Colorado Historical Timeline of Significant Events

Colorado Historical Timeline of Significant Events

c. 14,000 BC Ice-age Paleoamericans begin using the ice-free corridor east of the Rocky Mountains to migrate throughout the Americas.
c. 9000 BC Paleo-Indians inhabited land north of Fort Collins and south of the Wyoming border. (See 1935 when this was confirmed).
c.2100 BC Colorado's most recent volcano occurred near Dotsero
c. 1100 CE Ancestral Puebloans begin construction of cliff houses on Mesa Verde.
1739 July 5 On a voyage up the Arkansas River, Pierre Antoine and Paul Mallet encounter an Arikara who agrees to guide them to Santa Fe, the first contact between France and Spain in the Rocky Mountain region.
1803 December 20 France turns over La Louisiane to the US after the April 30 Louisiana Purchase Treaty—present day Colorado east of the Continental and Sangre de Cristo Divides becomes a US area (disputed by Spain).
1806 November 27 Zebulon Pike abandons his attempt to climb the great summit of the Mexican Mountains, now known Pikes Peak.
1820 July 14 Pikes Peak's summit was first reached by Edwin James and two other members of an expedition by Major Stephen H. Long, who named the mountain James Peak. It was the first 14er summited in the US.
1820 French trappers hear a chug chug sound and assumed they were hearing a steamboat. It was a hot spring coming up from the ground, but Steamboat Springs was named
1821 February 22 The Adams–Onís Treaty (signed 1819) between Spain and the U.S. relinquishes present day Colorado land west of the 100th meridian west of Greenwich, south and west of the Arkansas River, and south of the 42nd parallel north.
1853 Miracle of San Acacio occurs. While the towns men of San Acacio are out hunting, Ute Indians charged on the horses to attack the town. The Indians inexplicably turned their horses around in retreat. Legend goes that the Indians claimed they saw a whole Spanish army in the clouds. Side note: That are is well known for its UFO sights.
1859 May 6 A prospector discovers the first hard rock gold in the region,[specify] a rich gold-bearing vein of Gregory Gulch in northwestern Kansas Territory, 28 mi (45 km) west of Denver City.
1860 January Vice President John C. Breckinridge used his infouence to get a post office for his town in Colorado. Breckinridge and for president against Lincoln on a pro slavery platform. After losing to Lincoln, Breckenridge wen to fight for the confederate in the civil war. Emabarrassed, the citizens subtly changed the name to Breckenridge.
1860 Runaway slave Barney Ford staked a claim in Breckenridge hoping to find gold. One of his claims is named Barney Ford Hill, though it turned out to be worthless. The Barney Ford Building still stands at 1514 Blake Street in Denver.
1864 May 13 A flash flood on   Cherry Creek sweeps away most low-lying structures of Denver City and separates many residents from their local saloons and brothels.
1864 November 29 Sand Creek Massacre where more than 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians were killed by militiamen near Kit Carson, Colorado
1868 May 23 Brigadier General Kit Carson dies at new Fort Lyon at age 58.
1871 October 27 The Denver and Rio Grande Railway is completed from Denver to the new town of Colorado Springs, 5 mi (8.0 km) east of Colorado City.
1873  Alferd Packer and 20 Bingham Utah for Colorado to prospect
1874 January Packer and his companions make it to Chief Ouray's camp at the mouth of Dry Creek, 2 miles south of Delta
1974 February 9  Paker was hired to guide five prospectors for a venutre into the San Juan Mountains to the Los Piños Indian Agency on Cochetopa Creek between Saguache and Gunnison.
1874 April 6 Alferd Packer arrives at the Los Pinos Indian Agency in the Cochetopa Hills with no trace of his five companions. Upon questioning, Packer admits that he ate his companions.
1878 January 1 David May opens The Great Western Auction House and Clothing Store in Leadville. The company will become a component of Macy's, Inc.
1878 April 19 The Royal Gorge War begins as a construction crew of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad blocks a crew of the Denver and Rio Grande Railway from building into the Royal Gorge.
1878 Flash fllod collapses the the trestle over Kiowa creek near Strasburg. Kansas Pacific freight train plunges into the creek bed killing all 3 on board. The bodies and train cars were identified and salvaged, but the locomotive was never found. (See 1989)
1879 March 7  Jane Kirkham was gunned down while robbing a stage coach on the Old Stage Road between Buena Vista and Leadville. (Gravemarker placed by her boyfriend, who was guard for the stage, is still there).
1879 May 7 The first passenger train passes through the Royal Gorge.
Late 1870s    It was discovered that cattle thrived in the Sand Hills due to thousands of lakes and marshes. The sand acts as a huge sponge
1880 July 22 The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad reaches Leadville. The first passenger train to Leadville carries former President Ulysses Grant, the man who brought Colorado statehood.
1880 Leadville's Harrison Ave. paved with leftover silver smelter slag.
1881 February 21 The Colorado Electric Company incorporates in Denver.
1881 June 1 Denver Union Station opens.
1886  Miners accidentally start a fire at Vulcan Mine near Newcastle. The underground coal seem fire is still burning
1887 October 28 The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad reaches Aspen.
1891 July 1 The Broadmoor Casino opens near Colorado Springs.
1892 August Political supporters of Grover Cleveland found the Evening Post in Denver with $50,000.
1893 July 22 Katherine Lee Bates visits the summit of Pikes Peak and writes the poem America the Beautiful.
1893 November 7 Colorado becomes the first U.S. state to give women the vote by popular referendum.
1895 Citizens of Leadville vow to build the largest ice structure ever built. The magnificent Ice Palace opened New Yewars Eve after a December heatwave and closed after an early spring thaw. The project though memorable and spectacular, was a financial bust.
1896 November 7 The Denver Zoo opens.
1900 April 1 1900 United States Census enumerates the population of Colorado, later determined to be 539,700, an increase of 30.60% since the 1890 United States Census.
1900 December 6 The Colorado Museum of Natural History in Breckenridge is incorporated.
1905 Enos Mills guided 8-year-old Harriet Peters to the top of Longs Peak. Enos, who would later be a champion for the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park, said, "Of the two hundred and fifty-odd trips which I made as a guide to the summit of this great old peak, the trip with Harriet is the one I like best to recall."
1905 May 12 U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt signs orders creating the Gunnison Forest Reserve, the Leadville Forest Reserve, and the Pike's Peak Forest Reserve.
1905 August 25 U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt signs an order creating the Holy Cross Forest Reserve.
1905 June 14 U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt signs an order creating the Uncompahgre Forest Reserve.
1905 June 13 U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt signs orders creating the Cochetopa Forest Reserve and the Montezuma Forest Reserve.
1905 June 12 U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt signs orders creating the Park Range Forest Reserve, the San Isabel Forest Reserve, and the Wet Mountains Forest Reserve.
1906 U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt signs an order creating the La Sal Forest Reserve.
1906 U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt signs an act of Congress creating Mesa Verde National Park.
1906 January 29 The first Western Livestock Show opens in Denver. The show will become the National Western Stock Show, Rodeo and Horse Show.
1908 The Colorado Museum of Natural History opens its new building in Denver City Park.
1908 U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt signs an order creating Arapaho National Forest.
1912 Denver City ordinance requires prostitues to wear a yellow ribbon on her arm to identify her profession. The ordinance inadvertedly becomes free advertsiing and is soon rescinded.
1913 December 1 Denver's greatest snowfall ever begins. Denver receives a five-day accumulation of 45.7 inches (1161 mm), while Georgetown gets 86 inches (2184 mm).
1915 January 26 U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signs an act of Congress creating Rocky Mountain National Park
1916 The "new" Wolf Creek Pass highway, opened by the Colorado Highway Department
1917 January 10 William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody dies in Denver at age 70. He wished to be bried in his town "Cody", Wyoming. His body ws kept on ice for five months as it was debated where he'd be buried. Against his wishes, Buffalo Bill was buried on Lookout Mountain.
1918 June 29 The Broadmoor resort opened near Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor Casino site and adjacent to the Broadmoor Shooting Grounds.
1919 Anders Haugen set a world record distance ski jump at Dillon hill at 213 feet. Dillon hill currently resides under Lake Dillon. (see 1924)
1921 June 3 Flash floods on the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek kill 1500 people and inflict over $20 million of damage around Pueblo.
1922 March 10 Denver radio station W9ZAF receives a commercial license as KLZ (AM 560 kHz), the first commercial radio station in Colorado.
1924 Anders Haugen places fourth ski jumping in the First Winter Olympics.... or does he???? (see 1974)
1926 Spencer Penrose establishes his Cheyenne Mountain Zoo near the BROADMOOR.
1927 Congress agrees to sell Arapaho Galcier and surrounding land to Boulder.
1929 October 17 Denver Municipal Airport opens (renamed Stapleton Airfield in 1944, Stapleton International Airport in 1964).
1929 The City of Cañon City completes the Royal Gorge Bridge over the Arkansas River.
1930 The beloved burro "Prunes" dies and is buried by Fairplay residents on Front Street at 63 years of age. A monument of stone, concrete and a bronze plaque is errected where it stands today. Prunes would run errands for his owner Rupert Sherwood. The residents of Fairplay embraced the burro and gave him free hand outs so it was never hungry. Rupert Sherwood dies the year after Prunes at age 81. Fairplay celebrates Burro Days on the last full weekend of July every year.
1932 March 17 U.S. President Herbert Hoover signs an act of Congress creating Great Sand Dunes National Monument.
1933 March 2 Outgoing U.S. President Herbert Hoover signs a proclamation creating Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument.
1935 (summer) A Bison antiques skeleton was found about 10 miles west of I25 and a few miles south of the Wyoming border with a Folsom point wedged between its vertebreas. This proved that humans (Paleo-Indians) occupied America before the exctinction of the Bison antiques over 10,000 years ago.
1935 March 8 Baby Doe Tabor is found frozen to death in her cabin near the Matchless Mine in Lake County.
1936 May 9 Members of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Company 1848 at Morrison Camp SP-13-C in Red Rocks Park cease work on all other projects in preparation for the construction of Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
1937 February 7 A donated rope tow begins operation at Berthoud Pass, creating Colorado's first public tow-assisted alpine skiing. Unfortunately, two skiers are killed in an avalanche the same day.
1941 June 15 Rotary International celebrates the Grand Opening of Red Rocks Amphitheatre with 10,000 in attendance during their annual convention. An "informal dedication" was held the week before.
1945 September 10 Mike the Headless Chicken survives an assassination attempt but loses his head near Fruita.
1950 February 13 Aspen hosts the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 1950 at Ajax Mountain Ski Resort, the first World Ski Championships held outside Europe
1951  United commercial flight crached into Crystal Mountain west of Frot Collins. 55 lives were lost and this was the first major commerical airline disaster
1952 January 19 The Denver-Boulder Turnpike opens to traffic.
1954 June 24 The United States Air Force selects an area north of Colorado Springs as the site for the United States Air Force Academy.
1955 September 11 Sharon Kay Ritchie is the 1st Miss Colorado crowned Miss America (cf. Marilyn Van Derbur in 1957, Rebecca Ann King in 1973).
1955 United flight explodes over Longmont killing all 44 aboard. John G. Graham convicted and executed for placing a suitcase of dynamite on the plane.
1956 Movie Around The World in 80 Days filmed in Durango and Silverton is released.
1959 January 22 The Adolf Coors Company of Golden introduces the aluminum beer can.
1961 July 20 Tunneling began for the NORAD bunker (the plan for a Denver Sector bunker had been cancelled in 1959, and the SAC bunker near Cripple Creek planned for 1965 was cancelled in 1963.)
1962 Movie How the West was Won filmed in La Junta, Bent's Old Fort, Durango, Montrose, and Silverton was released.
1963 July 25 The United States Fish and Wildlife Service establishes the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge.
1965 June 16 A flash flood on the South Platte River kills 28 people and inflicts over $500 million in damage.
1965 July 25 The United States Fish and Wildlife Service establishes the Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge.
1969 May 12 The International Olympic Committee selects Denver to host the XII Olympic Winter Games in 1976.
1969 August 20 U.S. President Richard Nixon signs an act of Congress creating Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.
1969 October The John Denver debut album Rhymes & Reasons is released.
1969 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid filmed in Durango, Telluride and Silverton was released.
1972 November 7 Colorado voters reject a $5 million bond issue to fund the 1976 Winter Olympics.
1973 March 8 Governor John Love dedicates the first bore of the Eisenhower Tunnel taking Interstate 70 under the Continental Divide of the Americas, the highest point on the Interstate Highway System.
1974 A Norwegian sport historian discovers a scoring error in the 1924 Olympics ski jumping competition. Anders Haugen was confirmed by the Olympic Committee to have placed third in 1924. He flew to Oslo and received the bronze in a ceremony at 86 years old.
1974 December 21 The first Telluride Film Festival begins.
1976 July 31 A flash flood in Big Thompson Canyon kills 143 people just hours before the Colorado State Centennial.
1978 January 1 The Denver Broncos defeat the Oakland Raiders 20 to 17 to win the American Football Conference Championship. Two weeks later, the Broncos lose Super Bowl XII to the Dallas Cowboys 27 to 10.
1978 August 1 The United States Olympic Committee moves into its new headquarters at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
1979 December 21 Interstate 70 in Colorado was completed with the dedication of the Eisenhower–Johnson Memorial Tunnel's Edwin C. Johnson Bore (second bore construction under the Continental Divide began August 18, 1975.)
1982 January 12 Dynasty first aired and become the longest running non-animated TV series set in Colorado (8 seasons, cf. Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman-6, Mork & Mindy-4).
1985 February 1 Maybell records an ambient air temperature of −61 °F (−51.7 °C), setting the all-time Colorado record low temperature.
1987 April 5 The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum opens in Leadville.
1988 January 17 The Denver Broncos defeat the Cleveland Browns 38 to 33 to win the American Football Conference Championship. Two weeks later, the Broncos lose Super Bowl XXII to the Washington Redskins 42 to 10.
1989 November 22 The City and County of Denver holds a ground-breaking ceremony for a new airport to replace the aging Stapleton International Airport.
1989 Clive Cussler organizes a massive search involving over 300 people for the locomotive involved in the 1878 Kiowa Creek train crash. The locomotive wasn't and still hasn't been found. Cussler believes the locomotive was removed in 1878, brought to Kansas City, rebuilt and renumbered in a frontier insurance scam. (See 1878)
1989 Bredo Morstoel died and his body was shipped to Nederland's low budget cryogenic institute to be frozen in hopes a re-birth in the future. The cryogneic institute was run by Morstoel's grand son Tygve Bauge. The very cold body is being kept in a shed today and became the inspiration for Nederland's March festival Frozen Dead Guy Days.
1989 Movie Christmas Vacation filmed in Breckenridge was released
1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade filmed in Alamosa, Cortez, Pagosa Springs, Cumbres, and the Toltec Railroad in Antonito was released
1990 The Denver Broncos defeat the Cleveland Browns 37 to 21 to win the American Football Conference Championship. Two weeks later, the Broncos lose Super Bowl XXIV to the San Francisco 49ers 55 to 10.
1990 June 23 The Colorado Convention Center opens in Denver.
1991 Movie City Slickers filmed in Durango was released
1991 Movie Thelma and Louise filmed in Gateway and Bedrock was released
1991 October 15 The Warren Zevon album Mr. Bad Example is released with the song "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead".
1992 I70 in Glenwood Canyon is complete after 22 years of construction. It goes down as the most expensive and diffigult stretch of the US Interstate Highway System as thr road transports cars 80 to 9- feet in the air.
1994 Movie Dumb and Dumber filmed in Aspen, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Estes Park was released.
1995 June 11 Denver International Airport opens replacing Stapleton International Airport.
1996 June 11 The Colorado Avalanche win the Stanley Cup in the 4th game against the Florida Panthers (1st championship for a Colorado major league sports team).
1996 July 22 Amy Van Dyken of Englewood wins the first of her six Olympic gold medals in swimming at the Games of the XXVI Olympiad in Atlanta.
1996 December 26 JonBenét Ramsey is found murdered in the basement of her Boulder home (a 2006 confesstion was received, and the family was exonerated in 2008).
1996 Movie Independence Day filmed in Colorado Springs was released.
1997 August 13 The animated television series South Park, set in South Park, debuts.
1998 January 11 The wildcard Denver Broncos defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 24 to 21 to win the American Football Conference Championship.
1998 January 25 The Denver Broncos defeat the Green Bay Packers 31 to 24 in Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego, California.
1999 The Denver Broncos defeat the New York Jets 23 to 10 to win the American Football Conference Championship.
1999 January 31 The Denver Broncos defeat the Atlanta Falcons 34 to 19 in Super Bowl XXXIII in Miami, Florida.
1999 April 20 The Columbine High School massacre: Two high school students open fire on their campus in Jefferson County killing 12 students and a teacher and wounding 24 others before killing themselves.
2000 Movie Nurse Betty filmed in Durango was released.
2001 June 9 The Colorado Avalanche defeat the New Jersey Devils in seven games to win the Stanley Cup.
2002 Movie About Schmidt filmed in Boulder and Denver was released
2005 Movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith filmed in Glenwood Canyon was released.
2007 October 15 The Colorado Rockies defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks in four games to win the National League Pennant.
2007 Movie Blades of Glory filmed in Denver was released
2010 October 14 The Snowmastodon site is discovered with Pleistocene fossils during reservoir construction near Snowmass Village.
2013 July 18 The Royal Gorge fire had destroyed buildings and the aerial tram of the park at the Royal Gorge Bridge after starting on June 11.
2013 Movie The Lone Ranger filmed in Creede was released.
2014 January 1 Colorado becomes the first state to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
2014 January 19 The Denver Broncos defeat the New England Patriots 26 to 16 to win the American Football Conference Championship. Two weeks later, the Broncos lose Super Bowl XLVIII to the Seattle Seahawks 43 to 8, becoming the first team to lose five Super Bowls.
2014 February 21 Mikaela Shiffrin of Eagle-Vail wins the alpine skiing women's slalom gold medal at the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
2014 September 18 Eventsincolorado.com is launched and the Colorado Events industry will never be the same.
2015 Film Furious 7 filmed in Colorado Springs and Woodland Park was released

Funky Facts

There are 637 13,000 ft. peaks in Colorado
If the mountains were flattened, Colorado wouldn't be even close to the size of Texas.

 

Sources: Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Wikipedia, the NFL, The Denver Post, The NHL, Strange But True, Colorado by John Hatnor and Dale Crawford

Do you have an historical Colorado event we need to list?  Send it to [email protected]

 

Advertisement