Golden, Colorado: M-Blem on Mountainside

Visitor Tips and News About M-Blem on Mountainside

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The Big M.

Golden, Colorado - M-Blem on Mountainside

There's an M on the side of the mountain in Golden. It's really there because students from the Colorado School of Mines painted it. However, when I moved to the area in the early 1980s, people told me the M on the mountain was there to show Texans that it was a mountain (since it was assumed Texans didn't really know what one was). Back then there was a great rivalry with Texas and there was even an annual event (in Twin Lakes?) called the Texas-Colorado Tomato War, which I believe has long since faded into oblivion.

[Laura Bloom, 12/10/2006]

M-Blem on Mountainside:
You can see it from pretty much anywhere in Golden, as long as you're east of the mountains.
Golden, Colorado - M-blem - Giant Letter on Mountainside

This is the world's largest lighted letter, signifying its allegiance to the Colorado School of Mines. It is a large letter "M" atop the face of Mt. Zion overlooking Golden, made of whitewashed rocks, and measures 104x107 feet, each leg measuring 10 feet wide. Every fall incoming freshmen bring new rocks up here to add to the M, whitewashing the rocks and themselves, and every spring graduating seniors come up here and get to take one of the rocks with them. The M was designed by CSM professor Joseph Francis O'Byrne in 1908 as an extremely difficult problem in descriptive geometry, and he succeeded in creating a letter that does not appear distorted from any angle. It is the second-oldest college letter monument in the nation only to the University of Utah's "U". It rests at 6,900 feet above sea level, on a slope of 23 degrees. CSM rivals have attempted to destroy it but they were not as well versed in explosives as the Miners. In 1931 the M was lit for the first time, and it has been continuously lit since March 19, 1932. Every holiday season since 1935 it has lit in red. Today its lighting system can turn the M into all sorts of creative color and shape arrangements at night, controlled from campus via telephone modem. It even counts down the days until the end of the semester.

[Richard J. Gardner, 11/25/2003]

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