(last updated 6/19/2023)
Do you ever think about what was here, before you were here? Before we all were here, with all of our roads, neighborhoods, houses, parks, buildings?
We could go way back, millions of years, when the area that would later be known as "Denver" was still submerged beneath the western edge of a vast interior sea.
Or we could go back not quite as far, maybe just 200 or 300 years, to a time when the only humans living in this area were those who belonged to the local Native American tribes. As they went in search of game, or moved their camps from one place to another, they formed trails, particularly along the streams in the area.
Settlers of European descent did not begin to arrive here in earnest until the 1850s, less than 200 years ago. The old Native American trail along the east bank of Cherry Creek started to be used by new groups of people, who referred to it as the Cherokee Trail, the Goodnight-Loving cattle trail, or the Denver-Santa Fe stage line.
(last updated 9/6/2022)
1992 was the first time I went through Norton. At the time I was not yet what I would describe as a "roadgeek", but I still thought this sign was worth stopping for a photo:
Prior to I-25, there was a different main highway that connected Denver to several of the Northern Front Range cities in Colorado. The number of this highway has changed a few times during the past century, but its general corridor has remained the same: it still runs through Ft. Collins, Loveland, Berthoud, Longmont, Lafayette, Broomfield, Westminster, and Denver. Not all of those cities had even been established at the time of the 1916 map shown below, but the highway corridor running along the Northern Front Range is readily apparent (going forward I will refer to this road as the NFRH, for "North Front Range Highway"):
The other day I was driving north on C-470, and I wanted to go east on the 6th Avenue Freeway towards downtown Denver. That movement is shown on the map below:
I rarely drive that direction along C-470, but I have lived in Denver for a long time, and I'm pretty confident about knowing my way around. So as I approached, I was quite certain that I would need to follow eastbound I-70, and that the exit for eastbound US 6 would come up shortly after that.
But then I saw this: the first sign that references US 6 on northbound C-470:
I am about to ask a simple question. It is not a trick question, so no reason to over-think it. The map below (like most maps) is oriented with north at the top. You might not be able to make out much detail, but that's ok, because all I want you to do is take a look at the highway shown in blue. And the question is simply this: does this highway run north-south? Or does it run east-west?
(Most recently updated 3/5/2022.) Today, Denver is served by seven different US routes (shown above), but when the US highway system was first commissioned in late 1926, only three routes went through Denver. AASHO officials acknowledged the city's importance by placing it at the junction of a major north-south route (US 85, which ran from a Canadian port of entry almost to Mexico) and a transcontinental east-west route (US 40, which connected Atlantic City NJ to the San Francisco Bay Area):
(most recently updated 5/25/2023)
In 2001 construction began on Denver's "T-Rex" project (TRansportation EXpansion). This involved widening I-25 and adding light-rail service along the corridor through the south metro area. It was a great investment benefitting Denver commuters, but one unfortunate casualty was the old Colorado and Southern Railway bridge over I-25 (and unmarked US 87), just north of Evans Avenue. The rail line had not been used for years, but its bridge was a cool landmark that provided a little extra character in south Denver.