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And the West is History: Animas Forks Flower Harvest for Denver Convention – 1911

The city of Denver hosted the 1911 National Real Estate Exchange Convention in July. A few weeks before, Denver Chamber of Commerce members touring the area around Silverton were astounded by the beauty of the Colorado wildflowers at Animas Forks. They inquired if some blossoms might be gathered to decorate the main exhibit hall of the convention. Otto Mears, the prolific builder of toll roads and railroads in the San Juans, organized a group of Silverton residents to harvest and ship more than 110,000 wildflowers to the Denver event. Mostly Columbines were collected, but about 10,000 Sweet William Pinks were also sent. According to The Rocky Mountain News, the flower display was the highlight of the event. Though probably not directly related, in 1925 Colorado passed a law severely limiting the harvesting of the Colorado state flower, the Columbine, from public lands. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org (Catalog Number: 02.70.47 from the La Plata County Historical Society Photo Collections)

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