What’s in a name?
The original name of the settlement in the area that became Denver was Bucher Thal, a combination of the surname of the first settler, Hans Bucher, and the German word for “valley.”
In 1851 Samuel Bucher built a store and hotel he called Bucherton, which became another way of referring to the settlement. When the local railroad station opened in 1863, it was called Union Station, which became the de facto name of the town that sprouted up around it.
Local tradition has it that residents didn’t like having a town named for its train station and accepted the suggestion from 19-year old Adam Brubaker to change it in 1881 to Denver, after the already booming town in Colorado sometimes called The Mile High City.
In recent years, Denver, PA, has taken to calling itself “The Mile Wide Town,” a moniker that appears on the borough’s website.
Rain at the Denver Fair
Since the first Denver Fair in 1981, the annual event has developed a reputation for attracting rain.
While that notoriety has some basis in fact, it seems to have more to do with several particularly rainy years, according to fair organizers and an analysis of news accounts of weather during the fair.
“While there have been some memorable Denver Fairs due to major weather events, we have had fairs with very little rain or no rain at all,” said Dennis Worley, president of the Denver Fair Association.
The Denver Fair was actually canceled in 2011 after remnants of Tropical Storm Lee caused major flooding in Denver Memorial Park, where the fair is held. In 1999, remnants from Hurricane Floyd rained out several days of the fair and in 2004 remnants of Hurricane Ivan also created some washout days.
A memorably rainy day in the fair’s early history was in 1989 when a week of rain preceded the event, flooding the Cocalico Creek and creating a soggy mess in the park. But the fair went on, although bulldozers had to be used to get the rides out after the final day.
LNP has reported on the Denver Fair 22 years times during its history and rain has been mentioned 11 times, with four of those reports for drizzle or scattered showers.
An Ephrata Review report on last year’s Denver Fair described drizzle, dreary clouds and muddy puddles on opening night.
“Looking forward to seeing you at the sunny 2019 Denver Fair,” Worley said.
From Denver to Mars
When NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover descended through the Martian atmosphere on Aug. 6, 2012, it was protected by a heat shield that included dozens of tiles machined at Weaver Industries in Denver.
Weaver Industries specializes in machining graphite materials for foundries. Those materials include graphite electrodes used in electric arc furnaces for steelmaking.
The heat shield Weaver Industries helped make for the Mars rover protected the science robot during its fiery entry through planet’s atmosphere, burning up in the process.
The Curiosity rover is still operational on the planet, continuing to take photos and investigate environmental conditions.
B-ball champions create town frenzy
With Cocalico High School, Cocalico Middle School and Denver Elementary School all within the borough, Denver really is the “the home of the Eagles.”
An in 1977, after the high school boys’ basketball team won the state Class AA Boys Basketball Championship, the celebration took over the town.
The victorious team was greeted with an enthusiastic parade through town, with community members subsequently donating enough money to send the players on a trip to Disney World.
Then, for two months afterward, some of the borough’s streets were renamed for the team’s coaches and athletes, with temporary tin signs placed over the actual signs.
“There were a lot of repercussions from that. Strangers from out of town kept getting lost,” former Mayor Charlie Messner said in a 2000 interview with the Intelligencer Journal, a forerunner to LNP.