The New International Encyclopædia/Denver

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DEN′VER. The largest city of Colorado, State capital, and county-seat of Arapahoe County, at the junction of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek; 2025 miles from New York City and 1457 miles from San Francisco; in latitude 39° 47′ N., longitude 105° W. (Map: Colorado, E 2). It is an important railroad centre. Among the lines entering the city are the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fé; the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy; the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific; the Colorado Midland; the Denver and Rio Grande; the Missouri Pacific; the Union Pacific; and the Colorado Southern.

The city, far-famed for its beauty and healthful climate, is magnificently situated at an altitude of 5270 feet, within 15 miles of the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains. Owing to the remarkable clearness of the atmosphere, many of the prominent peaks are discernible in clear weather, although distant 70 miles and more. Besides the grand view of snow-capped mountains on one side, there is a vast stretch of plains on the other, and from the latter the city has been named the ‘Queen City of the Plains.’ Denver has a climate peculiarly mild and adapted to people suffering with pulmonary complaints. The city is laid out regularly with broad and shaded streets, is substantially built with brick and stone, and is watered entirely by irrigation. The more important streets are asphalted, 20 miles of thoroughfares being paved in this way. Among noteworthy buildings and institutions are the Capitol on Capitol Hill, an imposing structure of Colorado granite, erected at a cost of $2,000,000; the United States custom house and post-office; the United States mint; the county court house; the chamber of commerce; the mining exchange; the Union Depot; University of Denver (Methodist Episcopal); College of the Sacred Heart (Roman Catholic); Baptist Female College; Wolfe Hall (Protestant Episcopal); Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church; Brown Palace Hotel; the Tabor Opera House, and the Denver Club; Equitable Building; and Saint Anthony's, Saint Luke's, Saint Joseph's, and several other hospitals and sanatoriums. The city has also theological, law, and medical colleges, a manual-training school, and art museum, and a public library of 90,000 volumes, besides the State library of 15,000 volumes and numerous others. Of the twelve public parks, with a total area of 550 acres, the largest is City Park, a preserve of 320 acres, adorned with flowers, shrubbery, statuary, etc., and including zoölogical gardens, a natural-history museum, lakes, bicycle track, and driveways. The street railway service of the city is particularly efficient, the system covering 145 miles. At Denver are held an annual flower show, and the Festival of Mountain and Plain, an event which is of more than local interest.

A combination of favorable natural conditions has resulted in making Denver the leading industrial city of the western mountain region of the United States. Chief of these is its proximity to the great mining region of Colorado, which produces not only metals—lead, copper, iron, gold, and silver—but also coal, the latter making it possible to smelt the ores, and thus avoid shipping to other parts for that purpose. Added to this is the convenient situation of the city for a railway centre. Fifteen lines now enter the city, making it altogether the best collecting and distributing centre in the Rocky Mountain States—the metropolis of a vast region. Furthermore, the great distance from the Eastern manufacturing centres exempts it largely from trade competition, Pueblo being its only rival. The value of the manufactured products in 1900 was $41,369,000, considerably over one-fourth of which was the product of smelting and refining works. After this in order of importance were foundry and machine-shop products and flouring and grist mill products. The machinery produced consists largely of that used in mining. The manufacture of malt liquors and railroad-car construction and repairs are also considerable industries. During the decade 1890-1900 there was a slight decrease in the output of industries other than that connected with smelting and refining works. Denver is important as a livestock market, and as the trade centre of a tributary agricultural region. It has large wholesale interests in dry goods and groceries, its annual jobbing trade being estimated at $25,000.000. The stockyards handled in 1901 over 575,000 head of stock.

The City Council is a bicameral body, constituted of 5 supervisors and 16 aldermen. The Mayor is elected for two years. The boards of public works, fire, and police, consisting of three members each, receive their appointment from the State Governor. The health and the park commissions and the superintendents of street-cleaning, sprinkling, supplies, and certain other officers are appointed by the Mayor. The city surveyor, treasurer, auditor, attorney, and clerk are elected by the people. The city has a good supply of water, which is secured from the mountain streams, but the water-works are owned and operated by a private company. The net debt in 1900 was $2,194,000, or $16.39 per capita. The total actual income was $2,378,000, and the expenditure for maintenance and operation was $1,687,000. The larger annual appropriations approximate $800,000 for schools, $165,000 for the fire department, $150,000 for the police department, $100,000 for municipal lighting, and $85,000 for parks.

Denver was first settled by miners in 1858, and in the following year was incorporated as a city by the Provisional Legislature and named in honor of Gen. J. W. Denver, then Governor of Kansas. In 1861 it was reincorporated by the first Territorial Legislature. It became the capital of the Territory in 1867, and in 1870, on the completion of the Denver Pacific and the Kansas Pacific railroads, was first connected by rail with the East and South. Destructive floods occurred in 1864 and in 1876. In 1894 the town of South Denver was annexed. Since 1870 its growth, a striking instance of the remarkable rise of Western cities, has been exceedingly rapid; a population of 4759 in that year having increased to 35,629 in 1880, 106,713 in 1890, and 133,859 in 1900, including 25,300 persons of foreign birth and 3900 of negro descent.

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