Society for the History of Discoveries


    Wes Brown Photo    

Wesley Brown

Founding Member, Past President
and Program Director
Rocky Mountain Map Society


How the 1859 Gold Rush put Colorado on the Map


In the spring of 1858, Colorado's Front Range area was uncharted and inhabited only by natives. But by the close of 1859, 100,000 fortune seekers had thoroughly explored the Front Range, north of Pueblo to the Wyoming border. In their quest for gold, they left their footprints on the landscape, establishing dozens of settlements and blazing numerous trails. This slide show and lecture will explore Coloradoís gold rush and how this important chapter of history influenced Colorado maps of today.


Wesley Brown has been a map collector, student, and author for forty years. He collected early world maps up to the year 1540 and exploration and settlement of Colorado. A Denver resident, he co-founded the Rocky Mountain Map Society in 1991 and served as its President for its first seven years. He has served as the Co-Chairman of the Philip Lee Phillips Society (the national map and geography society of the Library of Congress). Wes has long been associated with the Denver Public Library, as one of its mayoral-appointed Commissioners where he served as President and where he is still involved assisting with acquisitions for the DPLís important western collections.