Colorado State Capitol Virtual Tour
Although the first "statehood" movement was initiated at a meeting in a log cabin, later called "Uncle Woottons log cabin," at Auraria (West Denver) on April 11, 1859, the movement toward statehood was left unattained until seventeen years later. Many opposed the Territory and Statehood movements, and desired the status quo of dependency on the Kansas and Federal Legislatures. Upon the failure of the 1859 statehood movement a group of outraged citizens illegally organized the Provisional Territory of Jefferson. This homegrown territorial movement soon became unnecessary when an Act of Congress approved the organization of the Colorado Territory on February 28, 1861. The location of the permanent capital, or seat of government, became the center of much controversy and heated argument because every city and town in the newly created territory wanted the distinction that comes with capital city status.
The first territorial legislative assembly meeting at the pioneer settlement of Denver in September 9, 1861 was shoddy at best. The House of Representatives met in a small frame building on the corner of Larimer and G (presently McClintock). The Council, now referred to as the State Senate, convened at a brick building on the corner of Larimer and E (presently 14th St.).
Section 12 of the Territorial Organic Act empowered the Territorial General Assembly to establish their own capitol site. This was done by an act approved on November 5, 1861, which located the capital at Colorado City, between Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs in El Paso County. Despite having no accommodations for the General Assembly, Colorado City hosted the Second Legislative Assembly on July 7, 1862. They met first at a Dr. Paul Garvins log cabin on Colorado Avenue, which was later to be used as a laundry. As the log cabin was cramped and uncomfortable, the meeting was moved to the Lucy Maggard Hotel on Center Street where they were required to get their own wood and water, and clear out of her kitchen during mealtimes.
|Dr. Paul Garvin's Log Cabin|
Judge Wilber F. Stone remembered that, "They came in wagons, ambulances, horseback and on foot. Two old overland stage coaches, with four mules each brought loads from Denver and Gregory Diggings George Crocker [Speaker of the House]and his fellow member from California Gulch footed it all the way over the snowy range, across South Park and down through the mountains, 140 miles when he walked up and laid down his blanket at the door of the House of Representatives. He had been mining and possessed no other clothes than those he wore at his sluice box in the gulch."
While Colorado City does have the designation as Colorados first capital city, the territorys federal appointees never recognized it as such. Little was agreed upon except that the legislature would not convene at Colorado City again.
On August 14, 1862 an act was approved which established the capital as Golden City, even though the territorial officials called Denver home. The legislature continued to meet in Golden until December 9, 1867 when Denver finally became the official seat of government. The last Territorial Legislature met in 1875 at the Odd Fellows Hall on Lawrence Street.
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last modified June 20, 2003