Gone are the times of prospectors, petticoats, and horse drawn carriages. Nevermore will settlers, steam engines, and native peoples freely roam these lands. But the proof of their existence is all we need to feel nostalgic for the Pikes Peak Gold Rush and the good old days in the Mile High City. Our thriving metropolis sure has grown in leaps and bounds since it’s founding in 1858, and you’ll be blown away by these vintage photos from Denver (and beyond) that show it in a much different, less neon, light.
1. Gold Prospectors, 1858
Prospectors in the "Pikes Peak" region of the Rocky Mountains, which was the western Kansas Territory at the time and is now the state of Colorado.
2. "At Timber Line, Pikes Peak Trail," Date Unknown
Stereoscopic views of Pikes Peak, taken by photographer Alexander Martin, (d. 1929).
3. Painting of Denver, 1859
Denver was founded as a mining settlement at the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River in 1858. It served as the eastern gateway to the Rockies and expanded rapidly to become the Territorial Capital in 1867 and the official state capital in 1881.
4. Ouray and Chipeta, Late 1800s
The Ute and other Indian tribes inhabited the surrounding areas before white settlers arrived. Pictured is the Ute leader, Ouray, some time between 1865 and 1880.
5. Panorama of Denver, 1898
This panoramic image was taken from the Colorado State Capitol Building, looking northwest down 16th Street.
6. Tabor Grand Opera House, Between 1865 and 1900
Stereoscopic view of the Tabor Opera House, taken by photographer Charles Weitfle, (1836-1921).
7. Bank Building, Early 1900s
An image of the Bank Building with nearly deserted streets and charming horse-drawn carriages in the early 1900s.
8. Denver, 1907
A bird's-eye view of the city from South Broadway, showing the bygone neighborhoods of Harlem and Jacksons Broadway Heights.
9. Welcome Arch, 1910
Denver’s famed Welcome Arch (aka Mizpah Arch) was erected in front of Union Station and dedicated on July 4, 1906. However, after being deemed a traffic hazard, it was removed on December 7, 1931.
10. Denver Zephyr, 1930s
The Burlington Pioneer Zephyr "Dawn to Dusk Club" made its intial 1934 record breaking trip from Denver to Chicago. Here the group was gathered at Chicago's Union Station to mark the first trip of the Denver Zephyr for regular service between the two cities. (The photo was published on June 1, 1936, by the Chicago Tribune).
11. Denver Ice and Cold Storage Company, 1936
Ice crusher and slinger mounted on an old Ford Model T Truck (TT) from the 1920s.
12. City of Denver Streamlined Locomotive, 1940
13. 16th Street, 1945
The 16th Street (Mall) and the Daniels & Fisher Tower look quite different these days.
14. Original D&RG Silver Vista, 1947
The Denver and Rio Grande's glass-topped observation car the "Silver Vista" was built as a tourist attraction in 1947, but sadly, it was destroyed by a fire in 1953.
15. East Colfax, 1972
Photographer Bruce McAllister captured this shot of East Colfax in 1972, with the Colorado State Capitol and the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in the background.
16. Old Denver Postcard, 1979
My, oh my, how things have changed!
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