Denver

UNITED STATES

Denver — the “Mile High City’’ (from the sea, not the ground) is the“capital’’ of the Rockies* — the terminus, a century ago, of the Colorado Gold Rush.* In those pioneer days it was a rough shack settlement, where it was usual enough to see a man being hanged in the public square, after a trial by the citizens, for murdering his mate with an axe.

Founded in 1858 with discovery of placer gold at the junction of South-Platte River and Cherry Creek, Denver rapidly became the supply center for mining camps in nearby mountains. It remains the largest distribution center in the region extending from Canada to Mexico.

Since World War II, Denver has become center for smokeless industries. A tourist mecca, it is a gateway to vast recreational areas, including major winter sports resorts and more mountains than Switzerland. Until recently, buildings were limited to 12 stories. In the last 20 years or so buildings of up to 42 stories have been erected, with a 50-story buildingstarted in 1970.

Today it is a city, where a nineteenth-century past blends, architecturally, with a skyscraping present. The saloons where the pioneers caroused — the Grubstake Inn, the Glory Hole — have reopened their doors to the tourists. One is disguised as a mine, complete with pit-props and sacking. In another, behind “the only original swinging doors in the country’’, tinkles an ancient mechanical piano. The Glory Hole is dedicated to Diamond Lil, with candles in bottles on the tables and a Can-Can dancer, “bottoms up’’, on the ceiling. The shops on Sureka street abound with the Victoriana of the West-kerosene lamps, old pharmaceutical bottles, reproductions of old-fashioned trivets. The visitor may be photographed astride a stuffed bucking bronco or, on a Victorian tin-type, in the authentic costume of the Gold Rush era — a token of Bygone Days.