This page has information and links to information related to history. See Biographical Research for history of individual people. For specific time periods, places/areas, and/or topics see left-hand side for topics.

Colorado History Introduction

This page provides links and suggested resources that can be used for doing research on Colorado History. Colorado became the 38th state on August 1, 1876, thus the nickname "Centennial State." Most of Colorado's history can be read about in books (see "identifying books" for terms to use when looking for them), but there are articles and Web sites too. You may need to contact a city or county's own historical group for more extensive information.        

Web Executive Residence Identifying Books
Web--Local City/County History Legislative Branch Indexes & Abstracts
Other States    



Colorado State Archives. Division of Information Technologies.  Official Colorado History site. 

Choose Citizen and then "Historical records." Has photographs, names of territorial and state officials, chronology (in PDF), Symbols & Emblems, etc.

Constitution of the State of Colorado (original). 1876. PDF

Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of 1875. PDF 788 pages (1st pages are black--cover of book that was scanned). 

Read the original State of Colorado Constitution and the Proceedings of Convention that wrote it.

Photography Collection. Denver Public Library. Colorado Historical Society. 

"This online collection contains a selection of photographs, maps, broadsides, architectural drawings and other documents from the collections of the Western History/Genealogy Department chronicling the people, places, and events that shaped the settlement and growth of the Western United States. The work of many outstanding photographers is represented and the collection includes images of Native Americans, pioneers, railroads, mining, Denver and Colorado towns, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, the 10th Mountain Division ski troops and many more. New images are continually being added chronicling the ongoing development of Western America."

Doing History, Keeping the Past. Colorado Historical Society. Hewit Institute. University of Northern Colorado. 

Site aimed at kids, but has extensive information of use to everyone. Click on any photo on initial page to reach menu of site (has site map as well). Ancient Puebloans, Colorado Indians, Farmers & Ranchers, Colorado Miners, Colorado Cities, 20th Century Colorado, Virtual Field Trips, Doing History Archives (many photos arranged by theme), and Teacher Resources.

How the State Came to Be. Colorado History.com. Buena Vista, CO. 

Gives a broad overview of Colorado from the beginning. Includes a timeline of when counties were created.

Leadville, Twin Lakes, Lake County, Colorado. Leadville, Colorado History. 

Choose History from near top of screen to find links to timeline, walking tour, mining information, photos, biographies of colorful characters, etc.

Western History/Genealogy Collection. Denver Public Library. 

Manuscripts, photographs, genealogy, and more. Some very nice examples of resources online. It may be necessary to visit the Denver Public Library in person to view the collection. Make certain that the library and Western History collection are open before making a trip there. See hours (near foot of page) and other information in Genealogy.

Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection . Collaborative Digitization Program. Denver, CO. 

"The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC) currently includes 147 newspapers published in Colorado from 1859 to 1923."

Wyoming Newspaper Project.  Site contains all the newspapers printed in Wyoming between 1849 and 1922.

Close to 800,000 newspaper pages converted from microfilm to a digital format (PDF). Neighboring state, directly north of Colorado, so items of interest--over 232,900 entries mention Colorado (help wanted, reports of trips to Colorado, etc.). Exact articles not identified. Search results show a newspaper page--use the PDF search function to highlight a word.

Historic Colorado Maps. Mike Culbertson. Colorado State University. 

Information on how to find historical Colorado maps in CSU's collection, links to Colorado maps online, and information on where to purchase plat maps.

Colorado Agriculture & Rural Life Searchable Bibliography. Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Material Published 1820-1945. Colorado State University. 

This bibliography lists "information about Colorado’s agricultural and rural past. The topics covered in this project are varied but include agriculture, education, water, mining, tourism, recreation, and more." The image gallery has images from Colorado's agricultural past (items from CSU Libraries' Archives & Special Collections). Search by keyword, author, title, material type, and year. A few of the items are digitized and viewable online.

The Story of Colorado. Colorado State Board of Immigration. 1917.

170 page history of Colorado. Farming, mining, and manufacturing. "Colorado is a young State." "Colorado is a rich State."  "Colorado is a big State." "Colorado is a beautiful State." "Colorado is a delightful home State." "Colorado is a land of opportunities."

Web-Local City/County History

Here are some web links to some resources for local Colorado history.

Colorado State University History and Buildings. Doug Ernest, Naomi Lederer. Colorado State University Libraries. 

Lists books and Web sites with CSU's history.

Poudre River Public Library District. Geneaology and History. City of Fort Collins, CO. 

Public Library databases and links to online resources that include local history. A CSU ID card can double as a public library card (stop by the Loan & Reserve Desk in Morgan Library). Note: some databases may only be used on-site inside public library location(s).

Flooding History. City of Fort Collins, CO. 

Overview of selected water disasters from the history of the city. Includes safety and preparedness tips.

Fort Collins History Connection Online Exhibits. Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and Poudre River Public Library District. 

Online exhibits are arranged by: Anecdotes, Ethnic Groups, Fort Collins in the 1940s, Larimer County Farms and Ranches, and more. The History Connection also has an Archive (located at the Museum of Discovery).

FCMR History: The Early Years (Fort Collins Municipal Railway). Fort Collins Municipal Railway Society. 

History of the railway from 1907 to the present. Page goes to early years. See also: The Birneys Arrive; Car 25 Returns; and FCMR Equipment Roster.

Larimer County Courthouse History. Larimer County Justice Center.  Courthouses since 1861.

Morgan Library History and Buildings. Doug Ernest, Judea Frank. Colorado State University Libraries. 

Directors, Buildings, Library Names, Collection Size, Art Work, Chronology, Sources, Overview and Photos.

The Recorded Climatic History of Fort Collins, Colorado. Nolan J. Doesken, Assistant State Climatologist, Colorado Climate Center, Dept. of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University. 

Color contrast on page a bit iffy, but a nice chronological list of weather events in Fort Collins. PDF version is available at foot of page (recommended).

Water Resources Archive. Colorado State University Libraries Archive. 

"Subject areas include water resources management, engineering, law and legislation, endangered species, and more. Geographic coverage focuses on Colorado but extends across the American West and around the world."

Executive Residence

There is online information about the history of the Governor's Residence which includes photos and a 360 tour.

Executive (Governor's) Residence.  Select History from menu for History of the Governor's Residence at the Boettcher Mansion.

Media gallery as of January 2015 has Slide Shows and 360 degree interactive tour.

Legislative Branch

Here is a link to find more information about the House and the Senate.

Colorado General Assembly.  House and senate. Contact information, services agencies, general legislative sources.

Identifying Books

Identifying Books in the library catalog

Items may be requested from other libraries in Prospector, the Colorado Union Catalog, by Colorado State University affiliates. Do a Subject search for these terms in the catalog (and Prospector) to identify books about Colorado history:

  • Architecture, Colorado (see also subdivisions)
  • [City] Colo. History
  • Colorado Antiquities
  • Colorado Biography
  • Colorado Description and travel.
  • Colorado History
  • Colorado History, Local
  • Colorado History Civil War 1861-1865
  • Colorado History to 1876
  • Colorado History Miscellanea
  • Colorado Pictorial works
  • Frontier and Pioneer Life -- Colorado
  • Gold Mines And Mining -- Colorado.
  • Historic Buildings Colorado [city/county]
  • Indians of North America Colorado
  • Pioneers Colorado [city/county/Biography]
  • Silver mines and mining Colorado

Indexes & Abstacts

Here are some useful indexes and abstracts for research.

America, History & Life. 1954- . 1964- online via "Databases." (Only one CSU user at a time.)
Z 1236 .A48 Reference Shelves (1954-1994).

America: History & Life is a useful index to research articles and books.

Search for: Colorado, Colorado (Denver), Colorado (city), Gold rushes, etc.

Academic Search Premier. Various starting dates. 

Do a subject search for: Colorado History.

Colorado's Historic Newspaper Collection. 1859-1923. Collaborative Digitization Program. Colorado State Library.

Colorado Historical Society. Institute of Museum and Library Services.  Search Colorado newspapers from before Colorado was a state. Full text images available (of widely varying quality--from excellent to unreadable; unclear images are from sources in bad condition) for over one hundred newspapers. A growing collection. Some papers have only a few months available, others have a few years available. Click on highlighted area for larger image of that section. This is a fabulous collection of contemporary resources! For useful suggestions for searching historic newspapers (and this collection), click on the "Tips on Searching Historic Newspapers" link on the left-hand side of the initial search page.

Project MUSE. Various starting dates.

Other States

Here is a useful site if you are looking for information on other States.

NGA Online.  National Governor's Association site.  Gives names of governors of U.S. states and territories.

For U.S. History, see United States of America (History).

As in all research, be sure to evaluate what you find, be it an article, book, or Web page.

Author Information

Content: Naomi Lederer


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