Seminar Review

RMGA Seminar October 16, 2015

Central Presbyterian Church

Architecture and Downtown History

Organizers: Mike Pearl & Ed Weising

Mike Pearl introduced our first presenter – Scott Sworts, a Registered Architect and Professor of Architecture at Community College of Denver.  Scott is a Colorado native and earned his Masters of Architecture at University of Colorado, Denver.  He was also a Professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design and Lecturer in the undergraduate architecture program at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Scott prefaced his presentation with the comment that Denver has one of the more intact historic districts in the USA (LoDo).  He also commented that Los Angeles has the most intact historic district (the center of LA) in the USA.   Capitol Hill in Denver has more Art Deco preserved examples than any other city in the USA.

Scott’s presentation started with short biographies of important local and national and international architects and included photos of some of their work in Denver.

Among the prominent local architects, Scott named:

• William Lang – (1846-1897) the first major architect in the city.  Many of Lang’s buildings are located in Capitol Hill and include the Zang Mansion, the Molly Brown House Museum, the Bailey Mansion and St. Mark’s Church.  Lang’s work defined “Victorian Mansion”.  Also in Denver, the Whittier neighborhood has many homes that are smaller versions of mansions such as the Molly Brown House.

• Frank Edbrooke – (1840-1921).  Edbrooke was a prolific architect and designed many important buildings in Denver, including the Brown Palace Hotel, the Denver Dry Goods store at 16th and California, Joslin’s (now Courtyard by Marriott), Denver Masonic Temple, the Oxford Hotel as well as Central Presbyterian Church.  Frank often designed in what was called “Richardson Romanesque” named for prominent Boston architect, H.H. Richardson.  Frank also designed in what was called “Chicago Style” and an example of that style is the southwest side of the Denver Dry Goods location.

• Jacques Benedict (1879-1948).  Jacques was the only major architect in Denver who had attended the French École de Beaux Arts in Paris which was the world’s most prominent school of architecture at the time.  Some of his early works include the Beaux Arts Sunken Gardens at the northeast corner of the Church of the Holy Ghost.  He also designed the building across the street from The Denver Dry Goods building with stylized pine trees on the cornice (Art Deco) as well at the Carnegie Library in Littleton (now the Melting Pot restaurant).

• Barnhardt Hoyt (1887-1960).  Hoyt practiced Modernism (an architectural period that ended in 1970).  Modernism is sometimes referred to as International Style.  Some of his prominent sites are the Fourth Church of Christ Scientist, the older part of the Denver Public Library and the amphitheater at Red Rocks (considered the best outdoor concert venue in the USA).  Red Rocks theater blends so well with its natural setting.  Hoyt was elected to the National Academy of Design.

• Temple Buell (1985-19990). Temple Buell invented an architectural form – covered shopping mall that is also climate controlled.  Cinderella City was the first in the USA.  Buell also designed the old Cherry Creek Mall; some of these stores can still be found in Cherry Creek North.  Buell also founded the city’s largest architectural firm.  He also founded the Columbia University School of Architecture – Robert Stern was its first director.  (There is a newer building on CU’s East Campus that Stern designed.)  Buell was also very civic minded and donated much money to charity.

Other important international architects include:

• I. M. Pei (still alive, over 100 years old), still working.  Pei designed the Zeckendorf Plaza and the hyperbolic building that was part of May Daniels & Fisher (May D&F), (torn down several years ago).  Pei also designed the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) building in Boulder on Table Mesa Drive.  This building is in ancestral Puebloan architecture and fits its surroundings beautifully.  Pei also laid out the 16th Street Mall which recently celebrated 30 years.  And he designed the building fronting on Broadway at 17th that is across the street from the Cash Register Building.

• David Adjay – (British and African American). Adjay designed the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Building at 15th and Wewatta Streets.  Adjay is internationally known and is part of the new wave of “minimalism” architects.

• Menoru Yamasaki (Japanese) Yamasaki designed the US Bank Building, the Pruitt Iho Building in St. Louis and the original World Trade Center in New York City.

• Geo Ponti – designed the Denver Art Museum – which was Ponti’s only United States project and also his last building.  The Denver Art Museum fulfills its purpose as an excellent place to display art.  Ponti was also the founder of Domis Magazine – an architectural magazine.

• Daniel Liebskind – Polish architect.  Liebskind designed the Hamilton Building addition to the Denver Art Museum (DAM) – a fantastic building, unfortunately, not designed to display art well.  Many pieces in this wing were designed specifically for this space – others that the DAM owned would not fit in the space provided.  The opening weekend of the Hamilton Building found many visitors suffering from vertigo from the design of the interior walls.  Liebskind also designed the Holocaust Museum in Berlin.   Most new art museums are unable to display art properly.

• Phillip Johnson – from Dallas.  Johnson designed the Cash Register Building.  This building was intended to be built in Dallas but was not sold there.  He sold it here in Denver but neglected to add snow melting capabilities and the first heavy snow crushed one person as well as cars.  Snow melt equipment was installed.  This is now the Wells Fargo offices.  When Mies van der Rohe (German/American architect) commented that in architecture “Less is more”, Phillip Johnson’s response was “I am a whore”.  Mies van der Rohe designed what might be termed a glass box.

• Michael Graves – designed the new section of the Denver Public Library (1992) and was a pioneer of Post-Modernism.

• Brad Cloepfil – designed the Clyfford Still Museum, considered one of the best art museums in the world built in the past twenty years.  The lighting is extremely good – the building was designed to diffuse light to enhance the artwork.

• Liebskind and Gehry are called Starchitects and tend to have massive disasters.

Scott compared the new Westin Hotel at Denver International Airport to a worm with a pair of sunglasses.  Scott was the architect of the Dakota Ridge gated community.

Scott then gave us an overview of some architectural terms:

The Orders are proportional systems used for at least 2,500 years.  An order is an exact and correct proportion of a building that makes it a whole.

There are three Greek orders – Doric, Ionic and Corinthian:

1. Doric – the oldest order, considered the most perfect.  The proportions are 6 to 1 – the same as the proportion as the length of a person’s foot to the height of the body.  Doric is called a warrior and the column is proportioned (the width of the column in proportion to its height, 6 to 1) from a Greek warrior.  Doric denotes strength.  This order is often used on bank buildings.

A Doric column do not have a base; it is a fluted column, and the entablature includes an architrave, a cornice and a pediment.

2. Ionic – has more slender proportions than Doric – 8 to 1.  This order denotes wisdom and is modeled after a matron.  Ionic has volutes on top (resembling the hair style that Princess Leia had on Star Wars).  This order is often used on libraries, court buildings (the Byron White Federal Court House on 18th has stylized Ionic columns – Americanized with eagles).

3. Corinthian – Hellenistic period after Alexander the Great, the ratio here is 10 to 1, represents a young lady and denotes beauty. This order is the most richly adorned and is often used on museums and government buildings.  The capital on the column generally has acanthus leaves (in some corn states, like Iowa or Nebraska, the capital might represent ears of corn).

Scott noted that the Parthenon in Greece has not a single straight line in its construction.  It looks straight but it really isn’t.  The columns bulge slightly in the middle and the top actually is slightly higher in the center.  Entasis is a column construction slightly curved to optically correct for how your eye sees it.

4. Then there is the Tuscan Order – this is the simplest order and is quite old.  The column is straight, no fluting, always has a base, the proportion is 7 to 1 and resembles a young man or boy.  It is often used by the military.  The base was added during the Renaissance.

5. The Composite Order combines portions of others and also combines the strength, wisdom and beauty of the Greek Orders.  The Composite has larger volutes (Princess Leia’s ear curls), and is the slimmest of the columns with proportions of 10 to 1.  This was developed during the Roman Imperial period and the Forum is an example. 

In the United States, this order is often used on government buildings (the Colorado State Capitol porticos are examples).   E.E. Meyers is known as America’s Capitol architect – he designed the Capitol buildings in Michigan, Colorado, Texas and others.  The Colorado Capitol Dome is Renaissance with Palladian wings and center.  The Bullfinch State Capitol in Massachusetts has been the model for many other state capitols.  To avoid copying British styles, Early American styles copied Classic styles of the Republic of Rome and Athenian styles.

Colorado Styles – Victorian Eclectic – the Equitable Building is an example of this.  It is also Romanesque, has rounded arches, paired windows, a Palladian style entry and Rustication.  The Central Presbyterian Church is a great example of Edbrooke’s Romanesque style with its doubled windows.  There are vaguely Gothic elements in the buildings at Market and 17th.

The Beaux Arts style is neo-classical – the White House is an example of this.  This style is somewhat playful and whimsical.  Union Station is Beaux Arts – note the round heavy rose windows near the roof line.  Union Station is like Grand Central Station in New York City (both owned by the Union Pacific Railroad).   The canopy over the doors to Denver’s Union Station are Viollet-le-Duc (French architect) known for his Gothic Revival restorations.  Ellie Caulkins Opera House is in Beaux Arts style.  The Denver City and County Building had 42 architects.  Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is not really Gothic – the exterior was redone to resemble what “it should have been”.

In the late 1800s taller buildings were being developed.  Land values rose exponentially and with no more space for the footprint, buildings had to go up.  The development of steel and calculus (the ability to calculate load and strength) contributed to the rise of buildings.  The development of the elevator changed it all – it came before cars and subways.  Before the development of the elevator, the 2nd floor of a building was the most desirable because you were above the immense piles of horse manure that were in the street (sometimes as high as 6-8’) so the front steps were high to get you above this.  The garret, or top floor, was the least desirable.  After the development of the elevator, the lower floors near the manure were the least desirable and the higher floors that got you above the smell were much more desirable.   The Sugar Building has the only cage elevator that still works in Denver.  Amazingly enough, elevators were used in classic times.  Otis invented the braking system that slows the elevator on its descent.

The D&F Tower was the tallest building west of the Mississippi when it was built.  It is a copy of the Campanile in Venice.  There are blue Wedgwood panels on the top of the D&F Tower.  The Met Life Building in New York City and One Boston in Boston are also copies of the Campanile in Venice.  The Boston Building at 17th and Champa is one of the last totally masonry buildings built in Denver, steel construction also became more common.

Column buildings are tall and thin shafts like the one at 16th and Stout as well as the Hotel Teatro on 14th are both column buildings.  They have a rusticated base (bottom two stories), a shaft with vertical striping or fluting, and a capital with a deep cornice on top – all very stylized.

Louis Sullivan was a rare architect – he developed the Chicago Style with wide rather than tall windows.  He also taught Frank Lloyd Wright.  The old Joslin’s Building (now Courtyard by Marriott) is an example of this.  Buildings still have bases – with store fronts on the lower floors, giant wide windows that let in lots more light and ventilation.  Other examples in Denver include the southwest end of the Denver Dry Goods Building at 15th and California and Ted’s Montana Grill at 14th and Market.    The Chicago Style is very utilitarian and is often used in factories.

Art Deco is unique to the USA.  It was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and has very geometric ornamentation.  Some notable examples are the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building in New York City.  It was very popular in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  Some apartment buildings in Capitol Hill are also Art Deco.

Modernism is an international style.  In 1904 Adolph Loos wrote a book “Essay on Ornament and Crime” which said that ornamentation on buildings led to crime.  Tel Aviv has the world’s largest collection of modernism.  The Auraria campus library, designed by Helmut Gahn is modernist.  The portion of the Wellington Webb building that faces Colfax is modernist.  True modern architecture is generally light.  Tall buildings built in Denver in the 1970’s and 1980’s have lots of glass and most fall into the Modern category.

Le Corbusier (Swiss/French architect – 1887-1965) developed five points to modernism:

1. Column grid

2. Free plan – no interior walls needed

3. Horizontal windows

4. Curtain wall – exterior wall that was not structural.  Most tall buildings have a curtain wall.  The World Trade Center did not – one of the reasons it came down.

5. Roof top garden

Le Corbusier later went on to Brutalist style which is much heavier than modernism.

Post-Modern was a reaction to strict Modern architecture and brought back ornamentation – the Denver Art Museum is considered Post-Modern.  Architect Robert Venturi said that all architecture is either a decorated shed (you have no idea what might be inside without a sign to tell you) or a duck (i.e., it represents what it is).

Deconstructivism – newer architecture style.  It is the most current style and may look less expensive to construct though it may be much more expensive to build.  It has five points:

1. Sheer – the front may have recessed and extended portions

2. Fracture – sections with different heights

3. Fold – it curves over on itself

4. Fragment – many buildings in the Highlands have this style

5. Twisting

Scott mentioned that 40-60 year old buildings are the most at risk of being replaced.  Once the buildings get to 100 years old, restoration is much more likely.  We went outside and looked at the exterior of Central Presbyterian Church which Scott described as Rough Ashler with Romanesque (Byzantine) columns.  Across the street at the University Club, Scott pointed out the Palladian window and pedimented windows.  He also mentioned that the Capitol and many other state capitols are modeled after a tiny church in Rome – Tympieto, which is considered the most perfect Renaissance building.

We continued on toward Broadway on 17th.  Scott pointed out the Republic Plaza – the tallest building in Denver, built by Skidmore, Owens and Morrell.  The Paramount Theatre (designed by Temple Buell) is one of the best examples of Art Deco in the US.  We looked at the Midland Lofts (Moorish) done in polychromatic red.  600 17th Street is post-modern, Bank of the West at California and 17th is Post-Modern, at California at 16th and at 7th we saw more Art Deco.  The Marriott is Modern to Post-Modern.  Colorado Bank Building (the Broker) lobby is one of the best examples of Spanish Art Deco – Byzantine column type and each column is different.  Byzantine conquerors looted Roman temples and reused the columns (spoiling – from using the spoils they acquired).  The bank also has a coffered ceiling and the front part of the lobby has a stylized coffered ceiling.

Colorado National Bank has Ionic columns – we will be wise with your money.  The Hotel Monaco on 17th is the only nautical modern (Art Deco and Moderne).   US Bank is a Yamasaki building (Yamasaki also did the World Trade Center in New York City).

Denver has one of the top ten largest downtowns in the USA (area) (it is #10).  New York City, Boston, San Francisco are some of the other larger downtowns.  We returned to Central Presbyterian Church for a buffet lunch and more conversation and questions for Scott.

After lunch, Kevin Rucker, a history professor at Metro State University, gave us an overview of Denver’s history – slides were provided and e-mailed to each of the participants of this seminar.  Kevin gave us each a one-page handout listing the types of tours that he gives.  He is also the Lower Downtown (LoDo) Walking Tour Coordinator.

LoDo District is defined as the area from Union Station to Larimer and Speer to 20th.  The LoDo District was designated in 1987.

Historical factoids:

Over 100,000 people came to Colorado in 1858 (about 40,000 stayed).  The rest were “turn-arounds”.  William Green Russell and friends came from Auraria, Georgia to Colorado.  We were then part of the Kansas Territory.  William McGaa and Charles Nichols were part of this group and they stayed over the winter.  In the spring, when the Georgians returned, their land had been stolen – McGaa and Nichols were threatened to either give up the land or they would be hanged.  Easy choice.  William Larimer was the town developer.  Denver had no formal law group for two years.  William Byers came and set up his printing press and started The Rocky Mountain News.  Byers was a law and order advocate and he set up a vigilante group.

In 1870 when the trains first arrived, Colorado had 47,000 people, by 1880 there were 180,000.  At that time there were five major train lines through Denver.  In 1881 these lines were consolidated and all came into the new Union Station.  The current Union Station was built in 1883 – the center section – reopened in 2014.  A chandelier fell in the lobby, burst and caused a fire in 1914 and the center section was reopened in 1917.    In 1906 the Welcome Arch was added – it had 2,190 lights.  The Arch was torn down in the 1930s and now it is going to replace it (at a current cost of $200,000).

Across the street on 17th, the Oxford Hotel opened in 1891 – new architectural details at the time included a window in every room, electricity and an elevator.

The Denver Tramway was started in 1886 – Denver was the second city in the world to have electric streetcars.

We heard the story of “Soapy” Smith – con artist extraordinaire.  Jefferson Randolph Smith arrived here after a two-month cattle drive, was paid and lost all his money on a shell game.  He started his own con game with bars of soap that supposedly had money inserted into the wrapping.  People bought the soap thinking they saw money being put into the bar they bought – the shill’s slight-of-hand expertise did not often have to pay off and so Soapy got his nickname.  Soapy ended up in the Yukon Gold Rush.

Another con involved giving apparently wealthy men who arrived in Denver on the train a coupon for a free haircut.  The barber would notch a small V in the back of the guy’s haircut, letting others know that this guy had a lot of money.  Bat Masterson was one of the men who rigged elections by giving men $3 if they voted ten times – they would present themselves at the registration, give a name that had been provided and vote, go to the back of the line and do it again.  Many deceased people voted in these elections.

In 1894, the Governor’s office was able to appoint the police chief, the fire chief, etc.

By 1900 there were 350 saloons in Denver; 57 of them along eight blocks of Larimer Street.

At 16th and Curtis stood the Tabor Opera House which was torn down in the 1960s.  At one time there were 18 movie theaters on this block.

In 1887, Frances Wisewart Jacobs started a charity which grew and evolved into today’s United Way.

The United States has more Greek architecture than Greece and more Roman architecture than Rome.   The Court House in Pueblo also has some of the rose onyx that is throughout the Colorado State Capitol.

Edbrooke designed Loretto Heights College.  In 1864 the Sisters of Loretto arrived in Denver, as did the Sisters of Charity and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart.  All these nuns launched some of the first schools and hospitals in Denver.   In 1918 Loretto Heights School becomes a college for women.

The Denver Mint was built in 1906 – Florentine architecture.  There have been two robberies at the Denver Mint: in 1920 the Mint was robbed of $200,000 in new $5 bills.  In 1927, $20,000 of these bills showed up in Chicago.  In 1924 the Mint was short $50,000 in gold – the culprit was an employee with a prosthetic leg which he filled with nuggets of gold as he was leaving work each day.

The May D&F tower was built in 1911.  In 1917 a woman fell from the top trying to retrieve a scarf she dropped just at closing time.  She landed on the 17th floor where she remained over an entire weekend.

Robert Speer – who learned about parks and had the idea for the City Beautiful from the Chicago Exposition in 1893 was elected Mayor in 1904 in what was called the most corrupt election ever held.  Over 50,000 people who were dead voted.   Speer also required firemen and policemen each to contribute $10 to his reelection campaign (In today’s dollars – about $40,000).  In 1910 Speer wanted to run for the US Senate but he was booed off the stage at the convention.  He went to Europe where he learned about schools, parks, roads, etc.  In 1912 Speer did not run for reelection and the City elected a Commission, not a Mayor.  In 1916 Speer was reelected Mayor.  Also in 1916 the Reform Movement started which shut down brothels and bars.

There may be some redemption for Speer in that he had more than 100,000 trees planted in Denver.  Speer also had many statues erected and he started the Museum of Nature and Science.

Fred Bonfils hated Speer, he and his partner Tammen, bought The Denver Post.  They were in competition with William Byers and The Rocky Mountain News.

In 1918 more than 9,000 Denver people died from the flu, among them Mayor Speer.

In 1904 Cherry Creek was an open sewer.

In 1908 Auditorium Arena was built.  The 1908 Democratic National Convention was held here.  To entertain the delegates, trainloads of snow were brought in – in July.  The delegates had a snowball fight that turned into a brawl.

In 1911 the Arapahoe County Courthouse was built at 17th and Court Place.  Then Denver became a City and County, no longer part of Arapahoe County.   In 1918, construction began on Civic Center Park.

The Pioneer Memorial originally had an Indian on top, which was soon replaced by Kit Carson.

In 1932 the City and County Building was completed, with an eagle on the top.  Wildlife experts noted that the eagle’s position denotes a potty break, telling the City and County that the sculptor was not impressed with them.

After Kevin’s slide presentation, we went for a walk downtown and learned more history, ending up at Union Station.

Here are some of his comments:

At Trinity Methodist Church – there is no brace in the steeple.  Also, an early pastor was Reverend Buchtel, who later was elected Governor of Colorado.

We passed the Navarre, built in 1880 as a school for girls but by 1901 was a brothel.  We went into the Brown Palace and into the Ship’s Tavern.  At one time Charles Boettcher owned the Brown Palace and the collection of model ships in the Ship’s Tavern were once his.  In 1898 Charles Stratton bought the hotel from Henry Brown for $2.2 million – Stratton had been stopped from dropping bottles of champagne over the railing in the lobby by the hotel manager; Stratton was angry and so he bought the hotel and then proceeded to throw many, many bottles of champagne down to the lobby – now that the hotel was his.  He also fired the hotel manager.

Boettcher’s son, Claude, collected Napoleonic artifacts.  These artifacts are displayed in the Palace Arms restaurant!

In the 1960’s Denver destroyed 35 square blocks of downtown Denver (Urban Renewal at its finest).

Along Larimer Street, we passed the site of William Larimer’s cabin, which had the only glass window in Denver.  On this site in 1881 a hotel was built, in 1890’s this was sold to the owner of the Denver Dry Goods company.  Next door to this building, on the second floor, lives the ghost of an eight-year-old dancing girl.

The next building was built in1873 by Gallup Stanbery and it became a general store in the 1890’s.  The Crawford Building (1875) is Second Empire architecturally.  Sussex Building was erected in the 1880’s.  In the 1890’s the building where Atencio Jewelers is now was a barbershop.  The Scarpeletto store often has the handbags and shoes move overnight from one side of the room to the other – a friendly ghost.

In the Edbrooke designed arcade had a round window at the top.  Amelia’s ghost still lives there and shows up at the bar wearing 1920’s clothes and she sobs and sobs.  In 1873 there was a butcher shop in the arcade.  The statue at the entrance commemorates the boss.  On the ceiling are several historic Denver people: Soapy Smith with the beard and accordion; Annie Oakley (1891) who could shoot accurately and was part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.  Also Little Raven (1864) is on the ceiling (Sand Creek Massacre). The zoo was started in 1859 and is represented on the ceiling as well.

In 1860 the first church service (Presbyterian) was held in a bar.

Lincoln Hall (1887) had a dance floor on the 2nd floor.  Tamayo was the Hyne Hotel (1888).  Ted’s Montana Grill (1889) was Gahan’s Building.  Euclid Hall has woodwork that came from three old saloons.

On Market Street there were 17 opium dens and 1,100 prostitutes – above 23rd Street the street name was changed to Walnut Street – those residents did not want to be included in the sleazy statistics for Market Street.   Around 1900, about 10% of women were opium addicts – in the 1960’s the drug of choice became Valium (mother’s little helper).   Mattie Silks’ brothel was at 20th and Market – you bought tokens when you went there.  A crib prostitute might charge somewhere between $.50 and $2.00 and she might service 50-75 guys in one day.  Fat Molly was a prostitute whose claim to fame was three men at once for $3.00.

On Blake Street, we went into the EVOO Marketplace (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) shop.  The back wall of the shop is the oldest wall in downtown Denver.  In 1858 this was an African American bar.  The building was a bar in 1947 and it burned – the patrons at the bar refused to leave even though the building was on fire.  PF Chang’s restaurant was a livery stable in the 1870s.  In 1880 it was an opium den – in the basement a skeleton was found in a walled off section.  In 1859 these buildings had facades made of wood – behind the façade were tents.  In 1814 Blake Street was once owned by Barney Ford and there is a plaque commemorating his life.  Barney was an escaped slave who came west and earned enough to own a barber shop.  By the 1870’s he was a millionaire.  In 1861 the Territory became the Colorado Territory – separated from Kansas Territory which we had been part of.

During the early years of the cowboy about 25% were African American, about 25% were Mexican.  There were many immigrants.  The empty lot on Blake Street was the spot where the state constitution was produced.  It was done in triplicate – three languages – English, Spanish and German.

We went into the Blake Street Vault for refreshments and a look at the vault in the basement.  In 1860 this was a saloon, there was a fire and it was rebuilt in 1863.  It was a costume shop in the 1970-2000 period.  Bought for $10,000, it had seven layers of carpeting on the floor.  Over the front door is a vignette of Lydia, a dance hall girl who was strangled here and thrown down the stairs.  The glass balls on the doorstep were made by the Union Foundry in Chicago.  The flood of 1864 tilted the floor 20” allowing the water to run back out.

There are many tunnels under Denver’s downtown streets.  One of which starts or ends in the basement of the Vault.  In the 1880’s this was a cigar company and cigars were stored in the vault.  The construction contains handmade square nails.  The vault has an air tube in case you get caught in there.  There were clothes found at the bottom of the staircase during the most recent reconstruction.  There are two ghosts who reside in the basement – one is a young bloodshot eyed woman wearing a white nightgown who crouches in the actual vault.   Kevin was told by a woman who talked to the ghosts that he should not go into the vault; if he did, the ghosts would close the door on him and torment him.  So, he does not enter the vault and apologizes to the ghosts as we leave the basement.

The Sugar Building at 16th and Market (1906) was the center of the sugar beet industry and across the street is an outdoor art sculpture depicting a sugar beet.  GW (Great Western) Sugar’s logo is in tile in the entry way.  In 1868 Boettcher came to Denver and made a fortune in hardware sales to prospective miners.  He and his family went back to Germany to visit and Boettcher saw sugar beets and thought it might be a good crop for this climate so he emptied his wife’s trunk and filled it with sugar beet seeds which he brought back here and made another fortune.  The Sugar Building has the last operational Otis open cage elevator in Colorado.  Children worked in the basement with the sugar beets, at one time there was a fire and several children (probably 8-12 years old) were burned. Their ghosts are still in the boiler room and make their presence known occasionally.

Architects Gove and Walsh designed the Sugar Building, the Seed Company Building across the corner and the Tattered Cover LoDo building.  Walsh attended Colorado School of Mines.

In 1933 Prohibition was repealed and in 1937 marijuana was outlawed.

In 1907 Fisher and Fisher designed the building where Rockmount Western Wear has been located since 1946.  Many stars come here for custom-designed shirts: David Bowie, Eric Clapton both have ordered as many as 20 custom-designed shirts for their tours.  Jack Weil, who worked at the store until two weeks before his death at 107 in 2008, was the originator of the snap fastener shirt and shirt pocket as well as the saw tooth style pocket.

The Oxford Hotel was built in 1891 and currently prices are from $170 - $900/night.  In the 1960’s it was a flop house.  In 1979 Dana Crawford restored it to its former glory.  Bat Masterson stayed in room 320.  He killed a man there.  Also there was a murder/suicide there.  On the 4th floor, in one room the light may be out and you may see a little girl sitting on the toilet in the bathroom.  The Oxford is Bill and Hillary Clinton’s favorite hotel.

In the 1930’s the Cruise Room opened and in 1933 it got classic Art Deco décor – based on the 1925 Paris Exposition.   It is a replica of the cocktail room on the Queen Mary and is considered one of the top cocktail lounges in the US.

Mike Pearl and Ed Weising did a great job of pulling this together!!!!

---Nancy Brueggeman 

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RMGA Seminar:  Architecture and Downtown History  

What:  RMGA Continuing Education Seminar

When:  Saturday, October 16, 2015

Program:  Architecture and Downtown History

Time:  8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Meeting Place:  Central Presbyterian Church, 1660 Sherman St, Denver, CO 80203

8:30 Registration check-in at Central Presbyterian Church (Introductions)  Morning beverages are available at neighborhood coffee shops
9:00 Session I
10:30 Break
10:45 Walking Tour
12:00 Lunch (Included, inside Central Presbyterian Church)
1:00 Session II
2:30 Break
2:45 Walking Tour
4:00 TGIF (Review/Discussion)
4:30 Dismiss ​