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Twenty Years of Denver

The Women's Bank opens over the Broker. It attracts $12 million in deposits in its first year. The nationwide bank debit card is pioneered by Colorado National Bank. Interest rates approach 12 percent.

The Denver International Film Festival debuts, with Robert Altman's A Wedding as its feature attraction. Tickets are $3.50 per show, or $250 for a pass to the entire Ten Days in May. Clint Eastwood comes to town to film Every Which Way but Loose. Colorado's cross-dressing laws are repealed.

Glendale, the incorporated city surrounded by Denver, becomes the locus of the infection known as Disco Fever, with three dozen bars and clubs such as Bogart's and Club 4444 catering to the cocaine-and-polyester crowd.

With powdered cocaine becoming the drug of choice among the city's young movers and shakers--News editor and Scripps-Howard scion Mike Howard is known to do lines with reporters in his office--operating rooms across the city report a temporary shortage of the useful anesthetic. Nose jobs are a bit more painful this year.

Speaking of powder, Hollywood moves to Aspen when the ski area is purchased by 20th Century Fox, looking for somewhere to park all its lovely loot from Star Wars. Post columnist Jack Phinney declares the crowds at Vail "hopeless."

Mork & Mindy, set in Boulder and starring Robin Williams and Pam Dawber, goes on the air. The premise: Williams is a hyperactive alien from the planet Ork, but no one notices. It is Boulder, after all, The Little Town Nestled Between the Mountains and Reality.

Urban homesteading is all the rage, with middle-class white families moving into restored Victorian homes in the Curtis Park and Cheesman Park areas, as well as modest bungalows in Park Hill. Because of the Denver Public Schools' court-ordered busing policy to achieve racial integration, in effect since 1969, some of the children in these areas are actually bused out of their neighborhoods to predominantly white schools in the southeast part of the city.

The Broncos lose their first Super Bowl, to Dallas 27-10, with Craig Morton as QB, Red Miller as coach and the Orange Crush defense.

1979: Colorado's mining past comes vividly alive when it is discovered that Denver's ambient radiation level is three times higher than levels achieved during the Three Mile Island crisis in Pennsylvania. Part of the problem is that many streets in Capitol Hill and other older neighborhoods are surfaced with asphalt made from tailings from radium mines.

The prime rate is 15.75 percent; the money market certificate is invented.
Marvin Davis sells the former Phipps Ranch to California developer Mission Viejo for $27 million. Mountain Bell begins planning for the development by allotting four phones per home, while customers in the foothills of Jefferson County receive two- and four-party service. The minimum acceptable standard for phone service in the state, mandated by the Public Utilities Commission, is eight-party lines. Mountain Bell reports it is running short of phone numbers.

Cable TV is not yet available in most of the metro area, but HBO is beamed to subscribers from a microwave tower on Lookout Mountain.

The promoter of Science Fiction Land, a supposed theme park to be built on 1,000 acres in Aurora, is on the lam ahead of a warrant for securities fraud.

Cattle mutilations baffle Colorado.
Hot tubs rent by the hour.
Pat Schroeder dons a bunny suit for an Easter visit to the Great Wall of China. Roseanne, a local housewife, is testing her act at Denver comedy clubs.

The Seventies end, in the opinion of Post columnist Jack Kisling, at a low two on a scale of one to ten.

1980: The metro population is 1,618,446, a whopping 30 percent increase since 1970. (Thanks, John Denver, wherever you are.) Denver County, however, has lost 22,313 residents, while the suburbs have boomed; factors include DPS busing and the passage of the Poundstone Amendment in 1974, which limits Denver's growth through annexation. DPS has lost 30,000 students since 1970; white students make up 40 percent of the student body, down from 54 percent ten years earlier. Seventy-six percent of metro-area African-Americans live in Denver; 18 percent of the city's population is Hispanic.

The state gets a sixth congressional seat.
In the metro area, 316,000 jobs have been created since 1970; 82,000 are connected to the petroleum industry. Oil sells for $32 per barrel. The windfall profits tax on energy production is enacted. Inflation reaches 13.5 percent; home mortgages, 18 percent.

Denver's hometown airline, Frontier, employs 5,800 people, flies to 86 cities and makes $23 million annually.

Centennial is repeated in prime time to fill air otherwise left dead because of a Hollywood actors' strike. More of the young and the restless head our way.

Voters reject RTD's light-rail plan.
Times-Mirror Corp. buys the Denver Post from the Bonfils family, ending 88 years of local ownership. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts opens with funding from the Bonfils Foundation, flush with all its lovely loot from the sale of the Post. Next door, the new Boettcher Concert Hall is dark; Denver Symphony musicians are on strike.

National figures show an overabundance of hospital beds in Denver, but the repeal of federal regulations has resulted in duplication of expensive equipment and services. Over at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, doctors are researching in vitro fertilization.

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