The Tall Chief

The next time you’re enjoying a beer at the Wynkoop, how about raising a glass to the co-founder of the city of Denver. Edward Wanshaer Wynkoop was originally from Philadelphia. Seeing no future in the family business because of 3 older brothers, he decided to make a name for himself by heading west. In 1857 the President appointed James Denver to the office of Kansas territorial Governor to try and end the fight between free-soilers and pro slavery advocates. Wynkoop introduced himself and became an advocate for the new administration. Later he became sheriff of Arapaho County and set about securing legal authority over other perspective land owners. Later Wynkoop met up with a group led by William Larimer, the Arapaho County Treasurer, who urged him to forge on to Cherry Creek because of rumors that independent prospectors might take the land. When they got there they found Charles Nichols and William McGaa guarding the claim they staked out and named St. Charles. It was Larimer who negotiated a deal with Nichols and McGaa to to add their new partners to the original St. Charles incorporation. Even though McGaa objected, Wynkoop’s party suggested that the new town be renamed Denver City. After a perilous 700 mile journey, Wynkoop and A. B. Steinberger arrived in Lecompton and convinced Governor Denver to intercede and the bill was passed. You can learn more about Edward Wynkoop by checking out The Tall Chief The Autobiography of Edward W. Wynkoop available at the Colorado State Publications Library.
State Publications Library Staff
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