bribes and looked the other way. Occasional cleanups and crack downs satisfied the demands for reform.
Prior to Colorado becoming a territory in 1861, there were no functioning court system and justice was carried out by the public. Once a territory, a justice system was set up for the county but it wasn't until 1874 that Denver created a position for chief of police. These early lawmen had to deal with the Vigilance Committee, often called the Law and Order League, which took matters of law into its own hands. Elizabeth Wallace writes of these vigilantes, "A judge presided and the offender was tried by a group of his peers. Once given, the decision was final. Between 1859 and 1860 fourteen men were accused of murder and were brought before a jury of twelve men and at least one judge presiding. Six of the fourteen men were sentenced to death."
Crime and corruption brought out others who wanted to combat it. Women's suffrage came early, in 1893, led by married middle class women who organized first for prohibition and then for suffrage, with the goal of upholding republican citizenship for women and purifying society. The Social Gospel was the religious wing of the progressive movement which had the aim of combating injustice, suffering and poverty in society. Protestants, Reform Jews and Catholics helped build Denver's social welfare system in the early 20th century by providing for the sick and hungry. Thomas Uzzel, leader the Methodist People's Tabernacle, established a free dispensary, an employment bureau, a summer camp, night schools, and English language classes. The Baptist minister Jim Goodhart, city chaplain and director of public welfare in 1918, set up an employment bureau and provided food and lodging for the homeless at the mission he ran. The United Way of America has roots in Denver, where in 1887 church leaders began the Charity Organization Society, which coordinated services and fund raising for 22 agencies. Myron Reed, a leading Christian socialist, pastor of the affluent First Congregational Church and a leader in the city's Charity Organization Society, questioned that organization's efforts to distinguish the "worthy" from the "unworthy" poor, spoke out for the rights of labor unions as well as for African American and Native American rights while denouncing Chinese and eastern European immigrants as dependent tools of corporations who were lowering "American" standards of living.
Around the same time Colorado gained the nickname "The World's Sanatorium" for its dry climate which was considered favorable for curing respiratory diseases, tuberculosis in particular. Many people came from the East Coast looking for a cure, bringing with them training and skills which expand the industrial base of Denver. A number of Jews eventually established two well-renowned hospitals to take care of their health needs and serve their community: National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives (now National Jewish Health) and the Jewish Consumptives' Relief Society.
Intent on transforming Denver into one of the world's great cities, leaders had wooed industry and enticed laborers to work in new factories. Soon, in addition to the elite and a large middle class, Denver had a growing population of German, Italian, and Chinese laborers, soon followed by African-Americans and Spanish-surname workers. Unprepared for this influx, the Denver Depression of 1893 unsettled political, social, and economic balances, laying the foundation for ethnic bigotry, such as the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and the Red Scare, as well as corruption and crime.
The Panic of 1893 and Home Rule 
In 1893, financial panic swept the nation, and the silver boom collapsed. Denver was already suffering economically due to several successive years of droughts and harsh winters that had hurt the agricultural industry. Agricultural distress, coupled with the withdrawal of foreign investors and the over-expansion of the silver mining industries, led stock prices to decline, banks to close, businesses to fail, and numerous farms to cease operation. With no federal insurance to support the money in the banks, many people lost their life savings. As Denver banks closed, real estate values dropped, smelters stopped working, and Denver Tramway had trouble getting people to ride and pay their fares. The Union Pacific Railroad, which had absorbed both the Denver Pacific and Kansas Pacific in the 1880s, declared bankruptcy.
National unemployment was estimated to be between 12% - 18% in 1894. Wages fell and a wave of severe strikes took place, notable in Colorado was the Cripple Creek miners' strike which lasted five months. As the silver mines began to close due to the continued drop in silver prices, unemployed miners and other workers from the Colorado mountains flooded into Denver in hopes of finding work. Because of the city's inability to take care of the jobless, some train companies began offering reduced or free fares for people wanting to travel from Denver. This effort contributed to the exodus from the city, and Denver's population dropped from 106,000 in 1890 to 90,000 in 1895.
A new municipal charter was given to Denver in 1893 by the state legislature that decentralized much of the mayor's powers into six different administrative departments, two of which were elected, two appointed by the mayor, and the remaining two appointed by the governor. King writes "The plan gave the maximum of opportunity for [political] party groups and corporate control." The municipal board members appointed by the governor had complete financial control over the police, fire, and excise departments. Over half the expenditures of the city went through this board which gave the governor and his party much direct control over Denver.
Governor Davis Hanson Waite, elected in 1893 on a Populist Party reform platform, tried to overturn the corruption in Denver in 1894 by removing police and fire commissioners that he believed were shielding the gamblers and prostitutes that he believed were resulting from and also worsening the depression. The officials refused to leave their positions and were quickly joined by others who felt their jobs were threatened. They barricaded themselves in City Hall, and the state militia were sent to remove them. Federal troops were called in from nearby Fort Logan to intervene and quell the civil strife. Eventually Governor Waite agreed to withdraw the militia and allow the Colorado Supreme Court to decide the case. The court ruled that the governor had authority to replace the commissioners, but he was reprimanded for bringing in the militia, in what became known as the "City Hall War".
That the governor, elected by the entire state, had so much power over the workings of Denver was not lost on the citizens of the city. As the economy faltered, the inefficiency and divisions of the new six department system became more evident. The electorate became disillusioned with the major political parties and in 1895 the first non-partisan mayor in Denver's history was elected, T. S. McMurray. Reelected in 1897, he was ultimately defeated in 1899 in by the "big mitt", a ballot-stuffing campaign. Dissatisfaction with the major political parties that controlled the state legislature led to a "home rule" movement. In 1902 an amendment to the state constitution was passed that allowed cities to adopt home rule and Denver became a consolidated city–county.
The U.S. economy began to recover in 1897 and while jobs slowly began to trickle back into Denver, real estate prices remained depressed through 1900. Throughout the depression, the one constant industry was agriculture. A developed irrigation infrastructure and increasing crop diversification led to a stable food industry throughout the state. Without the jobs brought by the production and processing of food, the depression in Denver would have been much worse. Denver gained back the population it had lost during the depression, mainly through the annexation of neighboring towns, and ended the century with a population of more than 133,000.
Twentieth Century 
The Progressive Era 
The Progressive Era brought an Efficiency Movement typified in 1902 when the city and Denver County were made coextensive. In 1904 Robert W. Speer was elected mayor and initiated several projects that added new landmarks, updated existing facilities, or improved the city's landscape including the City Auditorium, the Civic Center and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. City leaders went to Washington D.C. and after assuring the politicians there that Denver was no longer a frontier town, secured the first major party convention in a western state, the 1908 Democratic National Convention.
Denver pioneered the juvenile court movement under Judge Ben Lindsey, who gained national fame for his efforts. Through his efforts, an act was passed creating a juvenile court in Denver which represented an important advance in relation of the law to children. In 1914, Emily Griffith, a Denver school teacher, opened the Opportunity School which featured language and vocational instruction as both day classes and night classes so that non traditional learners would have the opportunity for self-improvement. Also during this period Denver's park system was expanded and land in the mountains was acquired for a future mountain park system. Cattle pens began to spring up around the existing railroad depots as farmers began shipping their livestock to the existing meat packing industry in Kansas City and Chicago. Local ranchers wanted to concentrate on raising cattle rather than the logistics of shipping them east and in 1906 the first National Western Stock Show was held which quickly became the preeminent livestock show in the region. These events helped raise the national profile of Denver and live up to its nickname, the "Queen City of the Plains."
Labor unions were active in Denver, especially the construction and printing crafts affiliated with the American Federation of Labor (AFL), and the railroad brotherhoods. After being welcomed at the 1908 Democratic National Convention, the AFL unions, who formed the Denver Trades and Labor Assembly, generally supported Democratic candidates. In early 1913, members of the Industrial Workers of the World, known as the Wobblies, conducted a free speech fight in Denver. City authorities had refused to allow IWW organizers to speak to people on street corners. Union members challenged the policy, with the aim of filling the jails to put pressure on city leaders. The Wobbly tactic, which they had employed successfully for half a decade throughout the North and West, clogged the courts so they couldn't handle anything but free speech cases. Taxpayers complained that they were being forced to feed "whole armies of jailed Wobblies." In her autobiography, Emma Goldman wrote of twenty-seven IWW members, arrested during the Denver free speech fight, who were "tortured in the sweat-box for refusing to work on the rock-pile. On their release they marched through the streets with banners and songs..." The union eventually won the right to speak to workers, and within a year had formed two Denver "branches."
On the brink of World War I, Denver mirrored the rest of the nation in wanting to stay neutral. But once America entered the war in 1917, Denver contributed what it could to the war effort. Clothing and supplies were donated, children enrolled in agricultural and garden clubs to free up young men for the war, and mining and agricultural interests were expanded to support the troops and the nation. As prices for goods rose with the demand from the war effort farmers began planting crops in greater numbers and mining companies opened new mines for molybdenum, vanadium, and tungsten.
With the United States fighting the Germans in Europe, anti-German sentiment in Denver was at an all time high. Before the war Germans had been a very prosperous immigrant group, who often congregated in their own ethnic clubs. They had enough political clout to have a law passed in 1877 that required German and gymnastics be taught in public schools, and until 1889 all of Colorado's laws were printed in English, Spanish, and German. The German's built churches and owned interests in mining and agriculture, but many in the temperance movement primarily associated them with the production and consumption of alcohol. Believing all evil began with the drink, prohibitionists cracked down on "un-American" activity and in 1916 alcohol was banned in the state. Many saloon owners and brewers lost their jobs and with the outbreak of World War I, many others were fired and ostracized. German stopped being taught in schools and many Germans abandoned their heritage to avoid conflicts.
Many individuals within the prohibition movement associated the crime and morally corrupt behavior of the cities of America with their large immigrant populations. In a backlash to the new emerging realities of the American demographic, many prohibitionists subscribed to the doctrine of “nativism” in which they endorsed the notion that America was made great as a result of its white Anglo-Saxon ancestry. This fostered xenophobic sentiments towards urban immigrant communities who typically argued in favor of abolishing prohibition. These sentiments led many in Denver to join the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) both because it opposed foreign immigration and because it defended prohibition. Roman Catholic immigrants, particularly of Irish or Italian descent, were often the target of KKK discrimination. These communities gradually became Americanized, and the KKK quickly lost influence especially during KKK member Clarence Morley's term as governor from 1925-1927. As prohibition lingered on many citizens saw the negative effects: toxic bootleg liquor, corruption, bribery, and binge drinking. Colorado voters suspended the state’s Prohibition laws on July 1, 1933, and while racism and discrimination against a new wave of Mexican and African-American immigrants persisted, the KKK was never again a significant force in Colorado politics.
World War II and after 
Until World War II, Denver's economy was dependent mainly on the processing and shipping of minerals and ranch products, especially beef and lamb. During the war and in the years following, specialized industries were introduced into the city, making it a major manufacturing center. Population expanded rapidly, and many old buildings were torn down to make way for new housing projects. Many of Denver's finest buildings of the frontier era were demolished, such as the Tabor Opera House, as the city has expanded upward and outward and acquired new lands for buildings and parking lots.
Up until World War II, Denver's economy was dependent mainly on the processing and shipping of minerals and ranch products, especially beef and lamb. During the war and in the years following, specialized industries were introduced into the city, making it a major manufacturing center. Population expanded rapidly, and many old buildings were torn down to make way for new housing projects. Many of Denver's finest buildings of the frontier era were demolished, such as the Tabor Opera House, as the city has expanded upward and outward and acquired new lands for buildings and parking lots. By 1950 middle-class families were moving away from downtown to larger houses and better schools; the subsurbs started the rapid growth. Denver was a gathering point for poets of the "beat generation." Beat icon Neal Cassady was raised on Larimer Street in Denver, and a portion of Jack Kerouac's beat masterpiece On the Road takes place in the city, and is based on the beat's actual experiences in Denver during a road trip. Beat poet Allen Ginsberg lived for a time in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, and he helped found the Buddhist college, Naropa University or the "Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa" in nearby Boulder.
Denver was selected to host the 1976 Winter Olympics to coincide with Colorado's centennial anniversary, but Colorado voters struck down ballot initiatives allocating public funds to pay for the high costs of the games, so they were moved to Innsbruck, Austria. The movement against hosting the games was based largely on environmental issues and was led by then State Representative Richard Lamm. Lamm was subsequently elected as Colorado governor in 1974.
Recent politics 
Federico Peña (1983–1991) became the city's first Latino mayor in 1983. One of his central campaign messages was a promise of inclusiveness targeted at minorities. Latino turnout reached 73% in 1983, a contrast to the usually low Latino rates elsewhere.
In 1991, at a time the city was 12% Black and 20% Latino, Wellington Webb won a come-from-behind victory as the city's first black mayor (1991–2003). The Hispanic and Black minority communities supported each other's candidates at 75-85% levels. Webb, who won 44% of the white vote, reached out to the business community, promoting downtown economic development and major projects such as the new airport, Coors Field, and a new convention center. During his administration, Denver built the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library in the historic Five Points Neighborhood, and helped pass several neighborhood bonds for infrastructure improvements citywide.
21st Century 
Businessman John Hickenlooper was elected mayor in 2003 and reelected in 2007 with 87% of the vote. After he was elected governor of Colorado in 2011, Michael Hancock was elected Denver's second African American mayor.
- Arrington, Leonard J., and John R. Alley, Jr. Harold F. Silver: Western Inventor, Businessman, and Civic Leader. 1992. 250 pp. In the 1930s-1960s Silver grew rich by inventing a portable sugar beet piler and a sugar diffuser that sharply lowered costs in the sugar industry; he was even more successful in inventing continuous process coal mining machinery.
- Baker, Gayle. Denver, A BoomTown History. HarborTown Histories, 2004. ISBN (print) 0-9710984-4-1 (e-book) 978-0-9879038-6-0, A 96-page concise, comprehensive history of Denver
- Barth, Gunther Paul. Instant Cities: Urbanization and the Rise of San Francisco and Denver (1975) excerpt and text search
- Brosnan, Kathleen A. Uniting Mountain and Plain: Cities, Law, and Environmental Change along the Front Range (2002) says Denver modernized by laying waste to the environment in late 19th century
- Brundage, David. The Making of Western Labor Radicalism: Denver's Organized Workers, 1878-1905 (1994) excerpt and text search
- Campbell, D'Ann. "Judge Ben Lindsey and the Juvenile Court Movement, 1901-1904." Arizona and the West 1976 18(1): 5-20. Issn: 0004-1408
- Carver, Sharon Snow. "Club Women of the Three Intermountain Cities of Denver, Boise and Salt Lake City between 1893 and 1929." PhD dissertation Brigham Young U. 2000. 356 pp. DAI 2000 61(5): 2000-A. DA9972727 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
- Dickson, Lynda Fayes. "The Early Club Movement among Black Women in Denver: 1890-1925." PhD dissertation U. of Colorado, Boulder 1982. 288 pp. DAI 1982 43(6): 2115-2116-A. DA8221063 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
- Dorsett, Lyle. The Queen City: A History of Denver (1983), well-illustrated with focus on business elites and politicians
- Edwards, Susan Jane. "Nature as Healer: Denver, Colorado's Social and Built Landscapes of Health, 1880-1930." PhD dissertation U. of Colorado, Boulder 1994. 325 pp. DAI 1995 55(10): 3283-A. DA9506327 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
- Foster, Mark S. Henry M. Porter: Rocky Mountain Empire Builder. U. Press of Colorado, 1991. 184 pp. Porter (1838–1936) was a railroad magnate and hospital builder
- Goodstein, Phil H. Denver from the Bottom Up: A People's History of Early Colorado. Vol. 1: From Sand Creek to Ludlow. 2003. 488 pp. a left-wing approach to old-fashioned political history
- Goodstein, Phil H. Denver in our time: A people's history of the modern Mile High City (1999)
- Gutfreund, Owen D. Twentieth-Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape. 2004. 297 pp.; Denver is one of three case studies
- Hendricks, Rickey and Mark S. Foster. For a Child's Sake: History of the Children's Hospital, Denver, Colorado, 1910-1990. U. Press of Colorado, 1994. 209 pp.
- Hero, Rodney. "The Election of Hispanics in City Government: An Analysis of the Election of Federico Peña as Mayor of Denver," Western Political Quarterly 40 (March 1987): 93–105;
- Hero, Rodney. and Kathleen Beatty. "The Election of Frederico Peña as Mayor of Denver: Analysis and Implications," Social Science Quarterly 70 (June 1989): 300–310.
- Jones, William C. and Kenton Forrest. Denver: A Pictorial History from Frontier Camp to Queen City of the Plains. 1973. 334 pp.
- Kaufmann, Karen Malmuth. "Voting in American Cities: The Group Interest Theory of Local Voting Behavior." PhD dissertation U. of California, Los Angeles 1998. 251 pp. DAI 1999 59(9): 3629-A. DA9906182 case studies of Denver 1983-1995. Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
- Kelly, George V. The Old Gray Mayors of Denver. Boulder, 1974. 266 pp.
- Knapp, Anne Curtis. "Making an Orderly Society: Criminal Justice in Denver, Colorado, 1858-1900." PhD dissertation U. of California, San Diego 1983. 324 pp. DAI 1984 44(11): 3467-A. DA8405206 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
- Ling, Richard Seyler. "The Social Construction of Synthetic Charisma: A Sociological Examination of the 1983 Denver Mayoral Campaign." PhD dissertation U. of Colorado, Boulder 1984. 246 pp. DAI 1985 45(7): 2261-A. DA8422625 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
- Miller, Jeff. Stapleton International Airport: "The First Fifty Years." Boulder: Pruett, 1983.
- Mitchell, J. Paul. "Taming the Urban Frontier: Denver during the Progressive Era." Conspectus of History 1.4 (1977): 24-33.
- Morley, Judy Mattivi. Historic Preservation and the Imagined West: Albuquerque, Denver, and Seattle. 2006. 204 pp.
- Noel, Thomas J. The City and the Saloon: Denver, 1858-1916 (1996) excerpt and text search
- Noel, Thomas J. Colorado Catholicism and the Archdiocese of Denver, 1857-1989 (1990) full text online
- Noel, Thomas J. Denver Landmarks & Historic Districts: A Pictorial Guide (2001)
- Noel, Thomas J. Mile high city: An illustrated history of Denver (2001)
- Noel, Thomas J. and Barbara S. Norgren. Denver: The City Beautiful and Its Architects, 1893-1941 (1987)
- Peterson, Eric ed. Frommer's Denver, Boulder & Colorado Springs (2007) excerpt and text search
- Pickering, John Richard. "Blueprint of Power: The Public Career of Robert Speer in Denver, 1898-1918." PhD dissertation U. of Denver 1978. 247 pp. DAI 1979 39(11): 6920-A
- Portrait and Biographical Record of Denver and Vicinity Colorado (1898), many short biographies full text online
- Reese, Carol McMichael. "The Politician and the City: Urban Form and City Beautiful Rhetoric in Progressive Era Denver." PhD dissertation U. of Texas, Austin 1992. 567 pp. DAI 1992 53(4): 969-A. DA9225704 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
- Rose, Mark H. Cities of Light and Heat: Domesticating Gas and Electricity in Urban America 1995. 229 pp. case study of Denver and Kansas City
- Smiley, Jerome C. History of Denver: with outlines of the earlier history of the Rocky Mountain country (1903); Smiley (1858–1924) compiled a large amount of information in 950pp; available on cd-rom
- Stefanco, Carolyn J. "Pathways to Power: Women and Voluntary Associations in Denver, Colorado, 1876-1893." PhD dissertation Duke U. 1987. 263 pp. DAI 1988 49(4): 932-933-A. DA8810886 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
- Taylor, Mary Jean. "Leadership Responses to Desegregation in the Denver Public Schools: A Historical Study, 1959-1977." PhD dissertation U. of Denver 1990. 364 pp. DAI 1990 51(6): 1866-A. DA9030097 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
- Webb, Wellington E. and Cindy Brovsky. Wellington Webb: The Man, the Mayor, and the Making of Modern Denver (2007) 404 pages excerpts and text search
See also 
- Outline of Colorado
- Index of Colorado-related articles
- Historic Colorado counties
- List of mayors of Denver
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Denver, Colorado
- Pike's Peak Gold Rush
- Gehling, Richard (2006). "The Pike's Peak Gold Rush". Richard Gehling. Archived from the original on 2008-06-28. Retrieved 2007-06-12.
- Brown, Robert L. (1985). The Great Pike's Peak Gold Rush. Caxton Press.
- Barnhouse, Mark (2012). Northwest Denver. Charleston, S.C: Arcadia Pub. ISBN 9780738589022.
- King, Clyde Lyndon (1911). The history of the government of Denver with special reference to its relations with public service corporations. Denver, Colorado: The Fisher Book Company.
- Noel, Tom. "Early Denver History - "A Rough and Tumble Place"". Visit Denver. Retrieved 2012-12-06.
- Larimer, William Henry Harrison (1918). In Herman Stearns Davis. Reminiscences of General William Larimer and of his son William H. H. Larimer, two of the founders of Denver city. Press of the New Era Printing Co. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- "Early Denver History - Denver's Beginnings". Visit Denver. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- Smiley, Jerome (1901). History of Denver: With Outlines of the Earlier History of the Rocky Mountain Country. Times-Sun Pub. Co.
- "An Act to provide a temporary Government for the Territory of Colorado" (PDF). Thirty-sixth United States Congress. 1861-02-28. Retrieved 2007-06-12.
- "State Government History". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. April 18, 2001. Retrieved November 28, 2006.
- "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. December 1, 2004. Retrieved November 28, 2006.
- About Denver. The City and County of Denver. Retrieved on July 20, 2006.[dead link]
- Leonard, Stephen J.; Noel, Thomas J. (1990). Denver: Mining Camp to Metropolis. Niwot, Colo.: University Press of Colorado. ISBN 9780585101255.
- A. H. Koschman and M. H. Bergendahl (1968) Principal Gold-Producing Districts of the United States, US Geological Survey, Professional Paper 610, p.86.
- Baker, Gayle Denver, A BoomTown History, HarborTown Histories
- Ubbelohde, Carl (2006). A Colorado history. Boulder, Colo: Pruett Pub. Co. ISBN 9780871089427.
- Leonard and Noel (1990) pp 44-45
- Population of the 100 Largest Urban Places: 1890
- The Ballad of Baby Doe Opera Houses Gallery
- Baker, p. 39-48
- Clark Secrest. Hell's Belles: Prostitution, Vice, and Crime in Early Denver, with a Biography of Sam Howe, Frontier Lawman. 2nd ed 2002, heavily illustrated.
- Wallace, Elizabeth (2011). Hidden history of Denver. Charleston, SC: History Press. ISBN 9781609493509.
- Jennifer A. Thompson, "From Travel Writer to Newspaper Editor: Caroline Churchill and the Development of Her Political Ideology Within the Public Sphere." Frontiers 1999 20(3): 42-63. Issn: 0160-9009 Fulltext: in Jstor
- Jeremy Bonner, "Religion," in Rick Newby, ed, The Rocky Mountain Region (Greenwood Press, 2004) p 370
- history page on the United Way Web site
- James A. Denton, Rocky Mountain Radical: Myron W. Reed, Christian Socialist. 1997.
- Abrams, Jeanne (2007). Jewish Denver : 1859-1940. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub. ISBN 9780738548296.
- Baker, p. 51-55
- Everett 2005. page 76.
- Leonard 1990. page 103.
- Ubbelohde 1982, page 229.
- The Slow Recovery from the 1890s Recession
- Cotton, Jean. "The Silver Crash of 1893: Lore, Legend and Fact.” Web. 17 Feb 2010.
- Smith, Jeff (2009). Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel, Klondike Research. pp. 294–316. ISBN 0-9819743-0-9
- "Some Things Denver Owes to Speer". Rocky Mountain News. 15 May 1918. p. 3.
- 1908's Hot Ticket was to DNC
- D'Ann Campbell, "Judge Ben Lindsey and the Juvenile Court Movement, 1901-1904", Arizona and the West, 1976, Vol. 18 Issue 1, pp 5–20
- See Webb (2007) p. 82, 189, 366
- Labor's Untold Story, Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, 1974, page 174.
- Emma Goldman, Living My Life, Dover Publications, 1970, page 534.
- David Brundage, The Making of Western Labor Radicalism: Denver's Organized Workers, 1878-1905, 1994, pages 161-162.
- Mile High City: Immigrants, by Thomas J. Noel
- Lerner, Michael A. Dry Manhattan: Prohibition in New York City, Harvard University Press, 2007 p.96-97
- Colorodoans Repealed National Prohibition after First Supporting It by David J. Hanson, Ph.D.
- Karen M. Kaufmann, "Black and Latino Voters in Denver: Responses to Each Other's Political Leadership." Political Science Quarterly 2003 118(1): 107-125. ISSN: 0032-3195 Fulltext: Ebsco
- City and County of Denver website
- Soapy Smith: Denver Crime Boss
- The Blonger Gang
- 1905 Magazine Article with photos