When people reflect on the background of the United States and how we got to the place we are, it is often mystifying. One of the most intriguing concepts of the spreading of the US is how it expanded. Beginning along the eastern shore towns, the European influence in this country grabbed onto its adventurous spirit until eventually our land spread from sea to sea. Looking at the western areas of the country can leave someone in awe if he or she were to think about the courage, determination, and grit that were necessary to leave behind the relative comfort of towns with family and friends as support and just head west in search of a better life. Denver is one city with such an incredible past. Denver was an unknown, unnamed place as far as the US settlers knew, but in 1858, the real growth of Colorado began. Green Russell and Sam Bates left their homes in Georgia and began the search for minerals (hopefully gold) in a place called Auraria. Now, we know that place as a modest, sort of suburban looking neighborhood in Denver, Colorado. Back then, though, it was part of the Kansas Territory. In any event, a little bit of gold was found, and then that was all some people needed to hear. Soon, brave men and their families were heading toward the great west that gave people wealth during the California Gold Rush and might just do so again. You can see this Old West history throughout modern day Denver, from the name of the football team – the Broncos – to the displays at the History Colorado Center, to the state-protected buffalo about half an hour just west of downtown Denver. Today, Denver welcomes all and embraces a progressive attitude with brave people. From the annual PrideFest to the laws making marijuana legal, you can still see the independent spirit of Denverites.