Have you ever rocked out on the rocks?
Once upon a fleeting time, Major Stephen Long began an adventure exploring new territories throughout the United States. He was a man of many talents, and best known as a railway engineer, topographical engineer, inventor, and an army explorer. He even helped with the design of steam locomotives!
Did you know that Long’s Peak, a popular 14er in Colorado, is named after Stephen Long?
Major Long headed up an important expedition through our beautiful state of Colorado with two artists, Samuel Seymour and Titian Ramsay Peale.
Mr. Peale was a naturalist and scientific illustrator. He liked to draw pictures of butterflies, birds, plants, and other specimens. His drawings and collections have been used for scientific studies, and help us understand more about the natural world we live in.
Mr. Seymour was an engraver and a landscape artist. He especially liked to turn his sketches into watercolors. His paintings are some of the first pictures we have of the Rocky Mountains and the Platte River in Colorado.
Seymour and Peale are among many artists that have contributed to the preservation of American history with their works of art from the 18th century to present day. Their work can be seen at Denver’s American Museum of Western Art in the permanent display of The Anschutz Collection.
Stephen Long also discovered one of Colorado’s most famous destinations, Red Rocks Amphitheater, which was officially designated a national historic landmark in 2015!
First opening back in 1941, this popular venue gets its name from the red hued rock formations that encompass the amphitheater that was built into them. The shades of red occur due to minerals, like iron, that have oxidized. The rocks all have names, such as Ship Rock and Creation Rock, which are taller than Niagara Falls!
The area surrounding the amphitheater is known as Red Rocks Park. It spans over 600 acres! Before the park was owned by the City of Denver, it was a favorite spot for the Ute tribe to set up camp. The rock formations created a natural shelter from the weather.
John Brisben Walker did the dreaming, and Denver architect Burnham Hoyt did the designing. Walker envisioned a grand stage where all types of entertainers could perform.
And perform they do!
From music concerts to playing movies to running up and down hundreds of stairs for some fitness fun, there is always a performance going on.
The Colorado 9/11 Stair Climb is held there every September 11th. First responders and community members climb the stairs as a way to reflect on and honor the fallen heroes.
Imagine yourself twistin’ and shakin’ to some groovy tunes on top of these magical rocks, hiking around the trails on a search for the biggest dinosaur fossil you can find, or just simply sitting and thinking about all the history and secrets these red rocks hold!
Learn more about Major Stephen Long and the people and places in this story on Wikipedia!