"The History of the Denver Weather Forecast Office"

Unofficial records of Denver weather had been taken by voluntary observers at various times and in a number of locations beginning November 7, 1859. These records were intermittent and somewhat sporadic.

After the creation of the National Weather Service as part of the Signal Service of the U. S. Army, Denver was chosen to be one of the official observation stations. Henry Fenton, a Sergeant of the United States Army Signal Service, arrived in Denver on November 6, 1871. Several days were spent locating a second floor room for an office at Larimer and G streets (now 16th Street). The instruments were installed and surveys were completed in order to obtain the exact height of the barometer. The first official observation was taken at 5:43 AM on November 20, 1871.

Observations continued to be taken by the Signal Service until the National Weather Service was made a Bureau and transferred into the Department of Agriculture on July 1, 1891. There was little change in the program of the Denver Weather Bureau at this time as weather forecasts for Colorado were prepared at Washington, D.C., or Chicago, Illinois, and received by teletype. Around the turn of the century new forecast districts were delineated and Denver was made the center for the Rocky Mountain district.

The Weather Bureau moved into the Post Office building at 19th and Stout Streets on January 1, 1916. On September 15, 1931, a weather observation office was established at Stapleton Airfield, Denver (name later changed to Stapleton International Airport). Upper air observations (radiosonde) began in July 1939 at the airport. The upper air observation program was transferred to the Air Corps at Lowry Field during World War II, and taken over again by the Weather Bureau in the fall of 1956. The forecasting unit moved to the airport in March 1941 while the city office continued taking observations downtown. At this time there were dual observing sites, one located downtown and the other at the airport.

On January 1, 1950, the Stapleton International Airport became the official Denver observing location for climatological purposes. On May 8, 1969 the office was moved to 2520 Galena Street in Aurora, adjoining the south side of the airport. In January 1982 the office, along with the observing program, was moved to the north side of the airport to 10230 Smith Road in Denver Colorado. In March 1995 the observing program was moved to the new Denver International Airport, while the forecast office remained at the Smith Road address. It wasn't until May of 1999 that the forecast office moved to its present location, at 325 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado.


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