Founded in November 1858, Denver was originally a gold miner’s town. Gold dwindled quickly in the city, and it became a supply hub for new mountains mines. The city grew rapidly, becoming the county seat of Arapahoe County and ultimately the state capital.
In 1863 a fire devastated the city, and a year later, a flash flood destroyed the city hall and many other buildings. Following the 1860s Indian uprisings on the plains, the Cheyenne and Arapaho were made to leave Colorado. In 1867, Denver became the territorial capital. Denver residents created their railway, completed in 1870, during the transcontinental railroad construction through Wyoming; the Kansas Pacific Railroad reached Denver shortly afterward. The population increased from 4,759 to 106,713 in the next twenty years.
During the 1870s and 1880s, silver became more valuable than gold economically. A mining fortune was made almost overnight, and an opera house was built. Silver prices crashed in 1893, ending this era of opulence. Silver kings became paupers as banks failed and smelters shut down. With the discovery of gold, the economy began to stabilize, and farming, cattle ranching, and tourism contributed to the economic growth. Denver became a food processing center as railroads brought in beets, wheat, cattle, and hogs. German brewers were among the many immigrants that supported this industry.
1893 marks the end of the silver boom and the onset of financial panic. The agricultural industry in Denver had already been affected by successive years of droughts and rough winters, which had hurt the city’s economy. Stock prices plummeted, banks closed, businesses failed, and several farms ceased operations due to agricultural distress and foreign investor withdrawals. Thousands of people lost their life savings due to the lack of federal insurance. As the U.S. economy began to recover in 1897, jobs gradually began to trickle back into Denver, but real estate prices remained depressed through 1900.
Federal Mint building under construction at West Colfax Avenue and Delaware Street in Denver, Colorado. The two-story, granite building has marble lunettes above arched and rectangular windows. A fence encircles the construction site, a bicycle leans against a wood frame building and an American flag hangs from a pole. The second floor portion of the Mint is under construction and shows exposed support beams.
Federal Mint building at West Colfax and Delaware Street in Denver, Colorado. The two-story granite building has marble lunettes above arched and rectangular windows and a bracketed cornice. The roof is under construction and a crane is next to the building. Shows an American flag hung from a pole, a bicycle and a wood frame building.
North Denver High School at 29th (Twenty-ninth) and Firth Court in the Highland neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. Shows a Second Empire style building with a central pavilion topped by a tower with roof cresting and porthole windows, arched door entrances, and eye-brow like window heads. Children stand in the school yard. An adult stands in the entry way.
Eleven men stand in front of the Denver and Rio Grande Railway building at an unidentified exposition, the building was later moved to Palmer Lake (El Paso County), Colorado and served as the railroad depot. The Victorian style building has a tower with decorative spindles, brackets, and front and side gables.
Men sit on top of a train, on a timber sidewalk, or near a passenger train and Denver & Rio Grande Railroad tracks at a railroad depot in Creede (Mineral County), Colorado. Supplies and belongings stacked on the sidewalk include a mattress, wooden crates and trunks, and probably furniture. Smoke is above a passenger train. Rio Grande & Southern freight cars are on tracks nearby.
The summer resort hotel at Cebolla on the Gunnison River (Gunnison County), Colorado. The hotel is a two story brick structure and a one story long log cabin structure. Tents and outbuildings are in the yard and a bridge extends over the river. Tracks of the Denver and Rio Grand Railroad parallels the river.
View of Haish Manual Training School located in the University of Denver Haish Building at 14th (Fourteenth) and Arapahoe Streets, Denver, Colorado. Shows an Italianate style building with tall arched windows, parapet, and rusticated stone trim. "University of Denver" appears over the arched doorway.
View of The National Mining and Industrial Exposition complex, which opened on August 1, 1882, at the corner of South Broadway and Exposition Avenue in Denver, Colorado. The multi-story building complex is comprised of towers with belvederes, rectangular and arched windows, pedimented facade, hip and gabled roofs and an arched entrance. Displays inside the complex exhibited mining and industrial equipment and resources from 1882-1884. The buildings were removed after the third exhibition ended in October 1884.
View of a Denver & Rio Grande Railroad tipple in the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company coal camp of Rouse (Huerfano County), Colorado. Shows freight cars on tracks, coal mine buildings, smoke, and smokestacks. Probably company houses are near the tipple. Buildings in town include frame houses and commercial buildings, the two-story U.S. Post Office with a central pediment, and the Osgood School with a domed cupola.
View of Larimer Street from 16th (Sixteenth) Street in Denver, Denver County, Colorado. Shows the Pioneer Building, an Italianate style building with tall arched windows and balustrade. The Railroad Building is next door. A Denver Tramway trolley car, horse-drawn wagons and pedestrians are in the intersection.
View of Larimer Street from 16th (Sixteenth) Street in Denver, Denver County, Colorado. Shows the Pioneer Building, an Italianate style building with tall arched windows and balustrade. The Railroad Building is next door. Denver Tramway trolley cars, a horse-drawn covered wagon and pedestrians are in the intersection.
Two men stand on narrow gauge tracks near a signal on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad near the Ben Butler Mine in Eagle River Canyon (Eagle County), Colorado. Shows a train on the tracks, tailings, a tram house, cables for buckets, telegraph poles, a tramway, and other mining structures on the cliff faces.
View of men and women in rowboats, in hats, suits and dresses, on Palmer Lake, at Palmer Lake (El Paso County), Colorado. Shows a fountain, boat house, water tank, the Denver and Rio Grande depot, tracks and the Judd Eating House. Painted on rowboats: "Martha", "Minnie" and "Inez."
A man poses on the steps of the Chamberlin Observatory at Fillmore Street and Warren Avenue on the Campus of the University of Denver, in Colorado. The Richardsonian Romanesque structure, designed by Robert S. Roeschlaub, is constructed from rusticated stone blocks and includes a central rotunda and domed roof.
A view a multiple story building at the intersection of 14th (Fourteenth) and Lawrence streets in Denver, Colorado. Piles of wood and other construction materials are on the streets in front of the building. Shows other local businesses, utility poles and trolley car tracks.
A view of a Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Company brick building with three smoke stacks, possibly the railroad shops in Denver, Colorado. The windows are arched and there is a star carved in stone above the door. Railroad car parts are in the field that surrounds the building. Railroad tracks run in front of the building. A man walks past the building.