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Colorado Fun Facts & Trivia

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The Town of Fruita, Colorado, wanted something other than the usual "pioneers" to focus on for Colorado Heritage Week, so the city revived the story of Mike the Headless Chicken. In the 1940's, farmer Lloyd Olsen went to get a chicken for dinner. Wanting to leave as much of the neck as possible, he lopped off the chickens head as tightly as he could. However, because of a bad aim with the ax, the chicken did not die, and continued to "peck" for food as it walked around the yard. Amazed, Olsen started feeding the chicken with an eyedropper. The headless bird, dubbed Mike, appeared in Life magazine and traveled to exhibitions around the country. Mike lived for 18 months after his head was chopped off.  Today, Fruita's Mike the Headless Chicken Festival is a great success.


Seventeen flags have fluttered over Colorado.


In the midst of the most mountainous state in the nation, a Tropical Bug Museum can be found southwest of Colorado Springs.



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Mike, the Headless Chicken


Colorado is the only state ever to turn down the Olympics.  In 1972, they stunned the world when residents said they didn't want the 1976 Winter Olympics. In a landmark vote on November 7th, 1972, the voters said by a 62% percent majority that they were unwilling to host the Olympics because of the cost, pollution and population boom it would have on the State Of Colorado, and the City of Denver.


Guests stayed in Denver hotels at their own risk until the first hotel with locks on the doors opened in 1872. Reported one newspaper at the time: "Guests may lie down to peaceful slumbers, undisturbed by apprehensions of getting their heads blown off."

The Smuggler II Mine near Aspen produced the largest silver nugget in the world in 1894. It weighed more than a ton.


Colorado has one of the only working diamond mines in the United States near the Colorado- Wyoming border.


St_Elmo.1880.DenverPublicLibrary.jpg (255x164 -- 13349 bytes)Colorado has almost as many dead towns (about 500) as live ones (650). Mining booms and busts left the mountains littered with more than 300 ghost towns that fascinate locals and tourists. The eastern plains and western canyon lands are also haunted by more than 200 ghost towns.


In 1863, one of Nevadaville's mines, the Pat Casey (later the Ophir), was sold to Wall Street speculators. Stock shares of Nevadaville's mines were thus the first of any Colorado corporation to be quoted on the Big Board.


Millions of cattle came north along the Goodnight-Loving Trail, a 19th-century route from Texas through Colorado to Cheyenne.


The Buckhorn Saloon (est. 1860s) holds Denver Liquor License #1.


The largest building made out of ice in North America was built in Leadville in 1895. It covered more than 3 acres, with towers as high as 90 feet. Shaped like a medieval castle, it had two ballrooms and a 16,000-square-foot skating rink. Leadville's Ice Palace opened January 1, 1896 but was forced to close two months later because of unseasonably warm weather. To read all about the Ice Palace click here.


Colorado's youngest prisoner was 11-year-old Antone Woode, convicted in 1893 for murdering a neighbor. He served 12 years.


President Theodore Roosevelt signed his name in hotel registration books all over Colorado. Among them: Denver's Oxford Hotel and the Brown Palace and the Beaumont Hotel in Ouray. It was during his stay at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs that the Teddy Bear was allegedly invented, when some hotel maids sewed and stuffed a toy bear for the president to cheer him up after a fruitless grizzly hunt.



On August 15, 1870, Kansas Pacific construction crews laid 10 miles of rail, the longest segment of track ever built in one day.


It is now a ghost town, but in 1861, Nevadaville outside Central City was larger than Denver.



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Nevadaville, 1865, courtesy Denver Public Library


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