7 Denver Stories: Facts or Fiction?

What’s your favorite holiday story to tell? Are you ready for a few new ones?

Knowing more about a city you visit makes it more interesting and seem more personal. Do you know enough about Denver to appreciate it?

Whether you visit Denver for the first time or you’ve been a native for years, I bet you don’t know all the secrets of this historical place. Over more than 15 decades the city had to reinvent itself many times to stay afloat.

As a result, you hear many interesting facts about this place today. But which ones are true?

Let’s explore some of the most famous ones. Make sure you’ve got your facts straight when you’re sharing stories with friends.

Elvis and the Denver Sandwich

Yes, this story is based on fact. It reads like a fairy tale. What city doesn’t want the honor of being singled out for its cuisine? It gets even better if you get this respect from someone famous.

And in 1976 who was more famous than Elvis Presley?

This music legend and his friends once boarded a private jet in the middle of the night and flew to Denver. The reason? To eat Fool’s Gold sandwiches at the Colorado Mine Company.

Each sandwich was made of:

  • One hollowed out Italian loaf
  • One jar of jelly
  • One jar of peanut butter
  • One pound of fried bacon

I’m not sure if I would like such an unhealthy sandwich. But it’s the best Elvis ever had. And he wanted his friends to taste it too. This was enough motivation to take his friends to Denver in the middle of the night, order the sandwiches and fly home to Graceland after the meal.

This story is already enough to make Denver famous. But there are much more you’ll love. And yes, most of them are based on facts.

The Famous 13th Step

Here’s one of the best reasons to visit Denver and it’s all true!

Denver’s nickname is ‘The Mile High City”. Why? Because on the State Capitol’s 13th step you’re exactly one mile above sea level.

This is significant because Denver is the highest major city in America. No other city can offer you this feature.

300 Days of Sunshine

This story is unfortunately a myth.

Legend has it that Denver enjoys 300 days of sunshine each year. This myth dates back to the 1800’s. Methods for measuring weather and climate were quite primitive.

For this to be true no clouds should be visible for most of the year. Today airport stations record accurate data and this is what science tells us:

  • On average 115 days in Denver are clear each year
  • On average 130 days are partly cloudy
  • On average 120 days a year are cloudy

This is quite different from the legend, but it’s nice to think a city gets so much sunshine.

While Denver does get more annual hours of sun than many other cities, it doesn’t equate into 300 days of sunshine. It does, however, enable the city to keep its golf courses open throughout the year since the good weather is always a possibility.

Denver’s Sky is Bluer

If you believe there are 300 days of sunshine it’s easy to believe Denver’s sky is bluer too.

But there’s more truth to this story.

Denver’s high altitude means the city’s air is less dense than most other American cities’ and it contains less vapor. This makes the sky seem bluer than most other places.

Another fact confirmed!

The First Cheeseburger

This next story can’t easily be proven. All we have to go on is people’s opinions and what they chose to tell others.

The most popular story about the cheeseburger’s origin in America is this:

  • The year was 1935
  • Louis Ballast owned the Humpty-Dumpty Barrel Drive-in in Denver, Colorado
  • Louis made the very first cheeseburger and sold it to patrons
  • The dish became popular and then famous

This story is disputed by other states such as Kentucky and Wisconsin who claim their residents first thought up this meal. Yes, I would also want to be the inventor of this world famous dish.

But no other state had the courage to put up a stone slab to commemorate the event. Denver did. And I think that’s enough reason to believe Denver is the real winner. But I can’t prove it to you.

Denver said No to the Olympic Games

I think this is a story any city can be proud of.

Many communities jump at the chance of hosting events because it results in income and an increase in tourism.

Denver isn’t one of these communities.

For the 1976 Winter Olympics Denver withdrew its application to host the games. Why? Because they realized the negative impact it would have on their area through increased pollution.

The parks and nature reserves around Denver are proof that the city made the right decision years ago. This is a legacy worth leaving and a story worth sharing.

Exchanging a Name for Whiskey

And how do you think this city got its name?

It involves governors and whiskey!

In 1859 boundaries in the Wild West weren’t clear yet. Three towns existed close to each other, though the area was already known as Denver—named after a Kansas governor.

When it came to joining the small hamlets and officially naming the town leaders convened under the Cherry Creek Bridge. They discussed the name and Denver leaders asked one landowner to relinquish his rights to some land.

What did it take to convince them? For a barrel of whiskey, the other towns accepted the name Denver and the city was born!

These stories make me look at Denver with more respect and appreciation. It’s a unique city both in its natural setup and the events that took place over the years. Luckily its citizens loved repeating the stories so you and I can enjoy them. Now that you know the facts you can help others marvel at the tales too.

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