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The World Looked Like One Robe

Location: West side of the Westin Hotel, north of 104th Avenue and east of Westminster Boulevard.
Artist: Communication Arts, Boulder, Colorado.
Year Installed: 2000.
How Acquired: Funded by the City of Westminster.
Comments: the history panel is located at the base of one of sixteen custom-designed light towers.

History Panel: The World Looked Like One Robe

Panel text:

The World Looked Like One Robe

A “teeming myriad,” “incredible numbers,” and “as far as the eyes could see.” These are just some of the superlatives that have been used to describe the number of buffalo that once roamed America.  It has been estimated that at one time there were over as many as 75 million buffalo in the United States.  These magnificent animals traveled throughout North American from the Rocky Mountains east to the Mississippi River and from Canada to Texas.  The buffalo had room to roam and were very hardy animals that lived and thrived when other animals might have died. They could go several days without water, yet their acute sense of smell enabled them to find it from miles away.  Plains Indians depended on buffalo for much of their livelihood. The animals served as an important source of food and shelter.  Buffalo meat was consumed fresh or sun-dried as jerky. Buffalo bones were used to make tools and buffalo chips were used as fuel for fires.  The hide was tanned and used as teepee covering and for clothing and moccasins.  Virtually every part of the animal was used in some way. As the west developed, a systematic reduction of the buffalo population began around 1830 when buffalo hunting became the main industry in the Plains.  By the turn of the century, just 70 years later, the buffalo population was reduced to a mere 300.  Conservation of the buffalo came slowly, but by 1894 congress passed the National Park Protective Act which instituted fines and threatened imprisonment for buffalo poachers.  In 1995 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated a population of over 200,000 buffalo in the United States.

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