Colorado Myths You Could Have Sworn Were True (and Some That Actually Are)

January 27, 2015

There are many different stories about our fair state. Some are true. Some are not. Either way, it’s a fun way to look at our history and how stories evolve over time. Here are some fun facts about where you live and what you can tell the out-of-towners.

Colorado is not actually the “healthiest” state.
Colorado does have the lowest adult obesity rate at 21.3%. That said, it’s still 21.3%! In 2004 it was 16.4% and in 1990 it was a mere 6.9%. We may have the lowest obesity rate, but it’s still going up. Boulder, however, holds the lowest obesity rate in the country at 12.4%. As far as the “healthiest” state, we are merely 8th on the list with Hawaii taking 1st.

The 15th step of the Capitol building is actually one mile above sea level… no wait, the 18th… no, no… the 13th….
Dubbed “The Mile High City,” Some of Denver’s landmarks are in fact located one mile – 5,280 feet – above sea level. One of said landmarks is on the Capitol steps. The fifteenth step of the Capitol Building was cut with the designation as "ONE MILE ABOVE SEA LEVEL." In 1969, this was found to be incorrect by Colorado State University engineering students who re-measured the site. To correct this, a brass plaque was placed on the eighteenth step. However, this was still found to be incorrect in 2003 as Metropolitian State College of Denver (now University) students measured and the correct marker was placed on the 13th step of the Capitol Building.

There are bodies buried in Cheeseman Park.
If you were ever curious where they got the idea for the classic horror flick, Poltergiest, look no further. In the late 19th century, Cheeseman Park was known as Prospect Hill Cemetery. This cemetery also included the area now known at Congress Park and the Botanical Gardens. As time went on and the land went through different owners, many of the remains were relocated -- but as many as 5,000 bodies were left behind.  It’s said that there are ghosts still wandering the area, so if you are out at night, you might not be able to trust your eyes. You can read the whole ghost story here.

Colorado does not have the most craft breweries in the country.
Make no mistake, Coloradans do like their beer and there are a lot of craft breweries. But according to the Brewers Association, Colorado is 4th in the country with 175 breweries. That’s 4.7 breweries per capita! Oregon beat us for the number one spot by a mere 181 breweries at 6.3 breweries per capita. Granted, since the ranking is based on the per capita number, we can still work to win it. So fear not beer lovers, every year the number goes up. Let’s get brewing!

Colorado is home of the highest suspension bridge in the world.
The Royal Gorge Bridge, located in Cañon City, spans 938 feet, is suspended from towers that are 150 feet high, and towers 955 feet over the Arkansas River. From 1929 until 2001, it was the tallest bridge in the world until the Liuguanghe Bridge in China was built. Although it is not the tallest overall bridge in the world, it is still the tallest suspension bridge and can take claim to being the tallest bridge in the United States.

Denver is the home of the first cheeseburger.
Although some may argue differently, no one ever tried to trademark the cheeseburger. This belongs to Louis Ballast who ran the Humpty Dumpty Barrel Drive-In in the 1930s. Although a restuarant owner in Kentucky claims to have invented it in 1934, in 1935, Ballast was awarded the trademark for the term “cheeseburger.” Ballast claimed he was looking for a way to make the meal a little better. After trying things like Hershey’s chocolate and peanut butter, he added the cheese. This combination won over his customers and the cheeseburger was born.  Although the drive-in has since burned down, there is a small stone monument on the site in memoriam.

What are some fun facts that you know about Colorado?