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Points Of Interest

Point #1
Let's go!

1441 18th St #300, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 0.04
  • Attraction : Starting Point

Welcome to Historic America & UCPlaces’ audio walking tour of LoDo. We’re glad you could join us! I’m Aaron, your guide (but I also respond to professional history nerd). This is the part of the tour where I fit in my shameless plug for our websites – (www.historicamerica.org & www.ucplaces.com – and invite you to use #historicamericatours on social media while traveling alongside us today. Now that you’ve arrived - let’s get you oriented. You’re standing at the intersection of Blake Street & 18th Street; just a half block away from our first attraction on tour – The Dairy Block. To get there head west along 18th Street. When you reach the middle of the block, you’ll spy the entrance to The Dairy on your right hand side. I’ll catch up with you there.

Point #2
The Dairy Block

1523 18th St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 0.16
  • Attraction : Shopping and Restaurants

As you travel west along 18th street, the Dairy Block appears as an alleyway overhung with lights and filled with outdoor seating on your right. It’s so named because the brick building on the right side of the alleyway used to be the location of Windsor Farm Dairy, which in the late 1800s supplied roughly 5,000 Denver households with milk delivery via its fleet of horse drawn milk tucks - this accounted for over 50% of the city’s population! Windsor Dairy’s founder, H. Brown Cannon created such a successful business that his company became locally famed for its superior milk and Cannon became the first Dairy inspector in the history of Colorado. I now invite you to inspect the area yourself by entering the alleyway. Take a look around! This alleyway that runs behind the old Windsor Dairy building is today known as ‘The Dairy’ and it boasts an upscale hotel location, unique retail district, and fun restaurant corridor – make sure to locate the Milk Market food court which showcases over a dozen local eateries. The Dairy is also an interactive art gallery showcasing Denver’s creativity through an ongoing series of live entertainment events, seasonal makers markets, and eye-catching murals alongside interactive art installations. One last factoid for you – this site was once owned by movie star and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who wanted to develop the area by constructing a first-run movie theater and Planet Hollywood theme restaurant. Unfortunately for Planet Hollywood, they went bankrupt and Arnold abandoned the idea. Oh well, no use crying over spilt milk. Speaking of which, at the end of the alleyway, look for a splashy art piece entitled ‘spilt milk’ which references the history of the neighborhood. Take time to explore and I’ll meet you on the other side of the alleyway.

Point #3

1527 19th St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 0.03
  • Attraction : Directions

As you exit the Dairy, turn right and walk to the intersection of Blake & 19th street. I’ll meet you there.

Point #4
National Ballpark Museum

1902 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 0.22
  • Attraction : Museum

Hang a left on Blake Street and walk north. The block ahead contains one of my favorite Denver sites – the National Ballpark Museum. You’ll see it on your right with a distinctive red sign reading GATE B over the entrance. As you approach the entrance, let me tell you about the museum. The National Ballpark Museum, formally named B's Ballpark Museum, is a private collection featuring one of the best arrays of Major League Baseball artifacts in the United States. The exhibits focus on items from the 14 classic MLB ballparks built between 1909-1923. During their era, these parks were the temples of baseball and their story was an inspiration to the Museum’s founder, curator, and President Bruce Hellerstein, who has made it his life’s work to acquire and conserve relics, bricks, postcards, uniforms , books, pictures, and anything else which tells the stories of these great and bygone parks. Hellerstein, now in his 70s, began his love affair with ballparks as a 2nd grader when he asked his parents to take him to a minor league game being played by the Denver Bears (a local ball club). He became fascinated by the ballpark and now Hellerstein wants to instill that same sense of wonder in all the children who visit this museum. For that reason, all visitors under the age of 16 are admitted free of charge. By now you should be standing near the entrance - and if it’s during operating hours, feel free to pay a visit! Highlights of the collection include a lightbulb from the first night game played at the former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Ebbets Field; a genuine, working turnstyle from Philadelphia’s now extinct Shibe park; a glorious, arched window & cornerstone from Forbes Field (one-time home of the Pittsburgh Pirates); and an original piece of the old Yankee stadium’s copper facade. Our tour continues as you walk on to the end of the block.

Point #5
Coors Field

1962 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 1.04
  • Attraction : Baseball Stadium

You’re now at the intersection of Blake & 20th Street. Across the way is Coors Field – home of Denver’s Major League Baseball team the Colorado Rockies. Born in 1993, the Rockies are a comparatively young ballclub – they still have a good decade until the midlife crisis hits. Their ballpark, Coors Field, is even younger, opening its doors in 1995. All that being said, Coors is now the 3rd oldest stadium in the National League. The team keeps the field in good shape by turning on the heat – literally. When Coors was first built, the Rockies had 45 miles of cable installed underneath the playing surface to make it the first ballpark with a heated infield and grass. The technology allows the maintenance crew to beat the Denver cold by melting early spring and fall snow, while also keeping grass green during dry summer months. Coors Field, like Denver itself, is known for its altitude, often being referred to as a mile high park. If you wanna be technical about it, the seats don’t reach a mile high until you hit the 20th row of the upper deck. There the seats turn purple to mark 5,280 feet exactly. The playing field itself lies 80 feet lower at a paltry 5,200 feet. Regardless of where you are inside, the high altitude makes for the type of thin, dry air that’s perfect for the long ball. In 1999, 303 homers were hit at Coors Field - the record for most dingers at any ballpark during a single season. The altitude can also make for chilly playing conditions. At 23 degrees fahrenheit, the coldest game in MLB history was played here in April of 2013 when the Rockies took on the Atlanta Braves. But enough about the stadium … what about the team? Although the Rockies have yet to win a World Series Title, they have made it to the post season five times. Their one World Series appearance ended in a loss – swept by the Red Sox in 2007. Their overall record from 1993 to 2022 is just below .500, but they do manage to stand out amongst other MLB ball clubs because they're the only ones with purple pinstripe uniforms. They also have a cool triceratops mascot named Dinger, because a dinosaur skull was unearthed at the construction site while Coors field was being built. How many teams can say that? Come to think of it, wouldn’t it have made more sense to call the stadium Jurassic Park? While you ponder that, walk northeast along 20th street to reach our next stop.

Point #6
Tattered Cover McGregor

1995 Wazee St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 0.16
  • Attraction : Library

If you position yourself near the fire hydrant here at the intersection of 20th & Wazee Streets you should notice two things. One – do you kind of feel like a dog on a walk, following me around and then having me stop you at the hydrant? And two, if you face toward the stadium and then look back over your left shoulder, you’ll notice a diagonal pedestrian roadway leading into the middle of the block. Take this roadway. It’ll bring you into one of the newest and coolest downtown stops in Denver – a mixed use, multipurpose playpen known as McGregor Square. Owned by the ballclub, McGregor Square is named after late Rockies President Kelly McGregor and it houses a whole host of hotspots throughout a building complex which sprawls over an entire city block. There’s a luxury condominium complex alongside the 182 room Rally Hotel. The Food Hall, Carmine’s and Grandstand Cafe are great restaurant options as is Tom’s Watch Bar – a two story sports bar behemoth that boasts a huge stadium screen and Top Golf Swing Suite indoor sports simulators. You can find the Rockies Hall of Fame here as well as a 28,000 square foot outdoor plaza where non-ticketed fans can lounge on the grass and take in a game on the massive jumbo tron. The space is also used for concerts, festivals, movie nights, and even an ice rink in the winter. Once inside, feel free to pause the tour and take a look around. My favorite spot in McGregor Square is the Tattered Cover bookstore. The best loved independent bookstore in Denver, the Tattered Cover dates back to the 1970s and is truly a local institution with an ongoing emphasis on community outreach & events, book signings & lectures, and great customer service. Although its original store location is found elsewhere in the city, the Tattered Cover’s success has generated multiple outlets and they’ve become one of the largest independent booksellers in the United States. If you’re looking to pick up a good read on local history while you’re in town, the Tattered Cover is the place. When you’re done here in McGregor square, keep walking diagonally across the block and look for me at the corner of 19th & Wynkoop Streets.

Point #7

1701 19th St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 0.08
  • Attraction : Questions

Leaving McGregor Square behind you, walk south along Wynkoop Street to reach our next stop. As you walk, here are some Denver facts to keep you company. Did you know Denver is the capital of Colorado as well as the state’s most populous city? Over 700,000 people call Denver home and there are almost 3 million people in the surrounding metro area. Unlike many major American cities, Denver is not located near a river, coastline or railroad route. How did it get here? In 1858, gold was discovered in the region and Denver was born smack dab in the middle of nowhere as a boom town. It managed not only to survive, but thrive. Where does the name Denver come from? That would be the work of Henry Larimer who founded the city on Nov. 22nd, 1858, in honor of the territorial governor James W. Denver – the name was a ploy to appeal to governor Denver’s ego in the hopes that the newborn city would be chosen as the county seat of what was then Arapahoe County, in Kansas Territory. What a great suckup move! Keep walking and I’ll meet you up ahead.

Point #8
Wynkoop Brewing Company

1804 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 0.09
  • Attraction : Brewery

Here at 18th & Wynkoop, pause a moment to locate the brick building on the opposite side of the road with the prominent green awning over which are found the words “Wynkoop Brewing Company”. You’ve just located Colorado’s oldest craft brewery. The Wynkoop Brewing Company is a local favorite – future Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and a group of friends brewed their first pint here back in 1988. The brewery they created became a massive success and inaugurated a neighborhood comeback here in LoDo. Hmmm, small wonder John got elected governor. It’s a good story: Back when the brewery was born, LoDo was a ghost town - a sketchy skidrow neighborhood without much to offer. That was until Hickenlooper & company bought the century old J.S. Brown Mercantile building and installed a small brewhouse on the main floor. They named it Wynkoop Brewing Company after Denver’s first sheriff Ned Wynkoop. They then put 22 pool tables on the second floor and dubbed it Wynkoop Billiards. Beer & pool in the same spot! Two great tastes that taste great together. Wynkoop became a destination for gutsy brewers in need of a laboratory and a magnet for a local citizenry thirsty for suds. A thriving business and revitalized neighborhood were the end results. It’s said that the old mercantile warehouse building turned brewery still houses some of the ghosts of days gone by. These spooks do not seem to be malicious, however, choosing instead to play harmlessly hair raising pranks on the bar patrons and bathroom users while occasionally venturing upstairs to throw darts. Don’t believe me? Go inside, grab a beer and ask around. When you’re done here, keep walking south along Wynkoop street and I’ll meet you across the way from the entrance to Union Station at the end of the block.

Point #9
Denver Union Station

1700 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 0.04
  • Attraction : https://www.denverunionstation.com/
http://Train Station

From where you now stand, you should easily be able to locate the entrance to Denver’s great train terminal – Union Station – so named because it was built to centralize and bring into union all the train lines entering Denver. Originally built in 1881, the station was first known as the Denver Union Depot. Upon its completion, the station instantly became both the gateway to Denver and the largest building in the western United States at 500 feet long – an 1894 fire (begun because of faulty lighting in a women’s room chandelier) prompted a reconstruction effort which enlarged the building even further. A massive 1914 carved granite upgrade gave the building the look you see today. The 180 foot clock tower at center facing 17th street remains the building's most prominent feature. Designed in a grand Beaux-Art, Romanesque Revival style by architect William Taylor, Union Station is glorious to behold. At the height of its traffic in the early 1900s, the Station welcomed 50,000 passengers a day and greeted famous visiting statesmen such as Presidents Theodore & Franklin Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft. As the century wore on and train travel decreased, the station gradually fell into neglect. Luckily the 2000s saw a redevelopment project which created a new vision for the station as a shopping, dining, and cultural destination. A national historic landmark since 1974, Union Station is thriving once again. If you choo-choo-choose to, please feel free to go inside and walk around. That may also give you the time you need to forgive me for that terrible joke. When you’re done here, our tour continues by walking directly away from Union Station along the left hand sidewalk of 17th street.

Point #10
The Oxford Hotel

1625 17th St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 0.03
  • Attraction : Hotel

As you continue to walk away from Union Station along the north side of the road, look to your right across 17th street and take note of the building clearly marked OXFORD HOTEL at the end of the block. As you’re able, position yourself for a good view and stop for a moment to learn a bit more. The Oxford opened up less than a decade after Union Station was unveiled. It was Denver’s first true luxury hotel property and signaled the city’s transition from small town to high plains metropolis. The brainchild of local business tycoons who envisioned a first class hotel positioned to capitalize on the proximity of Union Station, the Oxford met with instant success. At over 35,000 guests a year in its early decades, the Oxford Hotel was often forced to turn guests away. All the foot traffic emboldened the hotel to add a cafe, basement barbershop, and five story annex; all of this with an accompanying ad campaign which declared to visitors, “Just through the [Union Station] welcome Arch. The Real Hub of Denver.” A major art deco redesign in the 1930s led into the war years of the 1940s when the Oxford was called upon to house untold thousands of traveling soldiers – so many that the mothers of Denver servicemen would set up shop inside the hotel lobby to serve hot coffee, doughnuts, and turkey sandwiches to the troops 24 hours a day. Similar to Union Station, the Oxford suffered in the post war years, but a major renovation in the 1980s returned it to the level prominence it still enjoys today. Throughout the generations, Oxford's most famous interior space remains the Cruise Room – the longest running bar in Denver history born the day after Prohibition’s repeal in 1933. Drawing its decorative inspiration from the famed Queen Mary cruise ship, the Cruise Room oozes vintage design features, with a wine bottle-shaped layout, art deco flourishes, and unique pumpkin coloring. It’s also said to be one of the more haunted locations in Denver, frequented by the ghost of an old postal worker forever trying to deliver Christmas gifts to children. I don’t know about you, but between Wynkoop Brewing and the Cruise Room, it seems to me that Denver ghosts are a thirsty bunch. If you need an exorcism at your bar, don’t call a spiritualist in this town , just say it’s last call. If you’d like to poke your head inside the lobby or maybe grab a cocktail, be our guest – or the Oxford’s guest rather. After all, it’s what they do best. Our tour continues further along 17th.

Point #11

1700 Wazee St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 0.05
  • Attraction : Directions

Nothing to see here, just some simple directions. Turn off 17th at this intersection and walk south down Wazee along the right hand sidewalk toward our next stop.

Point #12
Rockmount Ranch Wear

1631 Wazee St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 0.05
  • Attraction : Western Clothing Store

As you saunter down Wazee street, look to the left and pause when you have a good view of the brick building with lettering that reads Rockmount Ranch Wear. Rockmount is the most well known western apparel store in Colorado (if not the country) for those who have taste in such matters. And if you don’t, listen for a bit and perhaps I can interest you. Jack A. Weil (AKA “Papa Jack”) founded Rockmount Ranch Wear in 1946. He worked daily until age 107 becoming the oldest CEO in American history. His family says of him, “Papa Jack is to Western wear what Henry Ford is to the car.” We cannot disagree. What was the key to Jack’s success? In a word – innovation. You see, Jack created the first Western shirts with snaps instead of buttons – a key moment in the development and popularization of Western fashion. He was also the first to commercialize bolo ties while his son was able to develop an approach to marketing that successfully tapped customer interest east of the Mississippi River and (eventually) established a worldwide brand. Grandson Steve would go on to – quite literally – write the definitive book on the history of western wear and today oversees a company that manages 1,000 retailers from Tucson to Tokyo. Steve Weil describes his grandad’s legacy with the observation that, “Papa Jack didn’t just create a new kind of shirt, he started a whole new fashion. He gave those who identify with the American Western way of life a style tailored specifically for them. Rockmount stands out from other fashion companies because we have maintained a consistency of design across four generations. We go our own direction and don’t look to other brands for our inspiration.” The building you’re looking at now is Rockmount’s flagship store – known as the 1909 building after the year it was built. The store is among LoDo’s earliest businesses and unquestionably remains among Denver’s most influential retailers. Inside you’ll find 35,000 square feet and 5-stories full of Rockmount, shirts, hats, accessories and related apparel. Over the years, numerous celebrities have donned Rockmount wear both on and off screen – a short list includes Elvis Presley, John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Jack White, Bob Dylan, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Redford, Dennis Quaid and Woody Harrelson Perhaps you’d like to be the next name on that list. Go grab yourself a flashy yet functional snap shirt and I’ll meet you back outside. Our stroll continues as we keep moseying down Wazee

Point #13
The Sugar Building

16th Street Mall & Wazee St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 0.08
  • Attraction : Building

Stop briefly here at the juncture of 16th Street & Wazee and locate the building on the southeast corner of the intersection. It’s the one NOT made of red but instead tan, buff colored brick. This is the sweetest building in town — the Sugar Building. The building takes its name from the fact that it’s shaped like a sugar cube and was built in 1906 to specifically to house the newly formed Great Western Sugar Company; an outfit that once dominated the western sugar beet industry. It’s one of Denver’s most architecturally significant structures because of its architect – Louis Sullivan. In his day, Sullivan was known as the “father of skyscrapers” and the “father of modernism”. He also coined the architectural maxim that “form follows function” and he mentored perhaps the most famous architect in American history, Frank Lloyd Wright as part of the world renowned Chicago School. Decades after his death, Sullivan’s preeminence in the field was such that author Ayn Rand created a fictional character in her novel based upon him, The Denver Architecture Foundation (which sounds very official to me), describes the building thus, “With its vertical window bands, distinctive three-part organization (top, middle and bottom) and its ornamentation in geometric and stylized foliage forms, [The Sugar Building] possess the hallmarks of the [Sullivan] movement.” The Sugar building is also significant because inside you’ll find two original Otis Elevators with iron cages and gates – rare extant examples of the earliest mechanized elevator systems existence. Plus, if you stare at the building long enough you’ll get a toothache. Let’s avoid that shall we? Keep walking along Wazee street to our next stop ahead.

Point #14
Celebrity Guess Who

1501 Wazee St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 0.55
  • Attraction : Questions

Here at the intersection depart from Wazee Street and walk southeast on 15th street for the next three blocks toward Larimer Square. Along the way we’ll play one of my favorite games — celebrity guess who, Denver addition. It’s pretty simple. I give you clues and then pause for a moment, giving you time to name the celebrity in question before I confirm the correct answer. Make sense? Alright let’s get started.

Point #15
Larimer Squre

1499 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 0.63
  • Attraction : Downtown Square

You may remember back at Wynkoop Brewery I mentioned the name of the man who founded Denver – William Larimer. Here at the intersection of Larimer & 15th Streets, is the city landmark that bears his name — Larimer Square. Depending on the time of year, the square should be easily identifiable by whatever decoration overhangs it — sometimes it’s Christmas lights, sometimes it’s Colorado state flags, sometimes it’s both! Whatever the case maybe, once you see it, you know you’ve found it. You’ll also notice that it’s closed off to car traffic and accessible to pedestrians only. Take advantage & wander around the square all you like. I’ll give you a bit of background to set the stage. The namesake of the city’s founder, Larimer Square got its start in 1858 as Denver’s mainstreet. Indeed, it was the very first block of the city ever built, its first commercial district, home to its first residence and first city hall, and would eventually become the city’s first designated historic district. In short, the beating heart of Denver. It would remain so until the Panic of 1893; the economic downturn decimated the area and Larimer Square fell on hard times; it quickly became associated with cheap flophouses and urban decay. Fortunately, many of the historic buildings in the square were preserved out of sheer neglect – no one kept them up, but no one thought to tear them down either. This meant that once the forces of revitalization were martialed to save the square in the 1970s and 80s, the old bones of the neighborhood were still intact. As you walk around the restaurants and retailers that fill the spaces in-and-among Larimer landmarks, you may spy markers that relate the history of the Crawford Building (once Denver’s largest dry goods store), the Miller Building (an old saloon & poker hall), the Clayton Granite (the first building site in Denver history) or a dozen other places. FYI – the Mediterranean food at RIOJA comes highly recommended from yours truly. When you’re done exploring, turn your back on it and walk north on Larimer Street until you reach our next stop – the 16th Street Mall.

Point #16
16th Street Mall

16th Street Mall & Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 0.06
  • Attraction : Shopping and Restaurants

Walking north on Larimer Street, turn right onto 16th street at the intersection. Except for a few optional detours, you’ll remain on 16th street for the remainder of our tour. You’ll also notice how walkable 16th is. Except for the cross street intersections, 16th is pedestrian only. This is why it’s called the 16th Street Mall & regarded as LoDo’s main thoroughfare. As I’ve often encouraged during our tour, if anything catches your eye during our walk along 16th, pause the narration to explore further! This mile long promenade is packed with shopping, restaurants, and all manner of attractions both permanent and seasonal. Supplanting Larimer Square after the crash of 1893 as Denver’s premier boulevard, the 16th street corridor served the city as both a business district and prominent transit hub throughout the late 19th and mid 20th centuries. In the late 20th century, the route was redesigned as a pedestrian mall by Chinese American Architect I.M. Pei (who you might also remember from his other creations including the JFK library in Boston or the glass pyramid topped visitor center at the Louvre museum in Paris). As you can see, Pei’s Denver project was wildly successful. Today, the 16th street mall is known by locals for its clear pathway of red, white & gray granite blocks, 42 outdoor cafes, the many horse-drawn carriages and pedi-cabs carrying tourists to & fro, and the thousands of twinkle lights woven through & above the 200 trees linings its edge. During 16th Street’s boom in the early 1900s, its development was typified by the arrival of three key industries … department stores, high finance and theaters. As we visit the last handful of tour stops along 16th Street, I’ll delve into the cool stories, stunning locations and colorful personalities that showcase each industry. In the meantime, your next aiming point is the large clock tower ahead.

Point #17
Daniels & Fisher Tower

1147 16th St Mall, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 0.75
  • Attraction : Clock Tower

The Daniels & Fisher clock tower is both easy to see and easy to hear since it’s got a two-and-a-half-ton bell inside occupying the top two floors of the tower just above the observation deck. When it was built in 1910, at 325 feet it was the tallest building between the Mississippi River and the state of California. Modeled after the Campanile of St. Mark’s in Venice and boasting a 16 foot diameter clock, the tower was an architectural achievement unlike anything the city had previously seen. It was constructed as the central architectural feature of the Daniels & Fisher Department Store which once occupied a lower profile building at the tower’s base. Honestly, though … if you wanted your department store shoppers to know what time it was, don’t you think there’d be a more subtle way to do it. Maybe a tasteful wall clock perhaps? Anyway … the store was demolished in 1971 but the tower was left intact as it had become a definitional piece of the Denver skyline. Wanna get inside? So do I … but it can be tricky. Today the tower contains mostly professional space alongside a basement cabaret and special events venue. The public can climb the tower’s observation deck in April in conjunction with Doors Open Denver OR arrange private tours through Clocktower Events. Unless you’ve contacted the events staff and assuming it’s currently one of the other eleven months of the year, today you’ll just have to stare upward at it with your mouth agape. Alright, close your mouth and let's keep walking.

Point #18
Equitable Building

790 16th St Mall, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 0.34
  • Attraction : Building

We’ve now reached the penultimate stop on our tour — the Equitable building. The grandest office building in Denver. The trick is that you must briefly hop off 16th street to see it. If you’d rather soldier on ahead and make straight for our last stop just keep walking along 16th street. Otherwise turn north on Stout street and walk to the end of the block along the left hand sidewalk. I’ll set the table as we walk. If you remember, I said that the growth of high finance was the 2nd key industry in the early days of 16th street. As the Gold Rush gave way to the Silver Boom, ensuing years saw the Panic of 1893, the roaring 20s, a stock market crash, the great depression, oil boom and more. The Equitable Building is a physical reminder that Denver has seen, and weathered it all. It’s been the headquarters for Denver’s most distinguished businesses, financial offices and law firms from its opening in the 1890s until today. Important tenants include pioneering female lawyer Mary Lathrop who was the first woman to join the Colorado and Denver bar associations; Progressive Party leader and candidate Davis Waite who was instrumental in the securing a woman’s right to vote in Colorado; David Moffat a railroad tycoon, mine owner and director of the first national bank of Denver who worked his way up from a 12 year old messenger boy to a captain of finance; and notable physician and teacher J.T. Eskridge who was among the greatest American neurologists of the age. By now you should see the stately Equitable Building looming to your right front. You can limit yourself to an exterior survey or try entering the building’s red marble sanctuary-esque lobby – illuminated by a massive stained glass Tiffany window. It’s well worth a peek. Staying on the outside, the building material is granite and pressed Roman brick while the design is Italian renaissance revival. Through the 1890s, the Equitable was actually the tallest building in Denver until the Daniels & Fisher tower supplanted it. At its unveiling, it represented the height of luxury with steam heat, hot and cold running water, its own electric system and a rooftop observation deck. The building is named for the insurance company that built it for the then princely sum of $1.7 million – the Equitable Life Assurance Society of New York. But really, are there any assurances in life? When you’re done, simply turn around and retrace your steps to 16th. Keep walking down the mall until you reach our final stop.

Point #19
Paramount Theater

1635 Glenarm Pl, Denver, CO 80202, USA

  • Distance : 1.09
  • Attraction : Theater

We’ve now reached the end of our tour by arriving at our final stop – the Paramount Theater. To find it, simply turn off the 16th Street Mall and walk north on Glenam. You should see it plain-as-day to your front. You are now standing in front of the Paramount Theatre, built during a time when movie theaters were more than drab concrete blocks housed in derelict malls. Rather, they were fantastic and splendid, architecturally interesting and beautiful, perhaps none more so than Paramount Theater. Built in 1930, the popular Denver architect Temple Bull called it one of the finest projects. This is the fun and fanciful ZigZag Art Deco style , popularized during the jazz age - and it just screams roaring twenties. ZigZag was all about height, geometric patterns, and decoration. Think Empire State building. The Paramount's facade consists of concrete blocks and glazed terra cotta moldings, which helps it stand out against the surrounding buildings. The terra cotta was very popular at the time as it created the illusion of height and grandeur. If you look closely, you can see the detailed motif of flora - roses, leaves, feathers, fiddle-head ferns. And let's talk about the black marble - wow. Inside, the art deco continues. In this golden age of film, no expense was spared for the ornamental lobby, vaulted sunburst ceiling, and cut glass chandeliers. There are Egyptian lights, Italian marble, and exotic Aztec figures - details so minute and intricate, even on the stair railings and radiator grilles have carvings and statues. Artist Vincent Mondo created framed silk murals for the auditorium, inspiring art installations at at least three other theaters. Because it was built to show silent movies, Paramount also boasts a one-of-a-kind Wurlitzer twin-console organ that consists of over 1600 pipes and can mimic special effects, such as a train whistle, horses' hooves, and an ocean. Imagine it's August 29, 1930. Movie houses line the streets - this is where you and your friends hang out, not just for entertainment, but as the hub of social activities to "see and be seen." A massive crowd - 20,000 people, in fact - lines up to celebrate the opening show. A neon light proudly proclaims today's performance: Let's Go Native. You later conclude the black-and-white comedy musical was just so-so, but you and your friends are in awe of the Paramount. In the decades following, Denverties and the Paramount have maintained an ongoing relationship. While other theaters of yore have faced neglect and an inability to rise with the changing culture of entertainment, the Paramount remains popular as ever. It’s still the heart of entertainment in Denver, hosting all types of shows in all seasons - from concerts to dance performances, comedy to lectures to movies. Now I just want popcorn. As our tour ends, I want to thank you for taking this historic walk through Denver’s LoDo neighborhood with me today. I encourage you to explore the area more fully as time permits - although after passing by all those great LoDo restaurants and watering holes, maybe you’d like to grab a bite? Wherever the day leads, I hope the stories from this tour will travel with you. I’m Aaron Killian and this tour has been a joint production of Historic America and UCPlaces. To learn more about our trip planning services, public & private tours and digital content make sure to visit us at www.historicamerica.org and to find more audio tours, go to historicamerica.org and UCPlaces.com.