Getting Around

Less than a hundred years ago, most people lived their whole lives within about 100 miles of where they were born. Travel was hard and cost a lot of money. Today, you can jump in a car or hop on a plane and go distances that your great-grandparents would have never believed in only a couple of hours.  Another word for getting around is “transportation”.  Join us as we take a look at how transportation has changed in Colorado’s History.

Transportation has changed a lot through Colorado’s history.

  • Native Americans, the first people to live in Colorado, used only their feet to get around. They walked everywhere! The hunted on foot and traveled on foot. Before the Spanish brought horses into Colorado, some Native Americans sometimes used dogs to help them carry items around as well. 
  • When the Spanish arrived in the early 1600s, Native Americans, known as the Ute people, traded for horses. The horse was the first big change in transportation in Colorado. Horses carried both people and things and made moving farther easier. In our area, the Spanish and Ute people used a route called the Old Spanish Trail to travel from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Monterey, California and places between.
  • In 1862, the US government passed the Homestead Act and settlers from the east started coming to Colorado to claim land. They used wagons or handcarts to carry all their possessions. The wagons were pulled by teams of oxen or mules while handcarts were pulled by people.
  • Stagecoaches were the next big thing. The first Stagecoach, the Concord Stage, was built in 1827. Once the settlers started to build roads in the west, stagecoaches were the best option for mass transport of goods or people across the west. Stagecoaches were pulled by fast, strong teams of horses.
  • In 1869, the transcontinental railroad was completed and brought the ability for train travel to the west. Huge loads of people and goods could be hauled across the country in a fraction of the time that any person could travel by foot or by horse. Towns along the railway lines boomed. Some railroads that were built in our area are the Bookcliff Railway, the Uintah Railway and the Denver and Rio Grande railroad.
  • The first cars in Colorado to be driven by the common people were likely Henry Ford’s Model T. It was the first car to be massed produced on a production line and by the mid 1920’s, cars were a common sight across the country and the world. The cars of today are the result of only 120 years of change and tinkering.


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