This week, the story that caught my eye was not about nature or food or even llamas but about architecture and history: specifically, the Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver. Radio station KUNC took a tour with guide Ellen Stanton, and I loved hearing stories about the 1,700-pound chandelier, the hidden faces in the walls, and the missing portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Tours are free — I’ll have to take my tiny human before long!
The KUNC story inspired me to dig deeper. Here are a few more points of interest that I unearthed about the Colorado State Capitol:
- “The official elevation of Denver is measured on the West steps outside the building, where the fifteenth step is engraved with the words ‘One Mile Above Sea Level'”
- The Capitol’s dome was not always the stunning gold it is today; the gold was added to commemorate the Colorado Gold Rush of the mid-1800s
- The dome’s beautiful golden color comes from “copper panels that are gilded with gold leaf from a Colorado mine“
- Following a restoration project in 2012, the dome was re-covered in gold, a project requiring “approximately 65 ounces of .9999 pure gold … at the time of donation, the estimated value of the gold, refining and transportation was $125,000”
- The Capitol is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
- “The inside of the building is adorned with what is believed to be the entire known supply of Colorado Rose Onyx, a rare rose marble from a quarry near Beulah, Colorado”
- The grounds of the Capitol display one of 53 full-sized replicas of the Liberty Bell — each state and the District of Columbia received a bell, and the other two bells have been lost
- You can request a ceremonial Colorado or U.S. flag be flown over the Capitol! The flag is later mailed to you with a certificate of authenticity
I love that you can learn so much about a building, a neighborhood or a city without ever leaving home! What would you like to learn about Colorado?
Today I stumbled on a link I had to share with you: the Cache le Poudre River National Heritage Area video archive. If you are curious about the cities along the Poudre River (specifically Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor and Greeley), these 30+ videos create a wonderful way to learn about the area without ever leaving home.
History buffs: The Poudre NHA has created many videos looking back on the heritage of the river; try The Poudre River Flood of 2013 or A River Runs Through It. The NHA also offers a great series of conversations with Northern Arapaho leaders such as Mark Soldier Wolf.
My personal favorite: The animated history of the National Heritage Area. What can I say—it’s adorable!
You would never buy a home without driving around the neighborhood first, right? Perhaps you should explore the area by bicycle as well!
Not sure where to begin? In Northern Colorado there is no shortage of fun clubs and group rides. However, I recommend looking into Pedaling the Poudre tours through the Poudre Heritage Alliance. These tours are less concerned with cardio and more focused on education and exploration along various stretches of the Cache le Poudre River. The guides are friendly and knowledgeable, their tours stick to paved trails, and the fees for the tour support the work that the PHA is doing to share the history and culture of the river corridor. PHA regularly offers tours in Larimer County (Fort Collins) and Weld County (Windsor, Greeley).
Prefer to move at your own pace? Strike out on your own with PHA’s self-guided tours instead. Stretch your legs, get some sun, and fall in love with a beautiful, scenic area!