BC: The End
FC: Virtual Walking Tour | Downtown Denver 1908
1: This book is an example of using Mixbook as a tool for teaching and learning with primary sources.
2: "Architecture constitutes our most visible past. We live in old buildings, walk down old sidewalks, drive along streets which were laid out by our ancestors, and play in old parks... | Lakeside Amusement Park
4: Cities are, in many ways, archeological remains which are continually maintained and restored, and life within the confines of a city is a perennial effort to renew and extend its physical remains... | 17th & California
6: Horse Car Line
7: We are surrounded by our own past in architectural form, and all architecture, no matter how ‘modern’ and how seemingly maintenance free, requires both use and care to survive." Richard R. Brettell Historic Denver | Please join me on a virtual tour of Downtown Denver circa 1908.
8: The Brown Palace 17th Street and Broadway The Brown Palace Hotel is one of the finest examples of nineteenth-century commercial architecture in America. In 1890, Henry C. Brown commissioned one of Denver’s leading architects, Frank Edbrooke, to design this $2 million hotel that was to be as luxurious as a palace. To fit the triangular-shaped building site, Edbrooke designed a building with three sides that are joined by gracefully rounded corners. The exterior, which is made of Arizona sandstone, was once decorated with numerous stone creatures; however, most of them have been removed because the fragile sandstone began to deteriorate and fall to the sidewalk. Today, only twenty-six carved stone medallions of native Colorado animals remain. The hotel’s steel-and-iron frame made it possible to create an enormous nine-story atrium with a stained-glass roof, which accentuates the grandeur of the interior. Due to preservation and restoration efforts, the Brown Palace provides an outstanding example of Denver’s opulent past.
9: Brown Palace Hotel
10: Trintiy Church
11: Trinity United Methodist Church 18th Street and Broadway The Trinity Methodist-Episcopal Church (the word Episcopal was carved into the original church sign but has since been filled in) was designed by one of Denver’s premier architects, Robert R. Roeschlaub. This picturesque church with its dramatic stone spire and Gothic-style windows, doors, and rose windows, was constructed of rhyolite, a light-colored volcanic granite that was quarried in Castle Rock. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the building is historically significant because it was one of the first stone structures built in the Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style in Denver. In fact, it is quite similar to Trinity Church in Boston which was designed by Henry Hobson Richardson a decade earlier. Roeschlaub was an exceptional draftsman who focused on every detail of the church’s design. His drawings, done in pen and ink and filled in with watercolor, describe every intricate detail of the building. Some of the original drawings survived and are available in digital format through the American Memory Web site.
12: Civic Center Park
13: Civic Center Historic District Grant Street west to Delaware Street and Colfax Avenue south to 13th Avenue Denver mayor Robert W. Speer began planning the development of the Civic Center around 1904, as part of his City Beautiful campaign. The Civic Center is a large public park surrounded by the main administrative and cultural buildings of the city, state, and federal government. The east-west axis of the Civic Center is anchored on the east by the State Capitol (1886-1908) and on the west by the City and County Building (1932). Two classical structures complete the north-south axis. The Voorhies Memorial (1920) on the north side, which was funded by banker and mining entrepreneur John H.P. Voorhies, is balanced on the south side by the Greek Theater and Colonnade of Civic Benefactors (1919). The Greek Theater’s arc and the curving wings of the Voorhies Memorial reflect the symmetrical shape envisioned by the designers.
14: Larimer Square Historic District Larimer Street between 14th and 15th Streets In the summer of 1858, a small group of prospectors, led by a Georgian named William Greeneberry Russell, discovered gold at the base of the Rocky Mountains. This discovery prompted the Pikes Peak gold rush which brought many more fortune seekers to the area, including General William H. Larimer, Jr. On November 16, 1858, Larimer arrived in Auraria, the town that had been established by the Russell party on the southwest bank of Cherry Creek where it joins the Platte River. He promptly jumped an existing claim on the southeast side of the creek and staked out a town site that he named Denver City for Kansas Territory Governor James W. Denver. Larimer and other members of his newly formed Denver City Town Company staked out a square mile grid for their new town. Larimer named the street that he predicted would become the main street after himself. He and three other members of the town company built cabins on the four corners at 15th and Larimer Streets, which soon became the heart of the baby town. | As predicted, Larimer Street flourished. In the 1860s, it was lined by one and two-story buildings that housed a post office, an arsenal, a library, and numerous businesses.
15: These original buildings were replaced by larger, more permanent structures between 1870 and 1890, when rich silver discoveries in the mountains and the arrival of the railroad prompted a population explosion in Denver. The Larimer Square Historic District is comprised of the seventeen commercial structures that were erected during this time. One of these structures, the Clayton Building, which was built in 1882, stands on the ground where William Larimer’s log cabin once stood.
16: Union Station 17th Street and Wynkoop The first railroads arrived in Denver in the summer of 1870. The South Platte River Valley soon had numerous rail lines and depots. In fact, during the 1870’s, Denver had eight different train depots, making it difficult to transfer passengers and freight from one station to another. To alleviate the confusion, Denver Union Depot was built in 1881. The original Italianate-style building was constructed of grayish-pink volcanic granite (rhyolite) from Castle Rock and trimmed with smooth sandstone from Manitou Springs. After the center section of the station was destroyed by a fire in 1894, it was rebuilt in a similar Romanesque Revival style. However, the remodeled depot was not large enough to keep up with Denver’s growth, so it was demolished in 1914 and a larger, more modern center section was built. The new center section, with its stunning 64-foot-high main waiting room and two-story-high Romanesque windows, was constructed of smooth granite and terra cotta and designed in the Renaissance Revival style. This structure, as well as the two Italianate-style wings retained from the original 1881 construction, remain standing today. However, the 65-foot-high, 85-foot-wide “Welcome Arch” that stood in front of Union Station from 1906 to 1931, greeting visitors to Denver, was torn down.
17: Union Station
18: Bird's Eye View of Denver, Colorado 1908
19: References Brettell, Richard R. Historic Denver: The Architects and the Architecture 1858-1893. Denver: Historic Denver, Inc., 1973. Gibson, Barbara. The Lower Downtown Historic District. Denver: Historic Denver, Inc., 1995. Morris, Langdon E., Jr. Denver Landmarks. Denver: Charles W. Cleworth, Publisher, 1979. Murphy, Jack A. Geology Tour of Denver’s Buildings and Monuments. Denver: Historic Denver, Inc., 1995. Noel, Thomas J. Denver Landmarks & Historic Districts: A Pictorial Guide. Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado, 1996. Noel, Thomas J. Denver’s Larimer Street: Main Street, Skid Row and Urban Renaissance. Denver: Historic Denver, Inc., 1981. Noel, Thomas J., and Barbara S. Norgren. Denver: The City Beautiful and Its Architects, 1893-1941. Denver: Historic Denver, Inc., 1987.