The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Colorado (territory)

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The American Cyclopædia
Colorado (territory)
Edition of 1879. Written by J. W. HawesSee also Colorado Territory on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

COLORADO, a territory of the United States, bounded N. by Wyoming territory and Nebraska, E. by Nebraska and Kansas, S. by the Indian territory and New Mexico, and W. by Utah. It is situated between lat. 37° and 41° N., and lon. 102° and 109° W., forming nearly a parallelogram; average length E. and W., 380 m.; breadth N. and S., 280 m.; area, 104,500 sq. m. It is divided into 21 counties: Arapahoe, Bent, Boulder, Clear Creek, Conejos, Costilla, Douglas, El Paso, Fremont, Gilpin, Greenwood, Huerfano, Jefferson, Lake, Larimer, Las Animas, Park, Pueblo, Saguache, Summit, and Weld. The principal cities and towns are: Denver, the capital and chief city, in Arapahoe co., pop. in 1870, 4,759; Central City, 2,360, and Black Hawk, 1,068, in Gilpin co.; and Georgetown, Pueblo, Golden City, Trinidad, Greeley, Kit Carson, Boulder City, Cañon City, and Colorado City, with populations less than 1,000. According to the United States census, the population in 1860 was 34,277; in 1870, 39,864, which included 456 colored persons, 7 Chinese, and 180 Indians. The tribal Indians of Colorado are the Tabequache band of Utes, at the Los Pinos agency, numbering 3,000 in 1872, and the Yampa, Grand River, and Uintah bands of the White River agency, numbering 800. They have a reservation of 14,784,000 acres, extending from the S. boundary of the territory to 15 m. N. of the 40th parallel, and from the 107th meridian to the W. boundary. The White River agency, on the river of that name, is in the N. part of the reservation; the Los Pinos agency is in the S. E. part. These agencies are under the charge of the Unitarians. At the White River agency there is a school attended by 40 scholars. These Indians receive annuities in goods', clothing, &c., of $40,000, and a like sum in subsistence. There are also a few Indians roaming in the E. part of the territory. Colorado ranks fourth among the territories in point of population. The number of male citizens of the United States in 1870, 21 years old and over, was 15,515. Of the total population, 24,820 were males and 15,044 females; and 33,265 were native and 6,599 foreign born. Of the natives, 6,344 were born in the territory, 8,378 in New Mexico, 1,812 in Illinois, 809 in Indiana, 1,310 in Iowa, 1,704 in Missouri, 621 in Massachusetts, 2,778 in New York, 2,057 in Ohio, and 1,552 in Pennsylvania; of the foreigners, 1,685 were born in Ireland, 1,456 in Germany, 1,358 in England, and 753 in British America; and 1,235 persons born in the territory were living in other states and territories. The number of families was 9,358; of dwellings, 10,009. There were 6,297 persons 10 years old and upward unable to read; 6,823 were unable to write, of whom 255 were foreigners, and 2,368 were males and 2,122 females 21 years old and over. There were 26 blind persons, 4 deaf and dumb, 12 insane, and 3 idiotic. The homicides during the year were 37, 4 of which were by Indians. There were 6,462 engaged in agriculture, 3,625 in professional and personal services, 4,681 in manufactures and mechanical and mining industries, and 2,815 in trade and transportation. — Colorado has three natural divisions: the mountain range, including the park system, the foot hills, and the plains. The territory is intersected N. and S. near the centre by the Rocky mountains, which here attain their greatest elevation, 200 peaks nearly 13,000 ft. high and about 25 of 14,000 ft. and over being visible from Mt. Lincoln. Between lat. 38° 30' and 40° 30' the chain is about 120 m. broad, consisting of three parallel ranges running nearly N. N. W. The E. one, called the Front or Colorado range, as seen from Denver, appears to rise abruptly from the plain, stretching with snow-capped summits from Pike's peak on the south to a group 20 m. N. of Long's peak, a distance of 120 m. Six of its peaks are from 14,000 to 14,200 ft. above the sea, viz.: Long's peak, Mt. Torrey, Gray's peak, Mt. Rosa, Mt. Evans, and Pike's peak. W. of this range lie the parks, separated from each other by comparatively low or broken cross ridges; and parallel with it and about 40 m. further W. is the Park range, forming the W. boundary of North, Middle, and South parks. Its highest points are in the Mt. Lincoln group, near the dividing ridge between South and Middle parks; 20 peaks exceed 13,000 ft. in height, and Mt. Lincoln and Quandary peak rise above 14,000 ft. The Blue River group lies 20 m. N., having many peaks of 13,000 ft., and the culminating points reaching 13,300 ft. The northernmost and highest summit is Mt. Powell, beyond which there are no high peaks to North park; opposite this an altitude of 12,000 ft. and over is attained. W. of the S. part of the Park range is the Arkansas valley, and beyond this is the National range, also called the Sawatch range or Sierra Madre, dividing through nearly its whole extent the waters of the Atlantic from those of the Pacific. It is parallel with and about 16 m. W. of the Park range, terminating some 40 m. N. W. of Mt. Lincoln in the mount of the Holy Cross, about 13,400 ft. high. The highest part of this range commences in Grand mountain, about 14,200 ft. above the sea, 20 m. S. of the Holy Cross, whence for 50 m. further S. the whole range is 13,000 ft. high, with 10 peaks rising at intervals of from 5 to 8 m. to a height of from 14,000 to 14,400 ft. The principal summits are Mts. Elbert, La Plata, Harvard, and Yale. W. of the National range and connected with it are the Elk mountains, lying between the Grand river on the north and the Gunnison on the south. The most elevated peaks form a ridge about 30 m. long, nearly parallel with the National range and 35 m. W. of it. At the N. end of this ridge, in lat. 39° 15', is Mt. Sopris, 13,000 ft. high, S. of which are the Capitol (14,100 ft.), the White House (14,050 ft.), and Maroon mountain and Castle peak, each 14,000 ft. high. W. of this group there are no high mountains, the ridges changing within 20 m. to plateaus, which fall off to the Colorado river. The “timber line” of the ranges, the highest point at which timber grows, is determined by the lying snow, and varies from 11,000 to 12,000 ft. On the E. side of the mountains and parallel thereto, extending from the Black hills on the north to the Wet mountains on the south, are the foot hills, having an average elevation of 8,000 ft. The Wet mountains branch out from the main range S. of Pike's peak, and extend in a S. E. direction to the Huerfano river. Between the Huerfano and Purgatory rivers are the Spanish peaks, an independent series of mountain cones. The Raton mountains, running in an E. direction from the main range, form the S. base of Colorado. W. of the main range, in the S. portion of the territory, the Sierra San Juan extends nearly N. and S., forming the W. wall of San Luis park. The Rio Grande forms the N. and E. limit of this range. The Sierra la Plata, also S. of the Rio Grande, extends W. from the San Juan range to the S. W. boundary. The S. W. portion of Colorado is traversed by the Uncompahgre mountains, extending W. from the Sawatch range, and forming the divide between the Rio Grande and the principal southern tributaries of the Colorado. The Sierra San Miguel forms the extreme S. W. portion of the series of ranges extending W. from the main range in southern Colorado. The Roan or Book mountains are near the W. limits of the N. portion of the territory, between the White and Grand rivers. The N. W. corner is occupied by the Sierra Escalante. The “plains” constitute the geographical division of Colorado E. of the mountain belt, and embrace more than one third of the entire territory. The surface of this section is not one continuous level, but a series of valleys separated by ridges and traversed by innumerable watercourses. The average elevation above tide water is about 6,000 ft. The most prominent feature of this vast plateau is the “divide,” an elevation reaching a height of 7,500 ft. above the sea level, which separates the waters of the South Platte and Arkansas, and supplies many of their affluents. It branches out from the foot hills N. of Pike's peak, and gradually slopes N., S., and E. into the general level of the plains. The numerous swift streams, having their sources in elevated regions and flowing in various directions, render irrigation practicable, except in the E. central portion of the plains, where the streams are too remote. — The most remarkable physical characteristic of Colorado is its park system. The parks consist of extensive irregular plateaus or basins shut in on all sides by lofty mountain ranges. The surface of these plateaus is diversified by numerous hills or ridges and valleys, containing streams which form the head waters of all the great rivers that rise in Colorado. These valleys are clothed with luxuriant grasses and flowering plants of various species, and possess an extremely fertile soil. The hills are covered with dense forests of pine, abounding in game, such as the bear, elk, and deer. The beds of the streams furnish many varieties of minerals and fossils, and afford a remarkable field for geological investigations. Mineral springs, with waters possessing rare medicinal properties, are numerous, while salt and coal beds seem to underlie the entire surface. The four principal parks are in the central portion of the territory, and constitute the greatest part of a belt running N. and S. between lon. 105° 30' and 106° 30' W. The most northerly is North park, which embraces an area of about 2,500 sq. m., and has an elevation of nearly 9,000 ft. above the level of the sea. It is traversed by affluents of the north fork of the Platte, which unite near its N. limits, and flow N. beyond the borders of Colorado. Next to this, on the south, and separated from it by mountain spurs, is Middle park, walled in by the Front range of the Rocky mountains on the E., and on the W. by the Park mountains. It embraces an area of about 3,000 sq. m., extending about 65 m. N. and S. and 45 m. E. and W., and is also about 9,000 ft. high. The streams, most of which flow in a S. W. direction, are all tributaries of the Grand. On a tributary of this river, about 12 m. from the S. boundary of the park, are the hot sulphur springs, whose valuable medicinal qualities have attracted the attention of invalids and tourists. S. of Middle park, on the E. side of the Park range, is South park, embracing within its rocky barriers about 2,200 sq. m., the greater portion of which is adapted to agriculture, and nearly all of which affords excellent pasture lands. The maximum elevation above the sea is 10,000 ft., while the average elevation is about 9,000 ft. The streams, which are supplied by melting snows from the surrounding mountains, are tributaries of the South Platte, and flow E. through the park to the plains. The largest of these parks is San Luis, which has an area not less than that of the other three combined. It lies S. of South park, from which it is separated by the main range, which forms its N. and E. boundary, while its W. boundary is formed by the Sierra San Juan. Its highest elevation does not exceed 7,000 ft., which, with its southern location and mild climate, makes it well adapted to agriculture. The park is watered by the Rio Grande and its numerous tributaries, which flow in a southerly direction, and afford abundant water power. Other smaller parks, presenting similar features, are scattered through the mountains W. of the main range. Of this vast region little is known. — The river system of Colorado embraces the principal tributaries of the Rio Colorado, Rio Grande, Arkansas, Platte, and Smoky Hill and Republican forks of the Kansas. The Arkansas rises at the base of Mt. Lincoln, on the W. slope of the Rocky mountains, flows S. E. along the base of the range, W. and S. W. of South park, and, in a deep cañon, passes through the range at Cañon City, whence it continues across the plains in a S. E. direction. It traverses in Colorado a distance of about 500 m., no part of which is navigable. Its principal tributaries on the south are: the Greenhorn, which rises in the Wet mountains, flows N. E., and joins the main river a few miles E. of Pueblo; the Huerfano and its branch, the Cuchara, which unite about 18 m. from the Arkansas; the Apisha, which rises in the Spanish peaks, and flows into the Arkansas about midway between Pueblo and Fort Lyon; the Purgatory, which rises from the S. and W. declivities of the Spanish peaks and the N. slopes of the Raton mountains, and flows in an E. and N. E. direction; and the Cimarron, which rises on the S. slope of the Raton mountains, flows E. to the S. E. corner of the territory, and reaches the Arkansas in the Indian territory. The principal northern tributaries of the Arkansas are Fontaine qui Bout, which flows in a S. direction from the N. base of Pike's peak, near the foot of South park, joining the main river at Pueblo; Squirrel creek, the Little Sandy, and Big Sandy, flowing S. E. from the divide to the Arkansas. N. of the divide, the E. slopes of the mountains are drained by the South Platte and its tributaries. This river rises near the foot of Mt. Lincoln, in the N. W. corner of South park; it flows in a S. E. direction, receiving numerous smaller streams from the surrounding ranges and spurs, and leaves the park about 70 m. N. of the base of Pike's peak. After passing through the foot hills, it pursues a N. course for over 100 m. to the junction with its branch, the Cache à la Poudre, whence it flows E. and N. E. until it leaves the territory at its N. E. corner. The principal tributaries of the South Platte from the mountains have an E. direction, and join the main river before its confluence with the Cache à la Poudre, which also rises in the mountains N. of Long's peak. Beginning from the south, they are: the North fork of the South Platte; Clear creek, which, rising near the base of Gray's peak, flows through Clear Creek and Gilpin counties; St. Vrain, and Big Thompson. Flowing into the South Platte from the divide are Plum, Cherry, Terrapin, Kiowa, Bijou, and Beaver creeks. From the N. limits of the territory, flowing in a S. direction into the South Platte, are the Crow, Pawnee, and Horse Tail creeks. The Smoky Hill and Republican forks of the Kansas rise in the E. central portion of the plains, and pursue an E. direction to the limits of Colorado. The region W. of the main range, and N. of the Uncompahgre mountains, is drained by the tributaries of the Rio Colorado and the head waters of the North fork of the Platte; the latter are in the North park and surrounding mountains and flow northward. The principal northern tributaries of the Colorado are Bear river, flowing W., which has numerous branches rising in Elk Head, Rabbit Ears, and Escalante mountains; White river, which rises in the N. W. part of the territory, and flows W. until it empties into the Green, a tributary of the Colorado in the N. E. part of Utah; and Grand river, which rises near the base of Mt. Lincoln, and, receiving numerous tributaries from Middle park and the surrounding mountains, flows W. to its confluence with the Gunnison (also called the South fork of the Grand), near the W. central border of Colorado; its course is exceedingly tortuous, winding around mountain bases, and forming cañons of unknown depth in the rocky barriers. The Gunnison rises in the Sawatch and Uncompahgre mountains, and pursues a N. W. course, through a continuous series of mountain chasms, to its confluence with the Grand; it has numerous tributaries. The Rio San Miguel and the Dolores rise in the San Miguel and La Plata mountains, flow N. W., and after uniting fall into the Grand. The Rio Grande rises in the S. W. part of the territory, E. of the Sierra La Plata, flows E. about 150 m., then bends abruptly, and pursues a S. course through the middle of the San Luis valley. Along the S. W. border of the territory are numerous streams which flow S. to the San Juan in New Mexico. On the plains many of the smaller tributaries of the Arkansas and the Platte disappear in the sands during the greater portion of the summer. — E. of the main range of mountains, a portion of the country N. of the divide has been to some extent geologically examined. Denver is situated on the tertiary rocks which contain the coal beds of the west. The rocks here are thickly covered with superficial drift. Passing S. up the valley of the South Platte, the tertiary sandstones are occasionally exposed in the banks of the river. About 12 m. S. W. of Denver are some remarkable soda lakes, resting on middle cretaceous rocks. From these lakes to the great divide the cretaceous and tertiary beds are concealed by superficial gravel and sand. On each side of the divide, beds of whitish-yellow and reddish sandstones appear, holding a nearly horizontal position. In the N. part of Colorado, near the E. base of the mountains, beds of tertiary coal have been found. The main range of mountains, particularly the gold and silver lodes, is composed of gneissic and granitic rocks. In the mountain valleys are immense deposits of modern drift. Bowlder drift is conspicuous in the mountains that wall in South park on the N. and N. W., while along the W. and N. sides appear lofty eruptive peaks, which seem to be old volcanoes. The mountains E. of the park have a gneissic and granitic nucleus. Within the park sedimentary rocks are found, and there are also salt springs and deposits of gypsum. The portion of Colorado W. of the main range of mountains forms part of the great volcanic basin which stretches S. into New Mexico, and N. W. into Utah and Idaho territories. In this region are many extinct volcanoes. The lava rocks which abound are not usually metalliferous, though they contain much mineral glass (obsidian). During the process of liquefaction which these rocks have undergone, vast areas, which now resemble lakes of black solidified sea water, have in some instances been submerged by the liquid overflowing from fissures hundreds of miles in length. The technical name of this formation is pedrigal, while the rocks are called malpais. The Rio Grande, from its source to beyond the limits of Colorado, flows through a pedrigal of extraordinary dimensions. In Middle park all the sedimentary rocks known in the country are found. Carboniferous beds are probably wanting, but the triassic, Jurassic, cretaceous, and tertiary are well developed. There are two groups of tertiary deposits: the lignite, or older tertiary, and the modern pliocene marls and sands. Grand river, just above the hot springs, passes through a high ridge of basalt, which has the lignite tertiary beds above and the cretaceous shales beneath. The tertiary rocks are of great thickness, and are composed mostly of fine sandstone and pudding stone. At the Grand cañon, just below the hot springs, the river cuts through a ridge of massive feldspathic granite for a distance of 3 m. between high walls. — Vast deposits of useful minerals of almost every kind occur in nearly every portion of Colorado. The most important of these are gold and silver, which are found in large quantities in a belt about 50 m. wide stretching N. and S. across the central portion of the territory. Gold occurs in lodes, or fissure veins, having a N. E. and S. W. direction, and in gulches or in placers; the latter being superficial deposits which have been washed from mountain summits and slopes to the plateaus, gulches, and valleys below. The veins occur in groups, often presenting the most complicated network on the surface. These groups are usually one or two miles in width and two or three in length, and there may be two or three distinct groups abreast of each other. The principal gold-bearing minerals are copper and iron pyrites. These mostly occur together; the latter, however, nearly always predominates, and is often found without the former. When both are present, the copper pyrites is always the richer in gold. These ores assay in bulk from $30 to $40 per ton. About 70 per cent. of the gold bullion is extracted from the ores of Gilpin, Clear Creek, Boulder, Park, and Lake counties, 50 per cent. or more being furnished by Gilpin county, the bullion shipped from which for the year ending July 1, 1870, amounted to $1,378,100. The deposits at the branch mint at Denver for the year ending June 30, 1872, amounted to $1,001,564 81, of which $16,336 54 were silver. The total deposits of gold which had been made at this office up to June 30, 1872, amounted to $5,552,371 69, of which $4,985,754 67 were the product of Colorado. According to official mint returns, the deposits of gold from Colorado at the United States mint, branches, and assay offices, up to June 30, 1872, have been as follows:

 YEARS.  Value.


1859 $4,171 70 
1860 599,846 30 
1861 2,091,197 17 
1862 2,035,416 50 
1863 2,893,336 87 
1864 2,136,684 69 
1865 1,622,249 45 
1866 1,018,052 52 
1867 $1,026,276 83 
1868 1,081,040 16 
1869 1,652,492 21 
1870 1,551,102 81 
1871 1,495,035 66 
1872 1,176,518 09 

 Total    $20,338,420 96 

Reckoning the deposits at one third of the total product of the mines, the total yield of gold for the territory to June 30, 1872, was more than $60,000,000. For the extraction of the gold, the common stamp-mill process, with amalgamation in battery and upon copper plates, is now almost exclusively employed, although it is generally admitted that only a portion of the precious metals is secured in this way. According to the best statistics attainable, which are somewhat imperfect, the number of stamp mills in Colorado in 1870 was 105, with more than 1,800 stamps. Of these mills, 94 for the reduction of gold, with 1,607 stamps, of which 857 were in operation, were in Gilpin county, and the remainder in Clear Creek, Boulder, Park, and Lake counties; and 4 for the reduction of silver, with 70 stamps, in Clear Creek county, and 2 for the reduction of gold and silver in the same county. Although the discovery of silver in Colorado dates as far back as that of gold, it is only within a few years that rich deposits of this metal have been known to exist in the lodes of the mining counties. The silver ores have been divided into surface and galena ores. The former generally contain, besides more or less zinc blende, a little decomposed galena and sulphuret of silver; and very often the zinc blende is also decomposed. With increasing depth the amount of galena and zinc blende gradually increases, until at a depth not exceeding 100 ft. they decidedly predominate. The principal silver-producing county is Clear Creek. The actual development of the prominent silver lodes was begun in 1867; the whole amount of ore mined up to April 1, 1869, is estimated at 1,100 tons, which yielded $250,000 in coin. The production of silver ore in Clear Creek county amounts to about 2,000 tons per annum. The estimated yield of silver, including shipments of ore, during 1870, was about $400,000. The deposits of silver from Colorado at the United States mint, branches, and assay offices, to June 30, 1872, have been:

 YEARS.  Value.


1866 $419 00 
1867 543 78 
1868 46,881 13 
1869 197,678 54 
1870 236,689 49 
1871 $367,510 31 
1872 264,821 18 

 Total    $1,114,543 43 

The following statement made by E. E. Burlingame, Feb. 17, 1871, shows the coin value per ton of 2,000 lbs. of specimens of ore from different districts of Gilpin and Clear Creek counties:

SAMPLES. Gold. Silver. Total.




Gilpin. \scriptstyle{

\left\{

\begin{matrix}
\ \\ \\\ \\\ \\\ \ 
\end{matrix}

\right. } 35, of smelting ore, 1st class.
32, of smelting ore, 1st class.
23, of smelting ore, 1st class.
72, of mill ore, 2d class.
56, of mill ore, 2d class.
59, of mill ore, 2d class.
Clear C'k. \scriptstyle{

\left\{

\begin{matrix}
\ \\ \\\ \ 
\end{matrix}

\right. } 13, of smelting ore, 1st class. 
22, of smelting ore, 1st class.
39, of mill ore, 2d class.
34, of mill ore, 2d class.
 $138 92   $30 32   $169 24 
90 30  37 62  127 92 
50 28  61 90  112 18 
24 10  11 37  35 47 
22 51  12 85  85 26 
20 07  17 14  37 21 
18 44   228 90   247 34 
.....  409 81  409 81 
7 82  35 97  43 79 
.....  86 31  86 31 

Iron pyrites is universal in the mines, occurring in cubes from the size of a pin's head to an inch on the sides. Copper, almost always in the form of pyrites, occurs in the prominent lodes in considerable quantities; the first class ores of some of the mines contain from 10 to 15 per cent. of it. Besides copper and iron pyrites, almost every lode contains a little zinc blende and galena; in some districts these minerals form a considerable part of the ore. Large beds of lignite, pronounced superior to any other found in the west, occur on the E. declivity of the mountains, in Boulder and Jefferson counties. The coal obtained resembles anthracite in appearance, but burns with a strong yellowish white flame, gives little soot, and from 2 to 3 per cent. of ashes of a reddish yellow color. It has been found in veins 14 ft. thick, of which 13 ft. are workable coal. The value of these beds of lignite is greatly enhanced by the simultaneous occurrence of fire clay and iron ore. The former, found in layers from 3 to 5 ft. thick between the different strata of coal, is of a grayish blue color, burns almost white, and compares favorably with the standard clays of Europe. Lignite is also found in the vicinity of the Raton mountains near Trinidad, and in the Arkansas valley E. of Cañon City. The iron ore occurs, scattered over the surface, all the way from South Boulder to Coal creek. At a depth not exceeding 5 ft. masses of 1,000 lbs. have been found in the sand; and though no defined bed has yet been discovered, the great quantity of superficial bowlders indicates that such a deposit exists. The ore yields from 50 to 60 per cent. of iron. Salt springs occur in South park, where extensive works have been erected. Valuable soda springs exist near the base of Pike's peak, and in other portions of Colorado. Hot sulphur springs, possessing valuable medicinal qualities, occur on a tributary of the Grand, in Middle park, about 12 m. from its S. boundary. — The climate of Colorado is remarkably equable and healthy. The winters are mild, and the summers cool and bracing. Hot, sultry nights are unknown. On the plains the temperature averages from 50° to 55°. At Denver during 1870 the mean temperature for each month and the amount of rain and melted snow were as follows:

MONTHS. TEMPERATURE. Rain and
 melted snow, 
inches.

 Max.   Min.   Mean. 





January 60°  5°  29.4°  1.15 
February 64   1   35.5   1.70 
March 67   -8   32.7   .70 
April 80   16   48.1   2.80 
May 86   40   56.1   .35 
June 94   48   68.2   .52 
July 98   53   74.2   .51 
August 97   45   64.8   .12 
September   89   40   60.1   2.85 
October 83   27   47.8   .68 
November 68   20   41.8   .54 
December 60    -18   23      .78 


 Year  48.5   12.65 

The average temperature for 1871 was 54.1°; rainfall, 12.35 inches. For 1872 the average temperature was 49.8°; rainfall, 18.77 inches. The average temperature of the foot hills is from 45° to 50°, and of the mountains from 40° to 45°. On the summits of the mountain ranges and in the higher parks the cold is often extreme; but in the mountain valleys arid foot hills the thermometer seldom falls below zero, and in midwinter there is much delightful weather. The greatest extremes of cold and the most severe storms occur in November and December. In the mountains the greatest fall of snow occurs in September, October, and April; except on and near the summits, where the fall is considerable, it does not remain long on the ground. On the plains, in the latitude of Denver, the fall of snow never exceeds 10 or 12 inches, and seldom remains longer than 24 hours. In the S. portion of the plains there is little snow, and the winters are very mild. There is no rainy season in Colorado. On the plains the rains generally fall in the spring and early summer, scarcely any falling in autumn or winter. In the mountains, rains are frequent in the summer and autumn, but rain storms of long duration are unknown. Heavy wind storms are common in all parts of the territory. The extreme rarity of cloudy weather and of mists and fogs is remarkable. The atmosphere is wonderfully clear and invigorating, and remarkably free from humidity. These characteristics of climate, together with the great altitude, 4,000 to 10,000 ft., and the beautiful scenery, have made Colorado a resort for persons afflicted with throat and lung diseases, who derive much benefit from a residence here. In 1870 there were 375 deaths, of which 32 occurred from consumption. — About one third of Colorado is good agricultural land. In the plains and the parks the soil of the valleys is peculiarly fertile, and produces in abundance the hardier cereals and vegetables. The arid sands of the plains have been proved to be merely surface deposits, covering a soil of remarkable fertility when moistened. The necessary moisture is supplied by irrigating canals, which have already been constructed to a great extent. The chief crops are wheat, barley, oats, and rye. The average yield of wheat is 25 bushels per acre. Except in the S. districts, the nights are rather cold for corn; but in the valleys of the Arkansas and tributaries 30 bushels per acre may be raised. Large crops of buckwheat and hay are produced; 500 bushels of potatoes have been obtained from a single acre. Vegetables grow to an enormous size. Apples, pears, plums, cherries, and grapes have been cultivated with great success; while it is not doubted that peaches, apricots, quinces, nectarines, &c., may be successfully raised. The grapes are of exquisite flavor and superior size, and the small fruits grow with remarkable luxuriance. But Colorado excels as a grazing and dairy country, deriving great advantages from the peculiarity of its nutritious grasses, upon which cattle thrive the whole year, and of which there is a great variety in the valleys and on the mountain sides. The uplands and ridges between the watercourses are covered with a short, crisp, drab-colored grass. These grasses are not destroyed by frosts, but, becoming cured during the winter months, retain their nutritious qualities, and afford excellent pasturage at all seasons. Except the parks and valleys, the vast region W. of the central mountain range is not suitable for cultivation, but pine forests and excellent pasturage abound. The principal varieties of timber are pine, hemlock, spruce, cedar, fir, cottonwood, box elder, and quaking aspen. The sides of the mountains below the timber lines and the foot hills are covered with forests of pine, larch, and aspen, which afford valuable timber and fuel. — The wild animals are the bear, couguar, wolf, buffalo, elk, deer, antelope, lynx, wildcat, badger, hare, fox, mink, pine marten, beaver, and prairie dog, the last resembling the fox squirrel. Of game birds there are the wild turkey, mountain grouse, sage hen, prairie chicken, ducks, geese, swans, ptarmigan, &c. — According to the census of 1870, the number of acres of improved land was 95,594; cash value of farms, $3,385,748; of farming implements and machinery, $272,604; total amount of wages paid during the year, including value of board, $416,280. The productions were 255,932 bushels of spring and 2,535 of winter wheat, 5,235 of rye, 231,903 of Indian corn, 332,940 of oats, 35,141 of barley, 178 of buckwheat, 7,500 of peas and beans, 121,502 of potatoes, 19,787 tons of hay, 890 lbs. of tobacco, 204,925 of wool, 392,920 of butter, 33,626 of cheese, and 19,787 gallons of milk sold. There were 6,446 horses, 1,173 mules and asses, 25,017 milch cows (and 6,871 not on farms), 5,566 working oxen, 40,153 other cattle (and 88,720 not on farms), 120,928 sheep, and 5,509 swine. Value of live stock, $2,871,102; of home manufactures, $57,658; of animals slaughtered, or sold for slaughter, $252,394; of all farm productions, including betterments and additions to stock, $2,335,106. The value of the agricultural products for 1872 was estimated at $4,650,000. The returns of the assessors to the auditor of the territory for that year show the number of horses to be 23,000; asses, 10,000; cattle, 243,000; sheep, 270,000; goats, 10,000. — There is an abundance of water power in Colorado, which has as yet been little utilized. The total number of manufacturing establishments reported by the census of 1870 was 256, having 49 steam engines of 1,433 horse power, and 31 water wheels of 792 horse power, and employing 876 hands. The capital invested amounted to $2,835,605; the wages paid during the year were $528,221; value of materials used, $1,593,280; value of products, $2,852,820. Besides quartz mills, the only important establishments are a few for the manufacture of iron, wool, and flour, which have recently been established at Denver. — Within a few years railroad enterprise has been active in Colorado. The territory contained on Jan. 1, 1872, 392 m. of completed railroads. The lines in operation are as follows: the Denver Pacific, from Cheyenne, Wyoming territory, to Denver, 106 m.; the Kansas Pacific, from Kansas City, Mo., to Denver, 639 m.; the Denver and Boulder Valley, from Hughes, on the Denver Pacific, 18 m. from Denver, to Erie (to be extended to Boulder City, 16 m. further); the Colorado Central, which will open a line of communication between Denver and the mountain towns and cities (completed to Black Hawk, 38 m., with branches from Fork's Creek to Floyd Hill, 4 m., and from Golden City to Longmont, 41 m.); the Arkansas Valley, from Kit Carson on the Kansas Pacific to Pueblo (completed to West Las Animas); and the Denver and Rio Grande railroad, which will connect Denver with El Paso in Mexico (completed to Pueblo, 118 m., with a branch to Coal Banks, 38 m.). The following table shows the length of railroads in operation in the territory in 1873, with the capital stock and cost of construction of the entire lines so far as ascertainable:

LINES.  Length in the 
territory.
 Capital stock.   Cost of road and 
equipments.




Denver Pacific 96 miles.   $2,500,000   $5,000,000 
Denver and Boulder Valley   15 miles.  ........  450,000 
Kansas Pacific 184 miles.  9,638,950   36,747,300 
Colorado Central 83 miles.  1,474,300  3,300,000 
Denver and Rio Grande 156 miles.  4,500,000  7,520,500 
Arkansas Valley 56 miles.  ........  ........ 



 Total  590 miles.  ........  ........ 

The Denver and Rio Grande was the first narrow-gauge railroad built in the United States. The gauge is 3 ft., the rails weighing only 30 lbs. to the yard. The maximum curvature is 6° in 100 ft., and the maximum grade 75 ft. to the mile. The use of this gauge has proved very successful, both from its effects in cheapening transportation, and its practicability over routes presenting insuperable obstacles to the construction of a wider road bed. A line of telegraph from Denver connects with the transcontinental line at Julesburg, Nebraska, and another connects Denver with Santa Fé, New Mexico. The entire length of telegraph lines in operation, Jan. 1, 1873, was 862 m. Colorado contains 6 national banks, with an aggregate capital of $575,000, of which 3, with a capital of $400,000, are in Denver; and 27 fire, 12 life, and 2 accident insurance companies have agencies in Colorado. — The government is similar to that of the other territories. The legislature consists of a council of 13 and a house of representatives of 26 members; its sessions are biennial. The election is held on the first Tuesday in October. The executive power is vested in a governor, secretary, treasurer, auditor, adjutant general, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, and secretary of the board of agriculture. The salary of the governor is $2,500; secretary, $1,800; treasurer, $700; auditor, $1,000. The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, district courts, probate courts, and justices of the peace. The supreme court is composed of a chief justice and two associates, one of whom holds a district court in each of the three judicial districts into which the territory is divided. The supreme and district courts have general jurisdiction in law and equity. The salary of each judge is $4,500. The principal executive and judicial officers are appointed for four years by the president of the United States. The territory is entitled to one delegate in congress. There is no territorial debt. In 1870 the county debts amounted to $678,829, for which bonds had been issued to the amount of $620,000; town, city, &c., debts, $2,329. The total taxation not national was $362,197, of which $63,425 was territorial, $267,207 county, and $31,571 town, city, &c. In 1871 the internal revenue collections amounted to $69,993. In 1870 the assessed value of real estate was $8,840,811, personal $8,497,290; total assessed value, $17,338,101; true value of real and personal property, $20,243,303. — Colorado has a good school system, administered by a territorial superintendent and a county superintendent for each county, who are elected biennially by the people. There are also three directors for each of the districts into which each county is divided, elected annually. In 1872 the number of public schools was 175; teachers, 230; pupils, 5,640; value of school buildings, $180,645; amount of school fund, $121,372. The total expenditure for school purposes in 1871 was $98,105, of which $45,250 were for teachers' wages. High schools have been organized in a number of the chief towns. According to the census of 1870, there were 18 private schools, with 32 teachers and 516 pupils. There were 175 libraries of all classes, with 39,344 volumes; of these 30, containing 11,385 volumes, were public, of which 2 (2,000 vols.) were school libraries, and 22 (5,685 vols.) were connected with Sunday schools. The territorial library at Denver, which also contains a valuable collection of mineral specimens, had 2,600 volumes. There were 14 newspapers and periodicals, issuing 1,190,600 copies annually, and having an average circulation of 12,750. Of these 4 were daily, circulation 2,200; 9 weekly, circulation 9,550; and 1 monthly, circulation 1,000. The number of church organizations was 55; of church edifices, 47; sittings, 17,495; value of church property, $207,230. The principal religious denominations were:

 DENOMINATIONS.  Church
 edifices. 
 Sittings.  Value of
 property. 




Baptist 855   $11,090 
Congregationalist   1,050  28,200 
Episcopal 2,000  46,040 
Methodist 13  3,815  50,800 
Presbyterian 1,200  21,800 
Roman Catholic 13   8,575  49,300 

—Colorado was organized as a territory by act of congress of Feb. 28, 1861, from parts of Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Utah. The portion N. of the Arkansas river and E. of the Rocky mountains formed part of the Louisiana purchase from the French in 1803; the remainder was included in the Mexican cession of 1848. The first well authenticated account of the discovery of what is now Colorado is the record of Vasqnez Coronado, who under Spanish auspices commanded an expedition from Sinaloa, Mexico, in 1540. In 1806 the United States government fitted out an expedition for the purpose of exploring this region, under command of Lieut. (subsequently Major) Zebulon M. Pike. This expedition travelled from N. to S. in the mountain region nearly across the territory, and discovered the peak which has since been called Pike's peak from its commander. In 1820 another expedition, under command of Col. S. H. Long, visited this region; and in 1842-'4 occurred the celebrated exploration of Gen. (then Col.) John C. Fremont across the Rocky mountains. Before the commencement of the present century there is no record of any inhabitants in what is now Colorado, except in the S. portion, where a few Mexicans and Spaniards were settled. Besides these, before the discovery of gold, there were only a few American traders, hunters, and trappers in the region. Nothing definite was known of the existence of gold in the territory before 1852, when a Cherokee cattle trader discovered the metal near the mouth of what is now called Clear creek. The first person to organize a party to explore the mining district was W. G. Russell, a Georgian, who in 1858 found gold on Dry creek, about 7 m. S. of Denver. These discoveries were speedily known throughout the country, and about 400 persons had reached the mining region in the winter of 1858-'9. The first discovery of a gold-bearing lode was made by John H. Gregory, May 6, 1859, in what is now Gregory mining district, Gilpin county. The first act of the miners toward organizing a government was the erection of Arapahoe county, with Auraria as its county seat; soon after which, Nov. 6, 1858, they elected a representative to the Kansas legislature, and a delegate to congress, who was instructed to urge the separation of this district from Kansas, and the organization of a new territory. In the autumn of 1859 a convention of 128 members assembled at Denver, which decided to memorialize congress for a territorial form of government. Within a few years a number of colonies organized in the east have been established in Colorado; the most important of these is Union colony, at Greeley, in Weld county, on the Denver Pacific railroad. Since 1870 the population has rapidly increased.