1 Denver, CO: Union Station
Founded at the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, with a backdrop of the Rocky Mountain Front Range, Denver paints an iconic image of the American West. Historically, the city’s rapid growth can be attributed to four activities-the western expansion of the United States, ranching, farming and the extraction of precious commodities. Speculation and opportunities to “strike it rich” enabled Denver to develop quickly as settlers from around the country sought to make their fortunes in oil and gas, gold and silver. Alarmed that the transcontinental railroad would pass through Wyoming and not Colorado, residents of Denver rallied together to raise money to build a spur down to Denver (Moore, 2014). The city’s population grew in sync with the expansion of the railroads, and the rail helped to channel the form of that growth.