Thursday, October 23, 2014

Colfax History: The Boardwalk at Coney Island

The Coney Island in Bailey, Colorado is a 1950s diner shaped like a giant hot dog, with toppings. The building has been called "the best example of roadside architecture in the state" by Denver historian Tom Noel.

The bun is 35 feet long, and the hot dog 42 feet; the entire building weighs 18 tons. The diner has indoor seating, courtyard seating and riverside picnic table seating.

The Boardwalk at Coney Island was born at 4190 W. Colfax Avenue in Denver in 1966. The first owner, Marcus Shannon had intended to start a chain of eateries around the concept, and obtained a patent for the design, but they had gone under by 1969.

In 1970, under new ownership, the stand was moved to the Rocky Mountain town of Aspen Park, along U.S. 285. Initially called Coney Island Dairy Land, it later dropped the last part of the name. Despite initial opposition, when it was put up for sale in 1999, a local campaign began to designate it a landmark and save it from destruction. The present owner purchased it for about $150,000 and added a state-of-the-art water purification system, a new secondary kitchen area and a complete restoration of the interior kitchen.
The popularity of the stand was such that its last day open in Aspen Park, "the waiting line extended literally for miles".

On March 18, 2006, to make way for a bank, the stand was moved again, 17 miles down U.S. Highway 285 to its present location in Bailey, close to Pike National Forest.

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