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An alternative Denver A to Z exhibit to replace History Colorado's snoozer

History Colorado's Denver A to Z is designed to stir up interest in this city's story, but the interactive displays linked to letters of the alphabet is a real snooze — and a historically inaccurate nap, at that. Zombies? Would it have been so tough to cook up a heartier mix of history? Here's our alternative to HC's offerings (in italics):

A is for Altitude

Not Adrenaline: Even before Coloradans passed Amendment 64, Denver had earned its label as the Mile High City. Its location at exactly 5,280 feet is confirmed by a plaque on the Capitol steps — and the shortness of breath experienced by anyone visiting this city from the flatlands.

B is for Beer

Not Public Art/Blue Bear: Long before Denver was dubbed the Napa Valley of Beer, it was renowned for its beer-makers. Today there are more than 160 breweries devoted to craft beer (not microbrews, HC's obsolete term).

C is for Cowtown

History Colorado got this one right: Denver started as a cowtown, and will always be a cowtown. We're in the West: "Embrace it."

D is for Dinosaurs

Not Devoted Bronco Fans — and definitely not Dino, the worst mascot in professional sports: Dinosaurs once roamed this part of the earth. At Dinosaur Ridge, you can walk along the ripples left by Colorado's ocean lapping along Morrison's sandy beaches.

E is for Elitch's

Not Emergency: When Elitch Gardens decided to leave its almost-century-old home in northwest Denver in favor of the Platte Valley, it wanted a financial assist from Denver — and wooed voters to approve $14.9 million in bonds with the slogan "Vote for Elitch's — It's Denver." Two dozen years and several owners later, Elitch's is a downtown landmark, and the only urban amusement park in the country.

F is for Football

Not Fudge: Roll out the Barrel Man! The unceasing popularity of the Denver Broncos has definitely earned this team a spot in Colorado history. But does History Colorado really have to resort to cajoling visitors into donning barrel costumes in commemoration of one of the game's most devoted — and naked — fans?

G is for Gold

Not Go, or Union Station: The discovery of gold inspired the establishment of Denver in late 1858, and led to the Rush to the Rockies the next year. The gold soon played out in Denver — but the town remained.

H is for Hamburger

Not "Hate It or Love It": Louis Ballas claimed to have invented the cheeseburger at his Humpty-Dumpty drive-in in 1935; a monument on Speer Boulevard marks the spot. Dubious as that claim may be, there's no question that the Mexican hamburger was invented in Denver — at Joe's Buffet on Santa Fe Drive in the late '60s. And in his book Taco USA, Gustavo Arellano calls it "the dish that best personifies the Mexican-American experience."

I is for Indica

Not Intersection (or Five Points): Welcome to the really Mile High City.

J is for Jaywalking

Not Joy (or Casa Bonita): A true Western city, Denver went directly from cow to car — and many traffic-related innovations. The Denver Boot was invented here sixty years ago; around the same time, a city traffic engineer created the Barnes Dance, which allowed people to cross downtown streets on the diagonal. The Barnes Dance was finally retired last year — but sadly, jaywalking remains a city no-no.

K is for Ku Klux Klan

Not Knockout: In the '20s, the Ku Klux Klan threw a white sheet over much of this town. Clarence Morley was elected governor in 1924 on a campaign that included the slogan "Every Man Under the Capitol Dome a Klansman," and, in fact, the Klan controlled the State Assembly.

L is for Light

Not Lasting (St. Cajetan's): Denver tourism boosters tout this city's 300 days of sunshine. But that's only by a very generous count: While about 300 days have at least one hour of sunshine, only about 115 days per year fit the classic definition of "clear."

M is for Mountains

Not Microbrews: Rain, sun, sleet or snow, the Rocky Mountains create an incredible backdrop for the Mile High City, with 54 peaks rising over 14,000 feet. Without them, we doubt we'd look like Omaha — but we wouldn't want to try life without them, either.

N is for Nuggets

Not Near and Dear (Mountains): These days, the most valuable nuggets are not the ones early miners panned out of steams and carved out of rocks. No, they're members of the Denver Nuggets, the basketball team that just won eight in a row...without Carmelo.

O is for Outdoors

Not One & Only (Red Rocks): Sure, Denver has history (and history museums), arts and amenities. But it also has an incredible setting that's truly the great outdoors.

P is for Parks

Not Prepared: Denver loves its parks, including the two dozen mountain parks that this city was smart enough to start acquiring a century ago. Two have their own buffalo herds, one its own ski resort, and the most famous an amphitheater that's the envy of cities around the world: Red Rocks.

Q is for Queen City of the Plains

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4 comments
jtcolfax
jtcolfax

Loved this.  Here is a 45 second oddity from Colo. history.  This is the grave of Dr. J. G. Locke who was the KKK grand dragon who singlehandedly made the colorado klan so huge in the 20's, but was ruined in a bizzare penis peeping scandal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1WRRHQZBEA

Matt Pusatory
Matt Pusatory

When you say Dino are you referring to Rockies mascot Dinger? I know he's a terrible mascot, but you should at least get his name right.

 
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