Western History & Genealogy Blog


The Hermanos Penitentes of Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico

Procession of Hermanos Penitentes, Z-6120
Hermanos Penitentes, AUR-2196
Whips of the Hermanos Penitentes, 6118

Newspapers once called the Penitente community “a ‘secret’ and ‘strange mountain cult’ enacted by ‘swart hot-eyed Mexicans and half-breeds’ that needed to be exposed” (

Weird Photo Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Weird Photo Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Weird Photo Wednesday is Back for 2014!

Start pedaling, because this dirigible or blimp is not going to get you flying very high! Not sure what "I Will Jump Sunday Nit" means, but hey, if the young man can do it, more power to him.

In the Archives: Documentation of a 1929 Groundbreaking—Soil and All

Denver City and County Building
Envelope containing soil from the groundbreaking event
Mayor Benjamin Stapleton dumps a shovelful of dirt during the groundbreaking cer

Think archives only collect papers, photos, and films? Think again!

One collection found in DPL’s Western History and Genealogy Department has the dirt on Denver’s past.

A Joy Day: Sundays in Denver, circa 1901

A crowd of people gather around the pavilion and line the shores of the large lake, in City Park, ca. 1900. By W. H. Jackson.
32nd Avenue at Meade Street, Denver, between 1910 and 1930. By Louis Charles McClure. MCC-3852
Outdoor portrait of a picnic in City Park, between 1904 and 1915. By Charles S. Lillybridge. CHS-L1621

Reminiscences of a Blissful Sunday in Denver, circa 1901

Pearl Stevens Andrews (1896-1988) grew up in Denver’s Highland neighborhood during the early 1900s.

Weird Photo Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Weird Photo Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

And the only weird thing for today's Weird Photo Wednesday is...

that there is nothing weird today! Just wishing our customers and followers Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.

Denver, 1968: Led Zeppelin Makes American Debut

Denver Municipal Auditorium after renovations, 1940s. Postcard from WHG Undigitized Photo collection.
Rocky Mountain News article, December 27, 1968. Page 67.
Rocky Mountain News article, March 26, 1970. Page 63.

Think Denver doesn’t have much rock n’ roll history?

Nearly forty-five years ago, on December 26, 1968, legendary British rock band Led Zeppelin opened for Vanilla Fudge at Denver’s Auditorium Arena.

Weird Photo Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Weird Photo Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Ok, now where did Santa go? 

Why is he always leaving me here on this cold sleigh? He takes presents inside and just leaves me here in charge. He keeps bragging about all the cookies, milk and other goodies he gets.

The Department Store Experience, 1917

Interior view of the Daniels and Fisher store, circa 1902. X-22884
Daniels & Fisher building, 1911. By Louis Charles McClure. MCC-1564
Displays of dinnerware, silver, crystal, flowers, and lamps at Daniels & Fisher store, circa 1902. X-22888
Daniels & Fisher French Room, March 1903. X-22800
Page from Jessie Thompson's autograph book, 1881. WH1870

Does the stress of holiday shopping make you long for a stroll through an early 20th-century department store?

Teenager Elizabeth Thompson wrote about her visit to Denver’s legendary Daniels & Fisher Department Store in an English class composition dated March 12, 1917.

Weird Photo Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Weird Photo Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

What's her favorite girl scout cookie flavor?

Thin Mints, Samoas, Peanut Butter Patties...they're all good! And I'm sure the special guest in this photograph likes them all. Who wouldn't? And she's also selling Russell Stover candies. Yum!

Denver Dining of Yore: The Watrous Bar and Café

Interior view of the Watrous Café showing the trout pool (center), circa 1906. X-29454
Watrous Bar and Café menu, 1906. Menu collection, WH1509
Newspaper illustration of Kimmel trial, 1899. George F. Watrous scrapbook, -M822
Beer list from Watrous Bar and Café menu, 1906. Menu collection, WH1509

In 1909, the Watrous Bar and Café was called “the largest, finest and most completely equipped bar and café in the West” by the newspaper