"Ghosts of Auraria," Alan Prendergast, February 28
As a Colorado native who spent several decades living in California, I appreciated Alan Prendergast's article on Auraria. I was not in Colorado when the area was turned into a college campus, so there was much history of the campus I did not know.
About fifteen years ago, my husband and I visited one of our sons in Dahlonega, Georgia, where he was teaching at a small college. As I purchased a couple of items in a downtown store, the man at the cash register, upon learning I was from Colorado, said, "Your Auraria was named after our ghost town Auraria." I had a vague memory of Georgians being mentioned in the Colorado history I had studied as a child. A visit to Auraria in Georgia revealed a forlorn mining town that reminded me of Central City or Black Hawk before gambling was allowed. It occurred to me that if one wanted a town named Auraria to survive, it would be wise to avoid putting it near a town with a name beginning with "D."
The history of Dahlonega is fascinating. It was the site of the first gold rush in the United States (1829). "Dahlonega" is a Cherokee word for gold. Russell Gulch is a familiar name to many Coloradans. William Green Russell, who had mining experience in Georgia, went to California with his brother John and some other miners. They were successful, so they were able to return to Georgia. At the beginning of the Colorado Gold Rush, Green Russell led a group of miners to the Denver area. His brother, Dr. Levi Russell, wanted the new town to be named Dahlonega, but the other miners voted for Auraria.
If ever you are in Georgia, I would suggest a trip to Dahlonega. It is the county seat of Lumpkin County and is also a small college town. Before the Civil War (War Between the States), there was a U.S. mint in Dahlonega. One of the buildings on the college campus has a gold roof. There is even a gold mine in the town.
I rather enjoyed reading your article on the Auraria campus and the University of Colorado Denver's new building, having been the emcee for the ceremony in January. Contrary to popular belief, CU Denver is not represented by the CU Buffs. In fact, CU Denver is represented by a new mascot, the Lynx, which was unveiled three weeks ago. The Buffalo is only a representation of the CU Boulder campus.
I know there is an outrageous amount of confusion about that, and, working for the school and having been part of the Brand Expansion Team, I would like to help our efforts to spread our own brand out to the community.
Vice-President, CU Denver Student Government Association
Editor's note: Read more about Auraria and its "brand expansion" on westword.com.
"Gentle Ben," Josiah Hesse, February 21
Very poignant stuff in the Ben Roy story. Brilliant cover photo, as well.