Did you know? (Denver tidbits)

Now that we have been living in Denver for a couple of months, I decided to explore a little more about this city via the Internet and share with you. I’m using Wikipedia and www.hometodenver.com as my sources. Feel free to peruse those sites for more information. Gosh, you could find out something that I need to know!

Did you know that Denver is called The Mile High City because it is 1 mile in elevation about sea level? That’s right, 5,280 feet. There is a spot on the west steps of the state capitol building where it is exactly 5,280 feet. While I’m mentioning “city” and “state” in this section, it is quite interesting that there is Denver the city and Denver the county. Denver the city is Colorado’s state capital.

Did you know that Denver has the 2nd largest park system in the U.S., with 205 parks within the city limits and 20,000 acres in the mountains? There are 650 miles of urban trails. Denver B Cycle has arrived in Denver. It is a program where one can rent a bike from numerous bike kiosks for a quick commuting jaunt or for multiple days as a visitor. (Chicago also has this program). With all of the opportunities for an active lifestyle and unbeatable climate, Denver is rated the “thinnest” city in the U.S. and ties for 1st place with Hawaii as the “thinnest” state in the U.S.

Did you know that Denver has over 300 days of sunshine as recorded by The National Weather Service? According to the weather records, that is roughly 3,100 hours of sunshine annually. (Folks, we receive more sunshine than San Diego, CA)! Our average temperature is 64 degrees F. (I’m convinced that those upper 90 degree days throughout most of August and September help to keep this average so high.) Annually, Denver receives an average of 15.81 inches of precipitation. We have an arid, continental climate, but experience 4 distinct seasons. Winters can be cold and dry with record lows down to -25 though average winter temps are mid-40s to low-50s. Golf courses remain open throughout the year. When it does snow, the snowfall quickly melts. (Ok, but will I get to snowshoe in this city?) The snowfall in the mountains can have significant accumulations, which sets the stage for wonderful downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and other winter sports. Now the other key point is that Denver receives an average accumulation of 61 inches of snowfall, which translates into roughly 6 inches of precipitation (snowfall in inches divided by 10=inches of precipitation). Keep in mind that those 6 inches are included in the 15.81 inches of annual precipitation! Yikes! We had around 15 inches of rain over Jeremy and Michelle’s wedding weekend, September 12-14, 2008 back in Illinois.

Did you know that Denver was founded in November 1858 during the Pikes Peak or Bust Gold Rush? Where the South Platte River meets Cherry Creek, some flakes of gold were found. This area is now Confluence Park and a popular spot. With the discovery of gold throughout the mountains, Denver continued to boom. It was also a prominent city on the plains since agriculture was big along the foothills. Denver was coined, “Queen City of the Plains”. Stately and elegant mansions, streets, parks, statues, and fountains were a part of this boom period.

Did you know that Denver has a terrain that is considered high plains with rolling hills? Although I’m also reading that it is considered one of the flattest cities in the U.S.! Of course, coming from Chicago’s far-western suburbs and northern Illinois, flat is something to which we’re accustomed. It is amazing that where Steve’s Mom lives in Centennial, 10 miles south of us, she lives at 600 feet higher in elevation than downtown Denver. Chicago’s elevation along the shore of Lake Michigan is 577 feet and Johnson’s Mound, the highest point in Kane County, Illinois 45 miles from the lakeshore, is just 801 feet. From where we live in Denver, we are a 20-30 minute drive to the foothills to the west with elevations of 8,000-11,000 feet and on our way to The Front Range with some 14,000 foot peaks. Ah yes, Rocky Mountain High (thanks John Denver).

Did you know that Denver‘s estimated population in the 2009 was 610,345? Including the metropolitan area, the population is roughly 2.5 million. To lend a perspective, Chicago has a population of 2.8 million people and the Chicago metro area as over 9.5 million people. Our former community of Batavia, IL has 27,300 people. In estimated terms, we could fit nearly 89 Batavias into the Denver metropolitan area. My hometown of Belle Plaine, Iowa has 2,878 residents, so guess 890 Belle Plaines would fit. This math stuff is fun!

We continue to adjust to life in our new neighborhood, community, church, shops, DU, and to living at a distance from our family and friends back in Batavia. We enjoyed such a great visit from our daughter, Steph, for several days this past week. We took in several meals at area eateries with her and Steve’s Mom. Friday was special as we headed to the mountains to capture some fall colors. Kenosha Pass, Breckenridge, Frisco, down to Idaho Springs. Then up to Mt. Evans Road to Summit Lake. Echo Lake was dashing with the colors, lake reflections, blue sky, etc. Our return to Denver was via Squaw Pass which had brilliant colors and outstanding views. Yesterday a 45 minute video chat was a perfect update with Jeremy and Michelle.

As we continue finding out neat tidbits about Denver, I’ll be happy to share them with you. May this update find you taking time to absorb the fall season, its colorful pallet, delicious apples, pumpkin patches, blue skies, crisp mornings, and a happy heart.

Much love,

Diane (& Steve)

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