Resources in the state of Colorado abound, from border to border. A natural beginning is the state capitol and largest city of Denver, but much can be found in small town historical societies, at museums and archives.
Certainly, the National Archives and Records Administration – Rocky Mountain Region, is one not to miss. This regional NARA site recently moved to a new location at 17101 Huron Street in Broomfield. (303-604-4740, M-F 8:30am – 4:00pm). The Denver location is the regional office for Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North and South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming, with records going back as early as the Revolutionary War. They also are hosts to workshops and educational sessions year round, so be sure to check their website or Facebook page whenever you visit.
Denver is also home to the Colorado State Archives and Public Records office and History Colorado; both of which hold vast collections of records, images, and artifacts. Make the best use of your time to the state archives by searching their online database before you go, and have your notes in hand.
As you travel across the state, be sure to refer to texts such as Here Lies Colorado: Fascinating Figures in Colorado History by Richard E. Wood (Farcountry Press, Helena, Montana. 2005). Focusing on the famous – and infamous – of Colorado history, Mr. Wood profiles their lives and final resting places. You can read the stories of Adolph Coors, The Bonfils, Barney L. Ford and The Tabors… ending of course with the great John Denver.
Keep your motivation going using the Colorado page on the FamilySearch Wiki for records research. Also utilize the “Toolbox” provided by Lawson Research Services, LLC. They have accumulated an index of online resources for every state, and then some.
Travel west into the mountains, and you will discover mining history at its best. Colorado’s gold rush began in 1895, and we celebrate it with fervor today. Towns such as South Park, Breckenridge, Leadville, Steamboat Springs, and Silverton all work hard to maintain their history and combine that with modern day living. Seeing it for yourself really makes a difference, so take the time to drive the high mountain roads and passes; and bring this with you: Colorado Mountain Passes: The State’s Most Accessible High Country Roadways by Rick Spitzer (Westcliffe Publishers, Boulder, Colorado 2009). Among the history and photographs is a brief description of the Irwin Cemetery, sitting atop Kebler Pass at 9,980 feet in elevation, perhaps the highest cemetery in the state.
And, of course, don’t forget about the Western Slope.