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William N. Byers Papers

Identifier: COU:275

Scope and Contents

The William N. Byers contain seven letterpress books, correspondence, and annual and financial reports. I. Letterbooks include the correspondence of William Byers, containing faded brown copies of hundreds of letters written by him during 1864-1880 (box 1-2, book 1-7). CORRESPONDENCE deals with Byers may faceted business affairs in mining, journalism, water companies, railroads and real estate and reflects much of the economic temper of the state during that formative period (box 2, fd2). II. National Land and Improvement Company includes ANNUAL REPORTS of the company from 1873-1910 as well as FINANCIAL REPORTS of the company from 1873-1910 as well as FINANCIAL REPORTS from 1871-1907 (box 2-3, fd 3-20, 1-23). See also Hubert H. Bancroft Papers and the George Norlin Papers.


  • 1864 - 1910

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for access.

Conditions Governing Use

Limited duplication of materials allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Biographical / Historical

A native of Ohio, William Newton Byers was born in Madison County on February 22, 1831. The son of a farmer, he attended public schools in winter months only. He was a student of the academy at West Jefferson, Ohio, from 1848-1849 and in 1851 took up surveying, working for the government in western Iowa and Oregon. In 1853-1854 he was asscoiated with minin in California. Returning by way of the Panama Canal, he made his home in Omaha, Nebraska, where he became county surveyor and later first deputy U.S. surveyor for Nebraska. In 1854 or 1855 he was elected to the first territorial legislature or Nebraska.

Mr. Byers brought a printing press to Denver by wagon in the spring of 1859 to establish Colorado's first newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News, which he published and edited for 19 years.

He clearly foresaw the possibilities for the state and dif everything in hsi power to bring about its development. In 1864, he became interested in the mineral springs in Middle Park, where he sought to establish a resort area later called Hot Sulphur Springs in Grand County. He was also a partner in the National Land and Improvement Company which was organized in 1872 to developt the land of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, especially the towns of Manitou and Colorado Springs.

He aided in organizing the company which built the first telegraph line in the state and was also interested in and promoted the building of the Denver Pacific, the Denver, Utah and Pacific, the Denver & Rio Grande, and in fact, all early the early railroads in this region.

In 1893-1894, Byers was president of the Denver Chamber of Commerce. For many years he was vice president for the Denver tramway system. He was appointed postmaster of Denver for 1864-1867 and 1879-1883. Byers was also president of the Festival of the Mountain and Plain, the State Historical and Natural History Society, and Colorado Pioneer Society for many years before his death in 1903.


1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials



Newspaper man and promoter of Colorado's natural and cultural resources, William N. Byers (1831-1903) arrives in Denver in 1859 to publish the state's first newspaper, The Rocky Mountain News. He was Denver's first postmaster and later was interested in telegraph and railroad companies. He sought to establish resort at Hot Sulphur Springs and was a party to the National Land and Improvement Co. that developed Colorado Springs and Manitou. The collection contains 7 letterpress books or correspondence for 1864-1880 and the reports of the National Land and Improvement Co. for 1873-1910.


This collection is arranged into the following series: I. Letterbooks II. National Land and Improvement Company

Processed by: Doris Mitterling, Novmeber 24, 1981
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States