15 Things You Might Not Know About Colorado

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1. Colorado is known as the Centennial State because it was founded in 1876—100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

2. Many restaurants claim to have invented the cheeseburger, but it was Colorado resident Louis Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver who named it. (He tried to trademark the term in 1935 but was denied.)

3. At 53 square miles, Denver International Airport is twice the size of Manhattan.

4. Colorado Springs is home to the United States Olympic Committee's flagship training center, but Colorado is the only U.S. state that's ever turned down an Olympic bid. Denver originally won the bid for the 1976 Winter Olympics, but the state's voters later rejected it due to infrastructure costs and environmental concerns. Innsbruck, Austria, ended up hosting.

5. Fast forward a few decades, and now Denver's interested in hosting again, perhaps in 2026. Maybe.

6. In their early years, the Denver Broncos had a fight song. "Hail, Mighty Broncos, Pride of the West. Like the mountains tow'ring high, over the rest."

7. In 1982, Stegosaurus was named Colorado's official state fossil. 

8. The Colorado Alligator Farm in the San Luis Valley is the world's only high-altitude alligator colony at 7,664 feet above sea level.

9. No U.S. President or Vice-President has hailed from Colorado.

10. Trinidad, Colorado is known as the "Sex Change Capital of the World." It's been estimated that Dr. Stanley Biber performed 65 percent of the world's sex change operations from 1969 to 2003. Dr. Marci Bowers, a transgender surgeon, took over his practice in 2006, but moved it to California in 2010.

11. One thing the natives are still divided about: If they're officially called "Coloradans" or "Coloradoans." Some politically minded citizens prefer the portmanteau "Coloradicals."

12. More than 160,000 people participate in the Loveland Valentine Re-Mailing Program each year. The Loveland Chamber of Commerce and the United States Post Office have teamed up for the past 68 years to enable people to send valentines to their loved ones through the Sweetheart City. For the first two weeks of February each year, over 60 volunteers hand-stamp each card with a specially designed seal.

13. Constructed in 1905, the Kit Carson County Carousel in Burlington, Colorado, is the oldest wooden merry-go-round in the United States. It is also the only antique carousel in the country to still have its original paint on both the animals and the scenery panels. It’s open daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day—and ride admission is only 25 cents!

14. Thirsty? Colorado is home to over 200 breweries, which puts it behind only California and Washington.

15. The Stanley Hotel, in Estes Park, Colorado, is credited with being the inspiration for the haunted hotel in Stephen King’s The Shining. The Stanley capitalizes on its spooky heritage by selling a Ghost Adventure package—complete with a K2 Meter and REDRUM mug—to guests.

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October 5, 2014 - 5:01am
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