Was Colorado Founded On A Hoax?
If it wasn't for the gold rush, the statehood of Colorado may have been delayed decades.
The gold rush of 1858 brought hundreds of thousands of people to Colorado, the beginning of several hoaxes that encouraged people to move to the state and find their riches.
One of the stories involved a prospector who told people there was so much gold if you put a blade on the front of a sled and slide down Pikes Peak you could pick up the gold shavings.
Daniel C. Oakes also told tall stories to encourage folks to move to the area and prospect for gold, saying:
The whole country between the Cache la Poudre and Cherry Creek is a beautiful rich valley full of mountain streams of living water and exceedingly rich in gold.
Disillusioned prospectors returned home with no gold. They also hung Mr. Oakes in effigy with fake tombstones and a sign saying:
Here lies D.C. Oakes
Author of the Pikes Peak Hoax
It was the lure of gold and instant riches that drew people to the state and ultimately led to Colorado's statehood. The reality was, gold was not as easy to find, leading to two-thirds of 100,000 people returning home.
But the wheels were turning and the journey to statehood was already being made.