This past week, I flew to Denver for a work conference. I had never been to the Mile High City before, so I was eager to learn more about it’s illustrious history. Here are some fun facts I learned:
- Denver is one of the few cities in history that was not built on a road, railroad, lake, navigable river, or body of water when it was founded. It just happened to be where the first few flakes of gold were found in 1858.
- The first permanent structure in Denver was a saloon.
- Both Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull have dined at Denver’s Buckhorn Exchange, a restaurant that’s still one of the most popular in the city.
- Buffalo Bill’s Grave is situated just outside Denver.
- Local boosters named the frontier mining camp on the South Platte River “Denver City” after Kansas Territorial Governor James Denver in hopes of gaining political favor. Unfortunately, Denver had retired by the time they named the town.
- There were originally three separate towns, with three separate names, where Denver now stands. In 1859, the other names were dropped in return for a barrel of whiskey to be shared by all.
- Denver is known as the Mile High City because the 13th step of the state capital building in Denver is exactly one mile above sea level.
(The above facts were taken from this website.)
- The name “Denver City” became simply “Denver” in 1865 when it became the Territorial capital.
One of the few historic buildings I did recognize while downtown was the classic Brown Palace Hotel. I did not have the chance to walk through it, though I would have loved to. But here are some more fascinating tidbits about it’s historic significance:
- The Brown Palace Hotel opened its doors in the heart of downtown Denver on August 12, 1892. The hotel has remained open and welcomed guests every minute of every day since opening.
- Every U.S. president has visited The Brown Palace since Teddy Roosevelt (1905), with the exception of Calvin Coolidge.
- Except for crackers and sandwich bread, the hotel prepares all of its own baked goods in a unique, carousel oven – catalogued at more than 65 years old. The oven is one of only three in the world known to be in existence and is still used every day.
- President Eisenhower hit a wayward golf ball while practicing in the room and made a dent in the fireplace mantel in the Eisenhower Suite. It remains today in a shadowbox as a souvenir.
(For more fun facts about the historic Brown Palace Hotel, visit their website here.)
What is the most interesting fact or souvenir you’ve picked up while on a trip?
Have you ever been to Denver?