Saturday, August 17 –
This morning Jeff and I walked down the 16th Street Mall, a pedestrian mall that is 1.25 miles long in downtown Denver. It is the city’s 16-block hub of shopping, dining and entertainment with a free shuttle service that stops at each block along the way. Nearby are Coors Field, the Pepsi Center and City Lights Pavilion. We walked this SoDo area, South Downtown to the beautiful Capitol Hill area.
Colorado’s state capitol building was built in the 1890s from Colorado white granite. A spectacular gold dome consists of real gold plate that was added to commemorate the Colorado Gold Rush. The main entrance hall is open 180 feet to the top of the dome. Colorado Rose Onyx, a rare rose marble from a quarry near Beulah, Colorado, makes up the walls. White Yule Marble from quarries near Marble, Colorado make up the floors. Outside the west entrance, Denver’s official elevation is measured. The fifteenth step is famously engraved with the words ‘One Mile Above Sea Level.’
Then we visited the Denver Art Museum, one of the largest art museums between the West Coast and Chicago. The fantastic American Indian Art Collection of Native American art has over 16,000 works representing over a hundred First Nations and Native American tribes from across North America. We saw a controversial exhibit on the Sand Creek Indian massacre, one of the state’s darkest chapters. A U.S. Army force led by Col. John M. Chivington killed more than 160 Cheyenne and Arapaho, most of them women, children and the elderly, in 1864. Officials at the time insisted the attack was to avenge Native American raids on white settlers and kidnappings of women and children.
As a last stop, Jeff and I visited the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City – Denver Branch. We got a unique view of the Fed Reserve system by learning how it functions, how the payments happens and how the Fed promotes a healthy economy. Incredibly, the tour was free!
This afternoon we visited Red Rocks, 15 miles west of Denver in Morrison. Much more than a concert venue, it is a park with hiking, biking, dining, wildlife, geological wonders and fantastic views. Red Rocks Amphitheatre is the only naturally-occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheatre in the world, that has attracted top artists from The Beatles to George Strait to U2. Opened in 1941, approximately 9,525 people can sit in the amphitheatre with anunobstructed view of the stage. Two, three hundred-foot sandstone monoliths (Ship Rock and Creation Rock) provide acoustic perfection for any performance. The views of Denver were stunning.
Went back to the Marriott downtown for a last night. In the morning we have to fly back to Atlanta. What an amazing time in Colorado and Wyoming. Now we have to come down from this Rocky Mountain High!