The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Denver, Colorado

image:Map of Colorado highlighting Denver County.png
Map of USA highlighting Colorado

Denver is the largest city and capital of the state of Colorado, United States of America. It is the largest city along the Front Range and forms the heart of the Denver Metropolitan Area.

The city is located on the plains just east of the foothills of the Rockies, which form a dramatic and awe inspiring skyline to the west. The central downtown district is on the east side of the South Platte River, near its confluence with Cherry Creek, approximately fifteen miles from the foothills.

It is the county seat of, and coextensive with, Denver County. As of the 2000 census, the population of the city was 554,636. Also as of the 2000 census, the population of the Denver metropolitan area was 2,581,506, making it the 19th-largest metropolitan area in the United States.

Denver is nicknamed the "Mile-High City", because its official elevation, measured on one of the steps on the state capitol, is 5,280 feet (1609 m) above sea level. (The elevation is 1655 m (5431 ft), as surveyed at the Denver International Airport). Also, a row of seats in the upper deck of Coors Field, home of Major League Baseball's Colorado Rockies (NL), is distinctively marked in purple (one of the team's colors) to indicate that the row is one mile above sea level.

Denver has also been known historically as the Queen City of the Plains because of its important role in the agricultural industry of the plains regions along the foothills of the Front Range.

Several US Navy ships have been named USS Denver in honor of the city.



Denver was founded in the Kansas Territory in 1858. On November 22 of that year, General William Larimer, a land speculator from eastern Kansas, placed cottonwood logs to stake a square-mile claim on the hill overlooking the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, across the creek from the existing mining settlement of Auraria.

The site was accessible to existing trails and had previously been the site of seasonal encampments of the Cheyenne and Arapaho. Larimer, along with associates in the Denver City Land Company, sold parcels in the town to merchants and miners, with the intention of creating a major city that would cater to new emigrants. The name "Denver City" was chosen to honor Kansas territorial governor James W. Denver, in order to ensure that the city would become the county seat of then Arapaho County, Kansas.

In the first few years, while the town grew, land parcels were often traded freely for grubstakes and in the course of gambling by miners in Auraria. The city was incorporated on November 7, 1861, several months after the formation of the Colorado Territory.

Denver has a semi-arid climate characterized by dry winters, wetter springs, low-humidity summers and pleasant falls. Because of the seemingly random different-each-day weather patterns, Coloradans often remark of the climate: "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute". Denver averages 15.4 inches (391 mm) of precipitation per year.

Denver was selected to host the 1976 Winter Olympics to coincide with Colorado's centennial anniversary, but Colorado voters struck down ballot initiatives allocating public funds to pay for the high costs of the games, so they were moved to Innsbruck, Austria. The movement against hosting the games was based largely on environmental issues and was led by then State Senator Richard Lamm. Lamm was subsequently elected as Colorado governor in 1974.

On April 20, 1999, the Columbine High School massacre occurred at Columbine High School, which is located southwest of Denver in an unincorporated area in suburban Jefferson County; the school has a Littleton address.


Denver is located at 39°43'35" North, 104°57'56" West (39.726287, -104.965486) in the Colorado Front Range region. It has the Rocky Mountains to the west and the great plains to the east.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 401.3 km² (154.9 mi²). 397.2 km² (153.4 mi²) of it is land and 4.1 km² (1.6 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.03% water.


Denver has 79 administrative "neighborhoods." The City and community groups use these "neighborhoods" for planning and administration. Although the City's delineation of the "neighborhood" boundaries is somewhat arbitrary, often the City's definitions of its "neighborhoods" correspond to those used by Denverites to describe a particular place. These are those "neighborhoods":

Athmar Park Auraria-Lincoln Park Baker Barnum Barnum West Bear Valley Belcaro Berkeley
Capitol Hill Central Business Chaffee Park Cheesman Park Cherry Creek City Park City Park West Civic Center
Clayton Cole College View Congress Park Cory-Merrill Country Club Denver Airport East Colfax
Elyria Swansea Five Points Fort Logan Gateway Globeville Goldsmith Green Valley Ranch Hale
Hampden Hampden South Harvey Park Harvey Park South Highland Hilltop Indian Creek Jefferson Park
Kennedy Lowry Field Mar Lee Marston Montbello Montclair North Capitol Hill North Park Hill
Northeast Park Hill Overland Platte Park Regis Rosedale Ruby Hill Skyland Sloans Lake
South Park Hill South Platte Southmoor Park Speer Stapleton Sun Valley Sunnyside Union Station
University University Hills University Park Valverde Villa Park Virginia Village Washington Park Washington Park West
Washington Virginia Vale Wellshire West Colfax West Highland Westwood Whittier Windsor

Denver also has a number of "neighborhoods" not reflected in the City's administrative "neighborhoods." Sometimes these neighborhoods reflect the way people in an areas identify themselves; sometimes they reflect how others, such as real estate developers, have defined those areas. Among the neighborhoods commonly spoken of but not listed above are Lo-Do (short for "Lower Downtown"), part of the City's Union Station neighborhood; Uptown, part of the North Capitol Hill neighborhood; Curtis Park, part of the Five Points neighborhood; and the Golden Triangle, roughly the Civic Center neighborhood.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 554,636 people, 239,235 households, and 119,378 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,396.5/km² (3,616.8/mi²). There are 251,435 housing units at an average density of 633.1/km² (1,639.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 65.30% White, 11.12% Black or African American, 1.31% Native American, 2.81% Asian American, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 15.59% from other races, and 3.75% from two or more races. 31.68% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 239,235 households out of which 23.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.7% are married couples living together, 10.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 50.1% are non-families. 39.3% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.4% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.27 and the average family size is 3.14.

In the city the population is spread out with 22.0% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 36.1% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 102.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 101.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $39,500, and the median income for a family is $48,195. Males have a median income of $34,232 versus $30,768 for females. The per capita income for the city is $24,101. 14.3% of the population and 10.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 20.3% of those under the age of 18 and 9.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


The west of Denver help people navigate the city by serving as a directional reference.
The Rocky Mountains west of Denver help people navigate the city by serving as a directional reference.


Denver is primarily served by the interstate highways I-25 and I-70. I-25 runs north-south from the New Mexico border through Denver to the Wyoming border. Likewise, I-70 runs east-west from Utah to Kansas. The intersection of the two interstates in Denver has been locally termed "the mousetrap." Additionally, Denver is served by I-76, which begins at Denver and runs northeast to Nebraska.

Mass transportation throughout the Denver metro area is managed and coordinated by Regional Transportation District (RTD). RTD currently operates more than 1,000 buses serving 10,000 bus stops in 38 municipal jurisdictions. Additionally, RTD operates two light rail lines with a total of 15.8 miles of track and serving 24 stations. Current RTD local fare is $1.25. The recently passed FasTracks expansion project will allow light rail to serve cities such as Lakewood, Golden, and Boulder.

Train service to Denver is provided by the Amtrak California Zephyr which runs from Chicago west through Denver to San Francisco. Additionally, there is the Ski Train provided by the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad which takes passengers between Denver and the Winter Park Ski Resort. Trains stop in Denver at Union Station, where travellers can meet up with RTD's 16th Street Free MallRide or use light rail to tour the city.

Colleges and universities


Sports teams

See also: U.S. cities with teams from four major sports.



  • Denver International Youth Hostel
  • InnKeeper of the Rockies
  • Melbourne International Hotel & Hostel


Famous Denverites

Famous non-native residents

External links

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