Denver Mining Boom

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A town born in a mining boom at Pikes Peak in 1858, Denver was to become an unlikely thriving metropolis by the end of the nineteenth century. What now is the capital and largest city in Colorado had the humblest of origins. General William Larimer, a land speculator from eastern Kansas, hadn’t the slightest idea of the chain reaction he put into motion when he discovered gold along the South Platte River. The Pikes Peak Gold Rush brought thousands to Colorado for instant riches. Although, scattered camps of miners settled throughout the Rockies and did not congregate in a high concentration in any particular area. Between 1860 and 1870, the town gained only 10 additional residents. The U. S. Census of 1870 counted 4,759 Denver residents, not…show more content…
As governor William Gilpin was an internationally recognized futurist, who was able to envision enormous potential for Colorado. Gilpin’s vision of a world connected by railroads with Denver became his natural focus and he conveyed that vision to Secretary of State, William Steward. The Union Pacific decided that a route through Wyoming would be much faster and cheaper to build. Cruelly, the transcontinental railroad bypassed "The Queen City of the Mountains and Plains" in favor of Cheyenne and the gentler hills of Wyoming. Denver’s rail hopes remained dim until President Abraham Lincoln appointed John Evans to replace William Gilpin as territorial governor in 1862. Under the direction of Evans Denver was able to raise five hundred thousand dollars for the grading, bridging, and tie laying of railroad to be built from Denver to the Union Pacific line in Cheyenne. On June 17, 1870, the Denver Pacific was, “in plain sight … from the roof of the News Block” in downtown Denver. Soon after On August 15, 1870, the line running parallel to the Union Pacific, Kansas Pacific rolled into town. It seemed Denver now had two railroads to deliver the mass amount of resources…show more content…
The population exploded at this point like it never had before. From 4,759 in 1870 as the railroads were putting up their last spikes to 35,689 in 1880. This allowed for Denver to the three prerequisites for a “Jacksonian dream of a commercial empire in the heart of the continent.” Denver now had control of trade routes in its geographic region, a flourishing commerce system, and a number of viable natural resources to tap into. In the 1870’s Denver had railroads protruding out in every direction, securing its position further. The Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad brought the railroad to the front doorstep of mines in the mountains allowing for resources to flow without the cumbersome stagecoach presents. Under the guidance of their young and personable president William Jackson Palmer the Denver and Rio Grande was able to painstakingly move their small gauge tracks from one mining camp to another in the Rockies. Not to leave any commercial outlet untapped there were lines set forth by John Evans in 1881 to bring rail to the Gulf of Mexico from Denver that only made it as far as Fort Worth Texas in 1888. All of the railroads combined to make Denver into the center of commerce in the

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