August 1st, 2019
Colorado State Flag

Happy Birthday Colorado!  Today is August 1st and our state is 143 years old today.  
As a 50 year old Colorado company, we wanted to remind you what Colorado Day is and why we might want to celebrate it.
Here’s a short quiz, that appeared in the Denver Post a few years ago, about Colorado Day and some other points of Colorado history.
Colorado Day quiz By Ed Quillen
1) When is Colorado Day?
2) What is the oldest continuously operating business in Colorado?
3) Where is the most senior water right in Colorado?
4) When did the Colorado River start originating in Colorado?
5) Why is there a big “A” on a hillside west of Fort Collins?
6) Colorado is known as “the mother of rivers.” What’s the longest of her offspring?
7) In 1995, Ben Campbell switched from Democrat to Republican. But he was not the first U.S. senator from Colorado to change parties. Who was?
8) For whom did Coloradans vote in the 1876 presidential election?
9) What Continental Divide pass in Colorado was crossed by two railroad lines?
10) When did Colorado women get the right to vote?
1) President U.S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting Colorado as a state on Aug. 1, 1876, so Aug. 1 was a state holiday for many years. Then it was moved to the first Monday in August. It quit being an official holiday in 1985 when the state made Martin Luther King Jr. Day a holiday.  But it still proclaimed by the Colorado state government on the first Monday of August.
2) The R&R Supermarket in San Luis holds that title.
It opened in 1857 as a general store owned by Don Dario Gallegos.
3) Near the oldest business is the oldest water right, San Luis People’s Ditch No. 1, which began diverting water from Culebra Creek in 1852.
4) Until 1921, the Colorado River began at the junction of the Grand and Green rivers in Utah. That year, our legislature changed the name of the Grand to the Colorado. But the Grand lives on in place names like Grand County and Grand Junction. It would be simpler to discuss Western Slope water issues if we’d go back to calling it the Grand.
5) Colorado State University began as the Agricultural College of Colorado when authorized by the territorial legislature in 1870. Students were known as “Aggies,” and thus the A.
6) The Rio Grande, at 1,900 miles, is the longest. The Arkansas, 1,459, and the Colorado, 1,450 (90 of those miles in Mexico), come next.
7) Henry Moore Teller represented Colorado in the U.S. Senate as a Republican from 1876 to 1882. He resigned to serve as secretary of the Interior (he was the first Coloradan to hold a cabinet position) until 1885 when he returned to the Senate as a Republican. He was a “Silver Republican” when he started another term in 1897, and became a Democrat for his last term, which started in 1903.
8) Coloradans did not vote in the 1876 election; that year the General Assembly chose the state’s three presidential electors, who were Republicans and gave Rutherford B. Hayes his one-vote margin in the Electoral College. It was the only time, until 2000, that Colorado’s electoral votes made any difference in a presidential election.
9) The Denver & Rio Grande crossed Fremont Pass from 1881 to 1923, and the Denver South Park & Pacific line operated there from 1884 to 1937. A remnant of that line, from Leadville almost to Climax, operates summer excursions as the Leadville, Colorado & Southern.
10) As of statehood in 1876, Colorado women could vote in school elections, and there was a referendum on full suffrage. It failed. One passed in 1893. Colorado was the second state, after Wyoming, to grant full female suffrage, and the first to do so by popular vote. Don’t believe all those “Women couldn’t vote until 1920” statements you encounter.
And now you can celebrate Colorado Day, whenever it is.
Ed Quillen was a freelance writer, history buff, publisher of Colorado Central Magazine in Salida and frequent contributor to The Denver Post.
To learn more about Colorado History, you can visit the Colorado History Museum for free today!  
Other historical museums and sites around our state tomorrow with free admission today include the Byers-Evans House in Denver, El Pueblo History Museum in Pueblo, Fort Garland Museum in Fort Garland, Fort Vasquez Museum in Platteville, Healy House and Dexter Cabin in Leadville, Trinidad History Museum in Trinidad and the Ute Indian Museum in Montrose.
And we also wanted to remind you that as part of a Colorado Day tradition, all 41 of our Colorado State Parks have free entrance fees on the “official” Colorado Day next Monday, August 5, 2019).
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