TABLE OF CONTENTS
Map of ColoradoPage3
State Location, Geography and ClimatePage4
U.S. Map with Colorado LocationPage6
State Bird, Flower, Tree, Motto and SealPage7
Ancient History of ColoradoPage8
Recent History of ColoradoPage 10
Plants and Animals of ColoradoPage 12
Natural Resources MapPage 13
Natural Resources and ProductsPage 14
Special Features About ColoradoPage 15
Recipes of ColoradoPage 16
I. Colorado – The Centennial State
b. State Map
c. Location, Geography and Climate
d. USA / Colorado Map
e. State Bird, Motto, Seal, Tree and Flower
a. Ancient History
b. Recent History and Famous Citizens
a. Buffalo, Antelope, Jackrabbit and Other Animals
b. Various Plant Life
c. Colorados Natural Resources
IV. Special Features
a. Rocky Mountains
b. Pikes Peak
c. Sand Dunes National Monument
e. State Capitol
The Centennial State
Location, Geography and Climate
On a map, Colorado is an almost perfect rectangle. With an area of 104,091 square miles, it ranks eighth among states in size. Colorado is located in the Central Time Zone of the United States. Also known as Mountain Time Zone, its clock runs an hour later that the Eastern Standard Time Zone and one hour ahead of the Pacific Standard Time Zone.
The state itself is located somewhat in the center of the United States, just slightly southwest of center. It borders Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Colorado is called the “top of the nation” because its average elevation of 6,800 feet is higher than any other state. Its lowest elevation is 3,350 feet above sea level in the plains of Prowers County, and with its highest elevation of 14,433 feet at Mount Elbert, Colorado claims fifty three mountains that stand over 14,000 feet above sea level, also known as the Rocky Mountains.
Colorado writer James Grafton Rogers has said, “There is in the Rocky Mountains no gentle spring, no gradual awakening of life,” “Summer comes suddenly some day in June on the heels of winter.” The climate in Colorado is pretty extreme. Throughout the year, altitude is a major factor in determining the temperature. In fact, the average temperature drops four degrees Fahrenheit with every 1,000 feet of elevation above sea level. January temperatures on the plains, average 28 degrees Fahrenheit, while temperatures at 10,000 feet in the mountains, average 18 degrees Fahrenheit. July temperatures average 74 degrees Fahrenheit on the plains, with a brisk 55 degrees Fahrenheit at 10,000 feet elevation in the mountains.
Precipitation in Colorado averages about 15 inches per year, varying from as little as 12 inches in eastern Colorado to as much as 400 inches in some mountain areas. Mother Nature has granted Colorado plenty of fertile soil on the eastern plains, but sends most of the rainfall to the stony slopes of the western mountains. This occasionally causes flash floods and wreak havoc on the semi-arid land.
Recent History of Colorado
and Famous Citizens
Colorado was admitted to the union on August 1, 1876 and was the 38th state. From studies in 1990, the population was 3,294,394 people. The capital of Colorado is Denver and the largest cities are Colorado Springs, Aurora, Lakewood and Pueblo.
Gold was discovered in the San Juan Mountains in the late 1800s. Because the Ute Indians inhabited most of the land where gold was discovered, the discovery of gold resulted in the movement of the nomadic Utes to a reservation. At first the Utes tolerated reservation life, but eventually they began to rebel. The United States army was called in to contain the Utes after members of a forte were murdered. With the Utes tamed and the creation of many new mining communities like Durango and Montrose, Colorado saw the last of the frontier.
The federal Homestead Act of 1862 allowed many people the chance to own their own land. Because of this, thousands of families moved to Colorado and began to ranch and farm. Gradually, agriculture replaced mining as Colorados leading industry. While agriculture was the dominant industry, gold, silver and coal mining remained important and made fortunes for many. However, mining companies and their investors were the real winners because miners lived poor and controlled lives in the mining company towns. As a result, many strikes occurred. The worst strike resulted in an episode called the “Ludlow Massacre.” Two women and eleven children were killed in the Ludlow Massacre when the National Guard set their tents ablaze in an effort to move them.
During the depression of the late 1920s and 1930s, Colorados Great Plains became the Dust Bowl. Thousands of people abandoned their farms to stand in bread lines in Denver and other cities. Many people headed west, hoping to find a better life in California. The Second World War helped to lift Colorado and the nation from the depths of the Great Depression, as farmers and miners worked to support the war effort.
The surge of military activity continued to shape life in Colorado even after the war came to an end. In fact, the uranium used to create the first atomic bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima had been mined in Colorado. In 1957 Colorado Springs was chosen as the site of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), a vast underground fortress where high-ranking military officials stand ready to monitor and respond to any air attack against the United States. In addition to the military, many major corporations moved to Denver and its metropolitan area. As a result, Denver became the major center for banking, insurance, and corporate headquarters in the Rocky Mountain States.
Some of the famous or important people of Colorado are Lon Chaney, film actor from 1923 to 1925. John Denver, folk singer, song writer and actor. Jack Dempsey, pro boxer, heavy weight champion from the 1920s. John Elway, pro football player for the Denver Broncos. Douglas Fairbanks, film actor and producer from the 1920s. Meyer Guggenheim, industrialist, philanthropist from the early 1880s. Willard Frank Libby, a chemist who won the 1960 Nobel Prize, and Zebulon Montgomery Pike, army officer and explorer from the early 1800s, he discovered and was named after Pikes Peak in Colorado.
Plants and Animals Native to Colorado
In the 1890s, the last of the herds of wild buffalo that once thundered over the grasslands of eastern Colorado were killed. But the high plains are still home to the pronghorn antelope and the jackrabbit. The lively, sociable rodent knows as the prairie dog still lives in some areas. Yellow sunflowers nod in the breeze, and great creamy-white flowers burst from the dagger-sharp leaves of yucca plants. Tumbleweeds, propelled by the wind, spreads its seeds as it rolls over the land. Although few trees occur naturally on the plain, cottonwoods grow along its rivers and streams.
Elk and bighorn sheep leap among the crags at higher elevations. The pika, a rabbit-like rodent that makes its home among the rocks above the timberline, dries heaps of grass to make hay for winter food. The wail of the coyote rings through the states canons and valleys.
Yellow pines, Douglas firs, and blue spruces keep the mountain slops green throughout the year. Just below the timberline, hardy bristlecone pines are gnarled by the constant winds. A favorite tree among Coloradans is the quaking aspen, or “quakie”. All it takes is a tiny breeze to cause the broad leaves of the aspen to quiver as if shaken by an unseen hand.
Natural Resources and Products
Colorados cash crops are corn, potatoes, dry beans, lettuce, spinach and cabbage.
Although about two-thirds of Colorados farm income is from beef cattle, today quite a few steers graze freely on the high plains.
Farmers try to protect the fragile land while they get its yearly rewards.
About one-third of Colorados mining income is generated by petroleum. Also oil wells operate chiefly in the northeastern part of Colorado. Colorado is a leading source of uranium. Colorado ranks third in the nation in the production of silver and fifth in gold output.
With more than forty-five hundred plants and factories, Colorado leads the nation in manufacturing.
Special Features About Colorado
The Rocky Mountains are a very neat place and an exiting place that offer spectacular views and some snow that give people a work out and also offer a lot of fun. Vail, Colorado has been the favorite retreat for such celebrities as astronaut and United States Senator John Glenn, Vice president Walter Mondale, and President Gerald Ford.
At Pikes Peak, on New Years Eve, a spectacular mountaintop fireworks display sets the skies ablaze. Another natural attraction in the areas is the Garden of the Gods, a 700 acre park studded with immense, red sand stone formations that are good for rock climbing.
One of the regions most amazing sights is the Great Sand Dunes National Monument; a landscape of shifting duns that sometimes stand as high as 1,200 feet.
In 1947, Chicago businessman, Joseph Pepcke saw potential in the decaying mining town of Aspen and began transforming it into one of the most glamorous resorts in Colorado.
The State Capitol in Denver was modeled after the national capitol in Washington, D.C., and features a gold-plated dome. As befits the “Mile High City”, the thirteenth step to the entrance of the building is exactly 1 mile (1.6 km.) above sea level.
Anasazi Bean Dip and Corny Tortillas
Anasazi Bean Dip
What you need:
2 cans pinto beans
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 cup sour cream
1 cup salsa
*Note: The Anasazi didnt have sour cream, but we added it to make your dip extra tasty.
What you do:
1. Drain the liquid from the beans. Put beans in food processor or blender and puree them for 3 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients except for sour cream and salsa. Puree until the mixture is well blended.
2. Pour mixture into a medium bowl and mix in sour cream and salsa. Stir thoroughly.
3. Pour dip into bowl and serve with whole, warm Anasazi corn tortillas or baked corn tortilla chips.
What you need:
2 cups cornmeal (Masa Harina works best)
1 cups warm water
What you do:
1. In a medium bowl, mix together cornmeal, water, and salt until dough isnt sticky. (If its too sticky, add more cornmeal; if its too dry, add more water.)
2. Form dough into golf-ball-sized balls and pat with your hands to form paper-thin, 6-inch rounds. Place tortilla on hot, lightly oiled griddle and cook until brown. (Your tortilla isnt crispy yet, but you can still eat it. Spoon some dip on it and then roll the tortilla up to eat it!)
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
4. Place the cooked tortillas on a cookie sheet and brush each one with oil. Then cut them into strips with a pizza cutter.
5. Bake for about 5-10 minutes or until crispy.
6. Once the chips have cooled a bit, dip them into the Anasazi bean dip and enjoy!
America The Beautiful – Colorado, by Deborah Kent, Childrens Press Chicago, 1992
Illustrated World Encyclopedia, 1967