Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How the West Side Won by Phil Goodstein

Phil Goodstein, How the West Side Won:  The History of West Denver/Auraria.  Denver: New Social Publications, 2015.  ISBN 0–9860748–1–0.  vi + 474 pp.  Illustrations.  index.  $24.95.
     The Auraria Higher Education Center is far and away Denver’s largest campus and a major center of life, employment, and scholarship.  It occupies what was the first permanent white settlement in the area during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush in 1858.  The evolution of the land is very much the history of Denver as a whole.
     Such is the message of a vibrant, well-illustrated new volume, How the West Side Won: The History of West Denver/Auraria by acclaimed Denver historian Phil Goodstein.  Focusing on the triangular area encompassed by Cherry Creek, the South Platte River, and West Sixth Avenue, it concentrates on the people, the places, institutions, and industries that have shaped the Mile High City.
     Early on, Auraria sought to be the central trading community of the Rocky Mountain West.  An 1864 flood on Cherry Creek washed away many of its hopes.  By this time, it was West Denver.  A merger between Auraria, Highland, and Denver City in 1859 defined all the land to the southwest of Cherry Creek as West Denver.  As Denver’s population soared from about 6,000 settlers in 1870 to 134,000 residents in 1900, residences and businesses filled the West Side.  Dwellings ranged from ornate Victorian manors to incredibly slipshod structures.  A wide variety of churches arose in the neighborhood.  Early on, residents took great pride in distinguished schools.
     Lincoln Park emerged in 1885 near West 12th Avenue and Mariposa Street.  Among the first parks in the city, in the early 20th century it became the home of an inaugural municipal bathhouse/swimming pool.  Then, around the time of World War II, the city’s first housing project went up north of it near West 14th Avenue and Mariposa Street.  By that time, the County Jail had long been at West 14th Avenue and Kalamath Street, adjacent to the West Side Courthouse at West Colfax Avenue and Kalamath Street, the site of the city’s criminal trials.  A mile away was Denver General Hospital, the forerunner of Denver Health Medical Center.  Those wanting a distinctive meal went to the city’s oldest restaurant, the Buckhorn Exchange at West 10th Avenue and Osage Street.
     People dwelling in West Denver had a fierce pride in their neighborhood.  Many were proud Cowboys, graduates from West High.  The latter created its alumni association in 1886, two years after its inaugural graduation.  All the while, residents came and went from the area.  Especially by the 1960s, the West Side had a large Hispanic population.  During the next decade, it was the exemplar of the Great Society in Denver.
     From the beginning, Santa Fe Drive has been West Denver’s Main Street.  Once a trail ultimately connecting with Santa Fe, New Mexico, it has evolved from being a residential address to a center of middle-class retail to the city’s premier art district.  How this has happened, the interaction between residents and city hall, and the drama and pathos of everyday neighborhood life are central themes of How the West Side Won.
     Author Phil Goodstein is a Denver native.  His family was in Auraria at the turn of the 20th century.  Though growing up in Park Hill and long dwelling on Capitol Hill, he has been in and out of West Denver since the 1970s.  He has written more than 20 books on the Mile High City, arguing that an appreciation of the past is crucial for an understanding of the present.  How the West Side Won is his latest contribution to the many people and forces who have made Denver what it is.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Denver's Largest Wedding

On June 6th, 2015, Denver’s largest wedding took place in the heart of downtown during the annual Capitol Hill People’s Fair. This wedding included over 35,000 people, confirmed by Denver Police, that took part in celebrating with the happy couple, Chad Michael Julius & Jodilyn Johnson (now Jodilyn Julius). This is officially Denver’s Largest Wedding Reception, as recorded with Denver Records and Recordings, that has ever been held. The couple said their private vows with family and friends inside the historic McNichols Building and then opened up their reception to the entire Public People’s Fair. Special thanks to the CHUN, Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods,  and the Capitol Hill People's Fair "CHPF" their officers, members, staff, agents, The City and County of Denver, its Elected and Appointed Officials, Employees, Volunteers, State of Colorado along with our family, close friends and attendees for their support in making Denver history. The newlyweds are now aiming at attaining a Guinness Book of World Records on this amazing event.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Big Bunny Motel

Once known as the Bugs Bunny Motel, they had to change their name when Warner Brothers filed a lawsuit.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Fitzsimons Motel and Apartments Postcard

Fitzsimons Motel, formerly on East Colfax Avenue. It's hard to read, but in addition to the standard amenities of TVS, Phones, Swimming Pool and Air Conditioning, the sign also boasts that the motel has an elevator. — (courtesy Save the Signs)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Big Boy Buried

East High students stole the Big Boy statue from Azar's at 4115 E. Colfax Avenue and buried it in the front lawn at 1545 Detroit. May, 1981.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Galaxie Auto Body Transformation in the Bluebird District

     Located on the 3500 block of East Colfax Avenue, the former Galaxie Auto Body is being transformed. The former automotive repair shop, built in the 1920s, will be the new home to several new establishments. Cerebral Brewing, a neighborhood brewery, boasts some of the brainiest libations in town. The Humble Pie Store will offer handmade pies from scratch, and Chow Down will offer a casual dining and drinking experience. These three local businesses will serve the community with an outdoor patio, new sidewalks, and a tree lawn, bringing new life back to this block of East Colfax.

     The Galaxie Building creator and Denver Native, Sean Mandel, is excited about what adaptive reuse projects like this can bring to the Bluebird District and surrounding neighborhoods. Adaptive reuse breaths new life into historic building, while sustainability recycling components of those buildings to maintain historic character. Being able to keep the “old school Colfax marquee”, the project pays homage to its roots on the country’s longest highway.

     Historic buildings have their own set of construction challenges, especially a former automotive repair shop. The site required extensive below the ground work to get it ready to be a vibrant food and drink hub. The Colfax Mainstreet Coalition, whose goal is to help foster redevelopment of Colorado’s original main street by funding environmental site assessments, “was critical in being able to rehab the building,” says Mandel.

     This project will trigger more than adding three businesses to the block, it will also enhance the public realm. Along with new sidewalks and shade trees, seven new bike racks will be added, amount in front of the Galaxie Building and in several other locations along Colfax Avenue. Further, Mandel says, “I’m excited about having a Bluebird Business Improvement District and resources to serve the common areas that we all rely on. We can start filling in the gap between the street and the storefront”.
What’s on the horizon for Mandel? A new project in the former Green Buddies property. Local architect Laura Koehler is on board as well The Colfax Mainstreet Coalition to rehab this former gas station and activate the site. (courtesy Bluebird Beat)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Colfax, the U.S. Mint, and the State Capitol Through the Years

View east down Colfax Avenue past the U.S. Mint on Cherokee St., towards the Colorado State Capitol building. Year 1906. By L.C. McClure.
Here is a series of postcards, starting in 1910. You can see Denver's rapid progression as a city that is only going stronger in the present day!


Monday, October 12, 2015

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Happy Eighth Anniversary Kinga's Lounge!

Celebrating Kinga's 8th Anniversary with Burlesque in the basement !
This Saturday , October 17th , 10 pm , NO COVER !

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Bugs Bunny Motel

A West Colfax landmark! They got into a lawsuit with Warner Brothers and had to change the name to the 'Big Bunny Motel' in 1997. Actress Sue Lyon (Lolita) reputedly tried to commit suicide by jumping out the window, but failed miserably, as the motel is only one story.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Hoppy Holidays Beer Festival and Concert

Announces Second Annual
Performances from
Fillmore Auditorium
Saturday, December 5
Showtime 6:30 pm / Doors 5:00 pm   

With half a decade of his own beer festival under his belt, KYLE HOLLINGSWORTH--keyboardist of The String Cheese Incident and beer aficionado—returns his second annual Hoppy Holidays beer festival and concert to The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver on Saturday, December 5. Kyle will once again team up with the nonprofit organization Conscious Alliance to help provide food and funding to impoverished communities across the nation this holiday season. Kyle’s previous beer festivals have raised more than $70,000 to directly aid in this cause.

In the event’s second year, Hoppy Holidays will feature performances from Anders Osborne, Kyle Hollingsworth Band featuring Jennifer Hartswick, John Brown’s Body, an opening set from DJ Russo, plus beers from more than 30 craft breweries. Tickets go on sale this Friday (10/9) at 10am MT and can be purchased via, and

at the Fillmore Auditorium Box Office, online at or call 800 – 745 – 3000.

Tickets are $28.00 GA ADV and $30.00 GA DOS plus applicable service charges.

VIP Tickets are available for $60.00. 

Ticket Tiers
General Admission
-Unlimited 2-oz beer sampling from 30+ craft breweries, while supplies lasts 5-8pm
-Proceeds benefit Conscious Alliance

VIP Ticket
-Unlimited 2-oz beer sampling all evening from select breweries
-Unlimited 2-oz beer sampling from 30+ craft breweries, while supplies lasts 5-8pm
-balcony access
-VIP Hoppy Holidays commemorative credential
-VIP entrance access (avoid the GA line)

The Fillmore box office is open Monday - Friday from 12:00 Noon - 6:00pm & Saturdays from 10:00am - 2:00pm.  On days of Fillmore shows, the box office is open from 12:00 Noon – 9:00pm.  The box office accepts cash, MasterCard, Visa and American Express – No checks!  Service charges may apply. 

THE FILLMORE AUDITORIUM IS LOCATED AT 1510 CLARKSON ST. AT COLFAX.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Ages 21+

About Kyle Hollingsworth
Thirty years ago, with a wealth of desire and incredible ability, Hollingsworth set out on a career in music. Today, as a versatile member of acclaimed jam masters The String Cheese Incident, Hollingsworth is revered by both peers and fans for his ability to write and perform in a mosaic of styles, from rock to classical, ragtime to bebop. Playing in SCI has bestowed on him the kind of fearlessness a composer needs to flirt with such disparate genres.

About Conscious Alliance
Since the inception of Conscious Alliance in 2002, the nonprofit has successfully collected and distributed enough food to provide over 1.6 million meals to people in need. This national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization operates through ongoing, grassroots food collection, hunger awareness and youth empowerment programs throughout the United States, primarily by organizing food drives at concerts and music events. Donations to Conscious Alliance benefit America’s local food pantries and economically isolated Native American reservations.

For more information on KYLE HOLLINGSWORTH or Hoppy Holidays, please contact


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Collins' Bicycles has a Two Wheel Feel

Collins Bicycles has been slinging cycles and tune ups on ‪#‎EastColfax‬ for 82 years...what these walls have seen! Did you purchase your first bike here? Do you have a photo or memory to share? Send them our way!

The Collins Bicycles sign has been illuminating Colfax Avenue since 1934!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Vintage Colfax: Guys and Dolls

Guys and Dolls Juvenile Furniture - 5237 E. Colfax - photo courtesy Erick Roorda
The present day location of Mod Livin'!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Vintage Colfax: Leon the Neon Giraffe

Sachs' gigantic "Leon the Neon Giraffe" sign stood at the corner of West Colfax and Vance for many years.