Why Is Denver the Capital of Colorado?

Why Is Denver the Capital of Colorado

One thing that is not lacking in Denver – the capital of Colorado is amazing views and beautiful scenery. “The Mile High City” provides residents with a mix of urban and outdoorsy vibe.

In this article, we will be taking a look at the history of the city and how it became the capital of Colorado.


Unifying Denver

In 1858, miners came into the region in their drove and had settlements in the area. They moved there to partake of the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush. These settlements grew into a scattered group of camps and towns. Eventually they became unified and thus Denver was founded.

The decision to become unified did not just fall upon the settlers from the sky. Rather, it was through the initiation of an early settler who went by the name – William Larimer. It was in 1859 that Larimer called a meeting of the different stakeholders in the region and tabled the idea before them.

This was a success and the various settlements became one. When it came to choosing names, Larimer selected “Denver City” and the name has not changed till date.

The Capital of Colorado

The gold rush did not bring only miners into the region as there were blacksmiths, shopkeepers, as well as other service-related businesses and establishments. William Larimer was not a miner.

His concentration was on showcasing and further promoting Denver City as a place with a huge deposit of natural resources. This attracted more settlers not just to Denver City but the whole region.

Not up to one year after Denver City was founded, Denver as well as other places in the region such as Golden started clamoring for territorial status. One notable supporter of this move was William Byers of the Rocky Mountain News. Another avid supporter of the move was Larimer who even wanted to become territorial governor.

The progress of the talks to have the territorial status was delayed by the issue of slavery. In 1861, Colorado Territory later came to be with the first territorial capital being Colorado City. Colorado City was the first Pikes Peak region settlement.

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After Colorado City, the next capital was Golden. Due to the fact that the city had the advantage of being situated between two of the larger gold fields, it had grown into the economic hub of the region for that period.

How did Denver become the Capital of Colorado?

Denver indeed flourished right from the time it was founded. However, when the decision was made to route the nation’s first transcontinental railroad through Cheyenne instead of Denver, the residents saw it as a move that would hamper their progress.

They were not going to let that happen and so in what was a defining moment in the history of Denver, the city raised $300,000 in just under three days. This was so that they could build their own their own connection to the transcontinental railroad.

This move really paid off as it made it possible for Denver to thrive as a major service and supply center in Colorado.

We already mentioned how the capital moved from Colorado City to Golden. But by the mid-1860s Golden was capital in name only. Denver had grown to be more developed and larger and the territorial governor lived there. More so, important territorial meetings were held in Denver and so in 1867, Denver was made the acting territorial capital.

In 1876, Colorado became a state and after a state-wide ballot was conducted in 1881, Denver then had the status of the official permanent capital of the state of Colorado. Other cities that were under consideration were Colorado Springs, Boulder and Golden.

After Denver became the officially recognized state capital, the city enjoyed a period of huge growth. But this did not last for a very long time as the Silver Crash brought about an economic depression for the city in 1893.

However, that did not keep them down instead they concentrated on building the Colorado State Capitol. Constructing the building provided a lot of jobs, not just for those who were directly working on it, but also for the miners who were extracting the marble required for the construction.

That building really helped to jump-start their economy and made jobs available. The building is still standing strong today and is a physical proof of the resilience and doggedness of Denver.

Today, Denver has grown into a beautiful city that attracts a lot of visitors annually.