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Colorado (Co): State Guide and Fun Facts

When did Colorado become a state?
August 1, 1876

Who was the first European explorer in Colorado?
Francisco Coronado was likely to have been the first explorer to set food in Colorado in 1541, but he did not settle in the area.

First Native American settlers:
Ute, Crow, Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Sioux, Kiowa, Comanche, Apache, Caddo, Wichita, Navajo, Hopi, Nez Perce, Shoshoni, Shebits, Kaibab, Utah, Ouray

Square Miles:

US Rank:

State Flower:
Rocky Mountain Columbine

State Bird:
Lark Bunting

State Motto:
“Nil sin numine” Nothing without Providence

Capital City

Denver – Denver is the capital city of Colorado and the largest city in the state. It was officially founded in 1858, named after James William Denver, the governor of the Kansas Territory at the time. Settlers originally began to stay in the area because of the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush that took miners to the Kansas Territory in the mid-1800s. Unfortunately, this early settling was quickly reversed, and the area had been all-but abandoned only one year later, as miners flocked to other nearby towns with greater mining resources. Luckily for Denver, it was soon named the county seat of government for the state of Colorado, and so its population grew steadily due to a large number of governmental jobs in the area.

Today, Denver has risen to become one of America’s great cities, with dozens of diverse neighborhoods, a thriving downtown financial district, tourism offerings and entertainment, including skiing just outside of the city proper.


What is Colorado famous for?

1. High Elevation – Colorado is known throughout the US as being the state with the highest average elevation. The Rocky Mountains cut a swath directly through the state, and as a result, most of the development (including cities and towns) are built at above average elevations. Colorado contains over 1,000 mountaintops in the Rocky Mountains that measure highest than 10,000 feet. That’s higher than any mountains in the northeast. Additionally, the state has 54 mountains that top 14,000 feet above sea level. It is because of these extreme elevations that Denver, Colorado received its nickname of “the mile high city”.

2. Skiing – Colorado skiing is some of the best the country has to offer. Its most prominent resorts include Aspen, Vail, Telluride, Steamboat Springs and Breckenridge. Dozens of others provide excellent skiing on a smaller scale. With such high elevations throughout the state, skiing is everywhere. Colorado Ski and Mountain Guide

3. Mesa Verde National Park – Mesa Verde National Park was established in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. He wished to preserve the native landscape and dwellings of the Pueblo Native Americans that once inhabited the area. Within the park are 4,000 archaeological sites that contain cliff dwellings of the Pueblo people, towers, farming structures and mesa top sites. The cliff dwellings are impressive feats of building and engineering. Some are one rooms, while others contain more than 150 interconnected rooms carved out of a solid cliff. Tours of some of the houses are offered by Park Rangers from April to October.

What is Colorado’s economy?

1. Agriculture – Colorado’s agriculture is centralized on a few key crops and livestock offerings. The state’s main crops are wheat, corn and hay. Lesser grown crops include beans, grain, potatoes, sugar beets, apples and nursery products. The main livestock produced in Colorado are cattle and calves. Other livestock production includes dairy products, pigs, sheep and chicken eggs.

2. Manufacturing – The manufacturing industry in Colorado is dominated by the creation of scientific instruments including medical devices and electrical current measuring meters. The state also produces computers, communications equipment, beer, soft drinks, meats, electrical equipment, fabricated metals, leather and paper products.

3. Services – The service industry accounts for the largest percentage of Colorado’s gross domestic product each year. The most important services in this category in Colorado include private health care companies, hotels, ski resorts, engineering companies, law firms, software development companies, financial firms, insurance companies, real estate companies and banks. Wholesale and retail trade are also a leading services industry in the state.


Colorado Historical Landmarks

1. Elitch Gardens Carousel – The Elitch Gardens Carousel was built in 1905 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. It has also been called the Philadelphia Toboggan Company Carousel #6 and the Kit Carson County Carousel, named after the county in which it is located. It remained in use at Elitch Gardens from 1905 until 1928. The park decided to sell the original and to replace it with a newer carousel. It was sold to Kit Carson County and began to be used again in 1937. The carousel is still in use today and is the only antique carousel in the country that still boasts its original paint. It is also the only multi-animal carousel still in existence that was fabricated by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company.

2. Pike’s Peak – Pike’s Peak in El Paso County, Colorado, is located just west of Colorado Springs. The mountain was originally called “El Capitan”, named by Spanish explorers in the early 1800s. The mountain hosts several events each year. It is home to the Pike’s Peak Railway, which takes visitors from the base at Manitou Springs to the summit. There is a 19 mile road paved for automobiles to ascend the mountain, as well as several hiking trails for those wishing to take a harder path.
Pike’s Peak gained fame just before the turn of the 20th century when Katharine Lee Bates wrote “America the Beautiful” after returning from a trip to the summit. Interestingly, only the parts of Pike’s Peak above 14,000 feet are designated as a National Historic Landmark.

3. Beaver Meadows Visitor Center – The Beaver Meadows Visitor Center was built in 1967 by Taliesin Associated Architects, the firm founded by Frank Lloyd Wright to carry on his ideals, beliefs and architecture principles after his imminent death. The building was one of the largest works that the firm was ever commissioned to complete. Its significance within a park setting is that the building does not blend into the landscape in the rustic style that is typical of national park architecture. It successfully takes a more modern approach, while still handing respect to the materiality and shape of the landscape.