Denver is home to many successful professional sports teams that have all earned accolades in their leagues, but these teams also hold the community of Denver together through thick and thin.
Colorado transportation has changed significantly over the years to help suit the ever-growing population increases in the area and to create a western hub for people to travel and visit.
Beef and Beer! Colorado has been a driving force in the booming brewery industry and also played a huge role in the creation of the burger patty, yum!!
In the year 2000, the census declared that Colorado’s population had increased by 30% compared to 1990, proving the state would only continue to become more and more popular. The City and the County of Broomfield were created after becoming such a popular area in the front range, spanning across 30 square miles with a population of 74,112 according to the 2020 census. Because of the new wave of people, traffic and transportation became an issue in the front range area. The government-funded new road expansions and funded public transportation projects such as the T-REX project that expanded Denver highways and the Denver Light Rail. In 2003 the E-470 toll road project was completed and opened to the public as a way to travel across the state quickly. In July 2014 RTD reopens the Denver Union Station and creates a new hub for Denver commuters.
As the Denver population grew, the landscape changed with it. New forms of entertainment, arts, and organizations began to emerge from the city building a more diverse and rich environment in the area. In 2005, the Denver sculpture I See What you Mean locally known as the Blue Bear was created in the Colorado Convention Center and remains a Denver landmark. In 2006, the artist Luis Alfonso Jiménez Jr. mysteriously died whilst making the famous Blue Mustang that watches over travelers at Denver International Airport, it was later unveiled in 2008 and earned the name “Bluecifer” by locals. That year also marked a new start for the Denver Art Museum, when the Frederic C. Hamilton Building opens giving local and national artists a new space to share their work. In 2011, the Clyfford Still Museum opens in Denver after being chosen by Patricia Still for the city to host all of the artists' work. Organizations like the Colorado Ballet, and Colorado Symphony, and artists from across the area continued to showcase their work. In September of 2021, the Meow Wolf Convergence Station opened its doors as Colorado’s first immersive and creative art experience from the franchise.
The Denver Broncos, an American football team, were originally founded in the American Football League (AFL) in 1960 and never posted a winning record during the league's 10 years of play. But, since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 the Broncos have been one of the National Football League’s (NFL’s) most successful teams and have boasted some of the best stadium attendance records. They have won 3 superbowls under Most-Valuable-Player awarded quarterbacks John Elway in 1998 & 1999 and Peyton Manning in 2016, and have also had a 3rd MVP winner, Terrell Davis. They have been playing their home games on the same plot of ground for 60+ years since their founding, which since 2001 has been Mile High stadium.
The Denver Nuggets, an American basketball team, were originally founded in 1967 as the Denver Rockets in the American basketball association (ABA). Hoping to join the National Basketball Association (NBA) where the Houston Rockets were already a team, the Denver chose to rename to the Nuggets, named for the many gold ‘nuggets’ found in Colorado during the gold rush. They soon joined the NBA in 1976 after the established name change. As of 2021-2022 season they have never reached the NBA finals, but their chances are looking brighter. During the 2020-2021 & 2021-2022 season Nuggets player Nikola Jokič won the Most Valuable Player award back to back. He is the first player to bring the award to Denver and the lowest drafted NBA player to ever win the award. They play home games at Ball Arena which is shared with the Colorado Avalanche in the National Hockey association (NHL).
The Colorado Rapids Started competing in Major League Soccer (MLS) in 1996 based in the Denver suburb Commerce City. Since their founding they have been to two MLS championships (1997, 2010), winning their first in 2010. Since 2007 they have been playing at Dick’s Sporting Arena, which also hosts a plethora of music concerts and festivals. The teams most decorated player is Pablo Maestroeini who is a 7 time MLS All-Star, 3 time Rapids MVP, and Rapids team captain from 2004-2013.
The Colorado Rockies joined Major League Baseball (MLB) in 1996 as an expansion franchise in the National League (NL). They have never won a division title, but they have one World Series appearance in 2007 after a wild card berth. They have been playing at Coors Field in Denver since their founding and are known for high scoring home games due to less air resistance while batting due to the higher altitude. Because of this, Coors Field is known as the most home-run “friendly” field. One of the best players in the franchises history is Todd Helton who spent his entire career with the team and holds Rockies franchise records in hits, singles, doubles, Home-runs, runs scored, and RBIs.
The Colorado Avalanche, an american professional ice-hockey team, was founded as the Quebec Nordiques in 1972 and joined the National Hockey League (NHL) in 1979. After the 1995-1996 season they were relocated to Denver Colorado and renamed the Avalanche, nicknamed the ‘Avs’. Since moving to Denver the Avs have won 3 Stanley Cups (1996, 2001, & 2022). Two notable Avalanche players are Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy who both played key roles in Colorado securing their first two Stanley Cups in 1996 and 2001.
While it is no New York, Denver is a hub for cuisine in its own way. As more and more people come to the city from all over, many restaurants and breweries across town reflect a variety of cultures. Perhaps most famously, Denver is a city known for its beef. From its days as a hub for ranchers, many stockyards, slaughterhouses and meat packing plants lined the north side of town, including Buckhorn Exchange, the oldest surviving restaurant in Denver known for its ‘Old West fare’ of steak, lamb, and even rattlesnake meat! Denver is also renowned for its spin on Mexican cuisine, thanks to the large number of immigrants over the course of the 20th century. Denver’s Mexican food often fuses with California or Tex-Mex influences. Alongside green chile and delicious burritos, Denver is the home of the Mexican hamburger, a tortilla platter filled to the brim with hamburger patty. On the drink side, Denver has long been the home to beer, from the earliest saloons built around Larimer Square in the mid 19th century. Since then, the industry has expanded thanks to the fresh Rocky Mountain water that’s often used for these drinks, like the establishment of the Coors Brewery in Golden in 1873, now one of the nation’s largest beer brands. Clearly, the people of Denver have had a taste for beer for many generations now – for the last 30 years, Denver plays host to the Great American Beer Festival, where over 4,000 beers are available for tasting!
Although Colorado is known for its plethora of outdoor adventures, it has been affected by climate change and the area has experienced some extreme weather in recent years. In 2013, the Front Range experienced one of the most extreme and devastating floods in the state's history. Starting on September 9th, The Front Range experienced relentless flooding leading to evacuations in Boulder County, and the destruction of many state highways and county roads. When the rain finally stopped on September 14th, it had rained 20 inches in Boulder, destroyed 2,000 homes, and killed 8 people. According to the Colorado Encyclopedia, “Population growth, urban expansion, and increasingly volatile weather patterns associated with climate change mean that flooding will remain a pressing issue on the Front Range in the future.” Although scientists have not connected the event to climate change, current weather patterns and increased population growth suggest that something like this may happen again in the future.
More recently the Front Range was struck by another natural disaster, the Marshall Fires. On December 30th, 2021 a small fire started in Marshall, Colorado located between Superior and Boulder, and due to heavy winds, the fire became fast-moving and a threat to the neighboring towns. The fire forced evacuations of Louisville, Superior, Broomfield, and Unincorporated Boulder County. By the time the fires were finally stopped by snowfall on the night of December 31st, 1084 structures had been destroyed and another 149 damaged. The fires are noted as the state's most destructive fires in terms of buildings lost.
Many more fires have affected the Front Range and surrounding areas, to find out more follow this link! Colorado Wildfire List
The Denver area has morphed into a bustling metropolis and a rich city since it was first discovered in the 1800’s. The area is known for its beautiful landscape where the mountains hit the front range, the amazing food and beverage scene, the city’s commitment to art and culture, and the community built around the neighboring cities. The Denver area will only continue to expand, bringing in more people to enjoy what the area has to offer.
What makes Denver special to you? What areas have a rich history for your family? What stories do you think are waiting to be told next? It is important as Coloradoans that we continue to inspire those around us and make our cities a better place.
Did you know that Colorado is the only state to ever turn down hosting the Winter Olympics? Colorado is also home to the tallest sand dunes in North America. There are tons of interesting facts and trivia about Colorado, can you guess them correctly below?
What percentage of Colorado’s population lives in the front range?
How many professional teams are there in Colorado?
Answer: There are six professional sports teams in Colorado.
How many NASA astronauts are graduates of the University of Colorado Boulder?
Approximately how many days of sunshine does Colorado have per year?
What Colorado 14er mountain inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write the song “America the Beautiful.”
Answer: Pikes Peak
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