Colorado celebrated its 140th birthday on August 1. Because it was admitted to the Union on the hundredth anniversary of this country’s declaration of independence, it was quickly nicknamed the Centennial State. But to us, it’s always been Coolorado, the coolest state around, and the thousands of people moving here every month clearly agree.
But what, exactly, makes Colorado so hot? As both a primer for newcomers and a refresher course for natives, we’re sharing more than a hundred cool things about Colorado. Here are the first ten: fascinating facts about Coolorado.
10. Colorado became the 38th state of the Union on August 1, 1876, the centennial year of the signing of the Declaration of Independence — making this the Centennial State.
9. Colorado was the first state to give women the right to vote, in 1893.
8. Colorado was the first state to legalize abortion. Young legislator Richard Lamm pushed the bill through a Republican-controlled legislature in 1967.
7. Colorado is the birthplace of the Libertarian Party, America’s third-largest political party, which was founded here in 1971.
6. Colorado has more unaffiliated voters than voters affiliated with either party. As of the end of June, the state had 1,003,628 active unaffiliated voters; 988,410 registered Republicans and 980,352 registered Democrats — and the ranks of independents are growing.
5. Colorado is the only place that’s ever turned down a chance to host the Olympics, voting against public financing for the 1976 Winter Olympics in 1972, in another measure pushed by Dick Lamm.
4. Colorado was the first state to issue a same-sex marriage license, when Boulder County Clerk Cleta Rorex took advantage of a legal loophole in 1975. “I felt deeply it was just a fairness thing,” she recalled forty years later.
3. Colorado does not require that a recognized officiant or clergy member make your marriage official: You and your intended can solemnize your own nuptials (but you will need a marriage license and certificate).
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2. Colorado was the first state to allow recreational marijuana sales, which began on January 1, 2014, after Colorado voters overwhelmingly passed Amendment 64 in November 2012.
1. Colorado is truly the highest state in the country, with the highest mean elevation (6,800 feet), the highest high point in the continental U.S. (14,440 feet) and the highest low point (3,315 feet).
Watch for more on Coolorado coming this week.