Colorado State Capitol Virtual Tour
The nine-foot by twelve-foot tapestry that hangs in the capitol honors the women who were integral in the settlement and development of Colorado. The tapestry was made to commemorate the state's centennial and the country's bicentennial in 1976. The title "Women's Gold" alludes to the yellow roses found in the mining camps. The words on the parameter of the tapestry are America the Beautiful written over a century ago by Kathryn Lee Bates after her visit to the top of Pikes Peak. This massive project that incorporated hand-stitched embroidery and appliqué on Irish linen, took 4,500 hours to complete, 1,600 expert artisans, 1,800 amateurs, and imported skilled artisans from thirty-eight states and nine countries.
The women immortalized in this tapestry are:
Chipeta - Chipeta was the wife of the benevolent Chief Ouray, leader of the Ute Indian Uncompahgre tribe. Their lives were dominated by attempts to preserve their traditional tribal way of life and at the same time keep the fragile peace between the Ute Indians and Colorado's territorial government. Chief Ouray and Chipeta went to Washington D.C. in 1873 for the signing of the second Treaty of San Juan. The delicate balance that Chief Ouray had developed faltered, and the Utes were ordered to live on a reservation. Ouray chose to die in his native land, but Chipeta believed it necessary to lead her people in their new life at Bitter Creek, Utah. Chipeta died at the age of eighty in 1924.
Mary Elitch Long - Mrs. Long moved to Denver with her husband in the 1880's intending to create an orchard able to support her husband's restaurant ventures. The Long's instead developed a zoo, theater, amusement park, garden, and carousel under the name of Elitch Gardens. A year after the amusement park's opening in 1890, Mary Long's husband died. Under her leadership a world class theater was created which attracted talent for over seventy-five years.
Frances W. Jacobs - Mrs. Jacobs was an ardent supporter of charitable organizations that assisted the poor, aged, hungry, homeless, and sick. She was the president of the Hebrew Benevolent Ladies Aid Society, founder of the Ladies Relief Society of Denver, instrumental in the development of the first Community Chest / United Way, created the first free kindergarten in the state, and supported the founding of the internationally recognized National Jewish Hospital.
Mary Coyle Chase - Mrs. Boyle Chase, in an attempt to lift the spirits of a war torn nation, created the theatrical play, Harvey which received an award for best play of 1944, and earned Mrs. Boyle Chase the coveted Pulitzer Prize.
Helen Bonfils - Mrs. Bonfils, heiress to the Denver Post, was one of Denver's greatest philanthropists. She used her influence and inheritance to build the Bonfils Theater and Denver's Performing Arts Center. She also produced several theatrical productions.
Agnes Reid Tammen - Mrs. Tammen was married to Harry Tammen, owner of the Denver Post. She spent much of her time and money in the creation and support of the Children's Hospital.
Dona Genoveva Salazar y Gallegos - Mrs. Salazar y Gallegos was the matriarch of one of the most prominent families in the San Luis Valley. The Gallegos family helped to found the town of San Luis in 1851, which was the first permanent town established in what was later to become Colorado. The family also opened a general store that is still operating today, which makes it the oldest running business in Colorado.
Dr. Florence Rena Sabin - Dr. Sabin is best known for her groundbreaking research into lymphatic vessels and tuberculosis. Dr. Sabin was the first female professor at Johns Hopkins University and was also the first female member of the Rockefeller Institute's prestigious faculty. After these accomplishments Sabin moved to back to her birthplace in 1938 to take up the position of Chair of the Interim Board of Health and Hospitals of Denver. The so-called Sabin Health Bills mandated stringent regulations regarding infectious disease, milk pasteurization, and sewage disposal. Dr. Sabin was also heavily published, and her work, An Atlas of the Medulla and Midbrain (1901) quickly became required reading for students of anatomy. These accomplishments did not go unrecognized. She was the first woman chosen for membership in the National Academy of Sciences, received numerous honorary degrees and represents Colorado in the Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol.
Ellen Jack - The lady also called "Captain" Jack left her home in England in 1872 after her husband and children tragically died. Moving to Gunnison, Colorado, Mrs. Jack opened numerous successful businesses, and spent much of her spare time prospecting. She was well respected by her male counterparts because of her marksmanship, business savvy, and overall tenacity.
Dr. Antonia Brico - Born in Rotterdam, Antonia Brico grew up in Northern California with her foster parents. Driven to become a conductor, she received her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1924 and became the first woman to receive a degree in conducting from the Berlin Academy in Germany in 1933. Her European conducting debut with the Berlin Philharmonic and American debut at the Hollywood Bowl made worldwide headlines. Dr. Brico moved to New York where she founded the New York Women's Symphony Orchestra in 1935. She settled in Denver, Colorado in 1942, taught conducting, piano and voice, founded various musical organizations, associated closely with composer Jean Sibelius and fellow Bach scholar Dr. Albert Schweitzer and led the Brico Symphony for over 40 years.
Olga Schaarf Little - Mrs. Little was the only burro pack train operator, also known as a jackwacker, in the United States from 1909 to 1947. She would strap a ton of ore and other goods to her ten burros and would transport these good between Durango and several mining camps for $20. Mrs. Little also went to Denver several times to teach city slickers how to properly pack a load onto a burro.
Aunt Clara Brown
Mother Francesca Cabrini - Mother Cabrini was sent to Colorado by the Catholic Church in order to tend to the religious needs of the state's numerous Italian miners. She became America's first saint. In her attempts to develop a school she purchased a beautiful, yet barren tract of land on Lookout Mountain near Golden, Colorado. After a brief search, Mother Cabrini discovered a spring which irrigated the land for farming. Mother Cabrini's work is immortalized in a shrine that stands on Lookout Mountain, and on a plaque at the Statue of Liberty.
Elizabeth Pellet - After performing on Broadway and in silent movies, Mrs. Pellet pursued a career in politics. Mrs. Pellet served eighteen years as Rico, Colorado's, representative, became the first female minority leader in the House of Representatives, and was the chairperson of the House Rules Committee. Mrs. Pellet spearheaded legislative efforts to provide equal pay for women, promote child welfare, institute handicapped educational programs, and further natural resource preservation.
Margaret Crawford - Filling a prairie schooner with her family of four, Crawford left Missouri with her husband on a thirty-four day journey to the Cherry Creek settlement. After a year of stasis the family traveled over the Continental Divide, a trek so difficult that it had to be done on foot. The family homesteaded in the Yampa Valley on the site of the future town, Steamboat Springs. Margaret Crawford established a lovely rose garden on their farm from one Harrison rose that she had brought with her all the way from Missouri.
Silver Heels - One of the most beautiful women in the Buckskin Joe mining camp (Park County) was known as "Silver Heels." When the smallpox epidemic invaded the camp, Silver Heels stayed to nurse the victims back to health but unfortunately contracted the disease herself. While she did survive, she was left scarred and disfigured. According to myth, Silver Heels left soon after she recuperated from the disease, never to be seen again. Some say they see her wearing a black veil, visiting the graves of those who died from the smallpox epidemic. In honor of her self-sacrifice a mountain near Fairplay, Colorado, has been named in her honor.
Patrica Mackintosh - Patricia was a "typical" teenager in 1976, and represented modern teenage girls. Her mother and she were instrumental in the development of this monument to Colorado's women.
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last modified December 14, 2012