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A Timeline of Major Events in Colorado History: Part 2

Updated: Aug 3, 2022

As Colorado grew, more and more events along the timeline shaped what the state would become. From becoming a state to an earth-shattering earthquake, the first part of the history timeline was intense - but it was only getting started.

1893: The Denver Depression

In 1893 the country suffered a crippling financial crisis, but what Colorado felt in this was given its own term - the Denver Depression. The severe droughts and costly winters seen across the state put the agricultural industry in turmoil. What pushed Colorado over the edge was the drop in the cost of silver, bringing about not only economical but severe physical depression across the region.

November 7, 1893: A Referendum Allows Women in Colorado to Vote for the First Time

In the fall of 1893, Coloradans voted to give women within the state the right to vote for the first time, with a 55% margin on the vote. Credit for this feat can be given to a coalition of organizations, churches, political parties, charity groups, unions, and farmer’s alliances called the Colorado Non-Partisan Equal Suffrage Association. The following year, Clara Cressingham, Carrie Clyde Holly, and Francis Klock were elected to Colorado’s House of Representatives and became the first women in America’s history to be elected to a legislative body.

January 29, 1906: The Western Livestock Show Opens in Denver

Today, the Western Livestock Show is known as the National Western Stock Show, and it was established in 1906 to teach farmers and ranchers breeding and feeding techniques. The event expanded in 1908 to include animals from around the world. Today, this is considered the largest stock show in the world and is an institution crucial for preserving Colorado’s western character and heritage it is best known for.

April 20, 1914: The Ludlow Massacre

Exactly 85 years (to the day) before Colorado suffered through the horrors of Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, another massacre of mass proportion took place - the Ludlow Massacre. Miners had been on strike from September 1913 until December 1914, citing the dangerous situations they were being forced to work in without pay and the unfairness of living in the mining communities. The miners began speaking out against the companies and sparked what is known as the Colorado Coal Wars. Tensions reached their peak on April 20, 1914, when four militiamen fired machine guns into the coal mining town of Ludlow, killing men, women, and children in the process. That same night, the National Guard set fire to the camp, shooting and killing residents trying to escape the wrath. Colorado and the world were stunned by the violence that took place in Ludlow; Congress responded by instituting national child labor laws and 8-hour work days.

January 26, 1915: Rocky Mountain National Park Created

In the 1900s, a movement was started to preserve natural spaces in America, which gained traction thanks to Theodore Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, and John Muir. The idea to convert the mountain region outside of Estes Park into a national park was introduced by Coloradan and nature enthusiast Enos Mills in 1909. Mills' dream would come true in 1915 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Rocky Mountain National Park Act establishing the area as a national park.

June 3, 1921: Pueblo Devastated by Flooding

In the late spring of 1921, the city of Pueblo in southern Colorado was devastated by a flood - one that covered over 300 square miles and took the lives of approximately 1,500 Pueblo residents. According to reports, the city’s location where the Arkansas River meets Fountain Creek became inundated with water, washing away 600 homes and putting the city’s business district under 10 feet of water in less than 2 hours.

Past Events Shaping Colorado Futures

There are several events, even after 1921, that have shaped Colorado. From the Beatles performing at Red Rock to the population skyrocketing in the 1970s, it is hard to pick just one or two events that shaped the entire state. Despite feeling the effects of a great depression to flooding that devasted an entire town - Coloradans have worked hard to learn from the past to continue shaping their vibrant futures.

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