Denver's many colleges and universities range in age and study programs. Three major public schools constitute the Auraria Campus, University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and Community College of Denver. The private University of Denver was the first institution of higher learning in the city and was founded in 1864. Other prominent Denver higher education institutions include Johnson & Wales University, Catholic (Jesuit) Regis University and the city has Roman Catholic and Jewish institutions, as well as a health sciences school. In addition to those schools within the city, there are a number of schools throughout the surrounding metro area.
On November 22, 1858, General William Larimer and Captain Jonathan Cox, Esquire, both land speculators from eastern Kansas Territory, placed cottonwood logs to stake a claim on the bluff overlooking the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, across the creek from the existing mining settlement of Auraria, and on the site of the existing townsite of St. Charles. Larimer named the townsite Denver City to curry favor with Kansas Territorial Governor James W. Denver. Larimer hoped the town's name would help make it the county seat of Arapaho County but, unbeknownst to him, Governor Denver had already resigned from office. The location was accessible to existing trails and was across the South Platte River from the site of seasonal encampments of the Cheyenne and Arapaho. The site of these first towns is now the site of Confluence Park near downtown Denver. Larimer, along with associates in the St. Charles City Land Company, sold parcels in the town to merchants and miners, with the intention of creating a major city that would cater to new immigrants. Denver City was a frontier town, with an economy based on servicing local miners with gambling, saloons, livestock and goods trading. In the early years, land parcels were often traded for grubstakes or gambled away by miners in Auraria. In May 1859, Denver City residents donated 53 lots to the Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express in order to secure the region's first overland wagon route. Offering daily service for "passengers, mail, freight, and gold," the Express reached Denver on a trail that trimmed westward travel time from twelve days to six. In 1863, Western Union furthered Denver's dominance of the region by choosing the city for its regional terminus.
El primer contacto que tiene el público con una institución es a través dela Taquilla, por lo que el sistema de boletería le proyecta una nueva imagen corporativa actual y moderna además es interactiva con el cliente lo que les permite ofrecer novedosos servicios de ventas tales como: Preventas, Venta por Anticipo, Venta Múltiple para diversos eventos, Reservaciones Telefónicas, Ventas Corporativas, Abonos para una temporada, posibilidad de escoger sus asientos y ver su ubicación enla Salaa través de la pantalla, el manejo fácil y eficiente de fichas/cliente por medio del cual se puede obtener los datos que luego serán procesados y llevados a estadísticas reflejando el tipo de público y sus gustos artísticos, permitiendo realizar espectáculos de acuerdo a las consultas mostradas y asegurando así un volumen de asistencia satisfactoria. Facilita el control de venta por informes detallados y desglosados por eventos, lleva el balance de caja automáticamente por boletos vendidos, cantidad y por montos en Bolívares.
A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Denver sixteenth most walkable of fifty largest U.S. cities, though massive gaps in the city's sidewalks remain an oft-discussed issue. Many walkability advocates believe the city's need for pedestrian infrastructure is only growing as Denver and the Colorado Department of Transportation place the needs of cars over the needs of people by widening roads or the purposeful plowing of snow onto sidewalks during winter storms.
In 2005, Denver became the first major city in the U.S. to vote to make the private possession of less than an ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older. The city voted 53.5 percent in favor of the marijuana legalization measure, which, as then-mayor John Hickenlooper pointed out, was without effect, because the city cannot usurp state law, which at that time treated marijuana possession in much the same way as a speeding ticket, with fines of up to $100 and no jail time. Denver passed an initiative in the fourth quarter of 2007 requiring the mayor to appoint an 11-member review panel to monitor the city's compliance with the 2005 ordinance. In 2012, Colorado Amendment 64 was signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper and at the beginning of 2014 Colorado became the first state to allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use.
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In 1970, Denver was selected to host the 1976 Winter Olympics to coincide with Colorado's centennial celebration, but in November 1972, Colorado voters struck down ballot initiatives allocating public funds to pay for the high costs of the games, which were subsequently moved to Innsbruck, Austria. The notoriety of becoming the only city ever to decline to host an Olympiad after being selected has made subsequent bids difficult. The movement against hosting the games was based largely on environmental issues and was led by State Representative Richard Lamm, who was subsequently elected to three terms (1975–87) as Colorado governor. Denver explored a potential bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, but no bid will be submitted. In 2010, Denver adopted a comprehensive update of its zoning code. The new zoning was developed to guide development as envisioned in adopted plans such as Blueprint Denver, Transit Oriented Development Strategic Plan, Greenprint Denver, and the Strategic Transportation Plan.
Denver has many nationally recognized museums, including a new wing for the Denver Art Museum by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the second largest Performing Arts Center in the nation after Lincoln Center in New York City and bustling neighborhoods such as LoDo, filled with art galleries, restaurants, bars and clubs. That is part of the reason why Denver was, in 2006, recognized for the third year in a row as the best city for singles. Denver's neighborhoods also continue their influx of diverse people and businesses while the city's cultural institutions grow and prosper. The city acquired the estate of abstract expressionist painter Clyfford Still in 2004 and built a museum to exhibit his works near the Denver Art Museum. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science holds an aquamarine specimen valued at over $1 million, as well as specimens of the state mineral, rhodochrosite. Every September the Denver Mart, at 451 E. 58th Avenue, hosts a gem and mineral show. The state history museum, History Colorado Center, opened in April 2012. It features hands-on and interactive exhibits, artifacts and programs about Colorado history. It was named in 2013 by True West Magazine as one of the top-ten "must see" history museums in the country. History Colorado's Byers-Evans House Museum and the Molly Brown House are nearby.