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History

This guide provides print, online, and local resources for historical research.

Colorado History Featured in PPLD's Collection

Gulch of Gold: A History of Central City, Colorado

The discovery of the first lode of gold in the gulches around Central City is what really brought the colorful state of Colorado into being. Bancroft captures the broad sweep of the city's history through the details of the personalities that created its swirling events. Here are the pioneers who lived, worked, loved, grew rich, and sometimes died in the Gulch of Gold.

Tattered Cover Book Store: A Storied History

For more than five decades, the Tattered Cover has been Colorado's favorite source for books. Beginning with just 950 square feet, it has grown into a multistore operation and important cultural institution, the special place where people go for all things literary. Join Denver historian and onetime Tattered Cover employee Mark A. Barnhouse as he celebrates the store's first fifty years and tells stories from the thousands of author events it has hosted over the decades.

The Tunnels Under Our Feet: Colorado's Forgotten Hollow Sidewalks

Have you ever seen a manhole cover with little glass circles in it and wondered why it was different from the others? Did you ever imagine that there were actually tunnels under the sidewalks?

You'll be surprised to find out how many cities in Colorado had these tunnels. And they're still under our streets Those manhole covers imbedded with glass circles, many that have turned purple with age, allowed light into the tunnels below.

The Tunnels Under Our Feet explores these tunnels, or what's left of them, with lively prose and interesting historical stories. Join the author on her dusty yet exciting adventures as she crawls through basements dodging spiderwebs looking for tunnel entrances, many of which are now filled in. But it's not hard to speculate where they go if you're diligent enough to follow the trail.

Pine Valley: A Window to the Early History of Colorado Springs and the U.S. Air Force Academy

The Pine Valley house, its history, inhabitants, neighbors, and the community involvement of those people give a unique and almost time-lapse view of the history of Colorado Springs and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

People of the Red Earth: American Indians of Colorado

Sally Crum's People of the Red Earth: American Indians of Colorado, originally published in 1996, provides an engaging cultural tour of Ice Age mammoth hunters, archaic hunter-gatherers, and 12th century part-time farmers. The history, adaptability, and tenacity of more recent tribes are explored, including that of the Ute, Shoshone, Comanche, Arapaho, and Cheyenne. A new section in the book offers summaries of significant archaeological discoveries made since the original publication. Also included in this section is updated news about Colorado’s Native peoples, ancestral and present.

Remembering Lucile: A Virginia Family's Rise from Slavery and a Legacy Forged a Mile High

The University of Colorado erroneously recognized Dr. Ruth Cave Flowers as its first Black graduate. In 1918--six years before Flowers's graduation--Lucile Berkeley Buchanan Jones received her bachelor's degree. McLean introduces this woman who lived through an extraordinary time and rectifies the omission from institutional history.

Communities of Ludlow: Collaborative Stewardship and the Ludlow Centennial Commemoration Commission

Communities of Ludlow explores the intersections of public scholarship, advocacy, and personal experience, weaving these perspectives together with models for practicing public scholarship to illustrate the power of creating spaces for sharing ideas and information in an environment that encourages creativity, open dialogue, public outreach, political action, and alternative narratives.

Roadside History of Colorado

Colorado's roads wind through country that is steeped in history, sometimes tracing routes with a history of their own, from the Santa Fe Trail tot he Million Dollar Highway. But no matter where you roam in this beautiful state, Roadside History of Colorado can guide you. In this delightful volume, award-winning history writer Candy Moulton escorts raiders through ancient pueblos, perilous trails, mining boomtowns, and modern ski resorts.

The Book of Colorado Springs

The Book of Colorado Springs by Manly and Eleanor Ormes is the story of the founders, the founding, and the development of Colorado Springs. Established in 1871, Colorado Springs arrived at a time and place well situated to tie its early history to the broader expansion of the western United States in the post-Civil War era. Indeed, this work may be thought of as a blueprint or manual of town building; of how the city of Colorado Springs and other cities were planned, developed, and flourished in the western U.S. during the closing decades of the 19th century. Published as a gift to the people of the Pikes Peak region, the Colorado Springs Gazette presented it as the “Book of the Month” for February 1934, shortly after its original 1933 printing. The Book of Colorado Springs remains among the best and most consulted sources of the city’s early history.

Sixty Years in Colorado: Reminiscences and Reflections of a Pioneer of 1860

This work describes the life and adventures of Colonel Irving Stanton, who journeyed to Colorado in the wake of the 1860 gold rush and wound up staying there for the rest of his life, fighting on behalf of the territory in three major wars.

Asians in Colorado: A History of Persecution and Perseverance in the Centennial State

Providing the most comprehensive examination to date of Asians in the Centennial State, William Wei addresses a wide range of experiences, from anti-Chinese riots in late nineteenth-century Denver to the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans at the Amache concentration camp to the more recent influx of Southeast Asian refugees and South Asian tech professionals. Drawing on a wealth of historical sources, Wei reconstructs what life was like for the early Chinese and Japanese pioneers, and he pays special attention to the different challenges faced by those in urban versus rural areas. The result is a groundbreaking approach that helps us better understand how Asians survived and thrived in an often hostile environment.

Offering a fresh perspective on how cycles of persecution are repeated, Wei reveals how the treatment of Asian Americans resonates with the experiences of other marginalized groups in American society. His study sheds light not only on the Asian American experience but also on the development of Colorado and the greater American West.

Colorado's Historic Schools

Colorado's Historic Schools is part-regional history, and part-travel guide featuring over 140 of the most significant schools across the state, all recognized as historic landmarks. Along with interesting school stories and building descriptions, there are historic photos and stories of legendary teachers, tragedies, and even murder over the 150-year history of Colorado's schools.

Colorado History Databases & Websites

Resources at PPLD's Special Collections, in the 1905 Carnegie Library (located in the Penrose Library)

PPLD Databases

Recommended Websites

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