Monday, October 31, 2016

French Kiss

Photo by Jonny B.
Colfax is scary enough...no need to dress up!!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Review for The Holiday Chalet on Colfax


Found this review for the hotel where I work, thought I'd share:

2 of 5 bubblesReviewed 4 days agoNEW
I booked 2 rooms in this B&B, a queen for my husband and myself, and 2 queens on the 2nd floor for our mothers. On the good side, the staff was friendly and helpful, and they serve a great breakfast. On the bad side, the place was shabby but moderately clean. However, the worst was when we discovered the 9 (yes 9!!!) bullet holes in the window of our mothers' room!! Given the location and the homeless population in this area, it was very concerning to me. When I asked the management about the holes, they said a customer was drunk TWO MONTHS AGO and shot out the window with a BB gun. I can not believe this was not fixed and it was very upsetting (and embarrassing) to me!!




It's actually a very cool, fun place to stay, despite the occasional mishap with a BB gun...Come see us at The Holiday Chalet, a Cannabis and Canine Friendly Bed & Breakfast!!




Friday, October 28, 2016

Vintage Theatre presents Stella and Lou

Vintage Theatre presents 
Stella and Lou
By Bruce Graham
Directed by Lorraine Scott

October 28 – November 27, 2016

Chris Kendall and Emma Messenger
Vintage Theatre presents "Stella and Lou" October 28 through November 27 at Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m. 
Added performance on Monday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m..Tickets are $22 - $30 and available online at www.vintagetheatre.org or by calling 303-856-7830. Group discounts for 6+ are available. 

Lou is just about to close up his bar for the night when Stella, one of his favorite regulars, walks in. The two friends are sharing their usual comfortable conversation, when Stella suddenly reveals an unexpected surprise and even more startling suggestion. As the two deal with the difficult decisions they now face, they reflect on their pasts and look ahead to the future. From the author of The Outgoing Tide comes an intimate exploration of friendship, forgiveness, and the longing for companionship that grows with the passage of time.

Director Lorraine Scott has cast Emma Messenger as Stella, Chris Kendall as Lou and Peter Marullo as Donnie.

Bruce Graham began his career as a playwright at the Philadelphia Festival Theatre for New Plays (PFT) in 1984 with Burkie. Graham became playwright-in-residence at PFT and later served two years as Artistic Director. He has received grants from the Pew Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and was a past winner of the Princess Grace Foundation Statuette. The Edgerton Foundation supported his most recent work, White Guy on the Bus. He won the Rosenthal Prize for Coyote on a Fence. He has won consecutive Barrymore Awards for Best New Play (Something Intangible and Any Given Monday) and Chicago’s Jefferson Award for The Outgoing Tide. He is the first American playwright to be invited two years in a row to the Galway Arts Festival, which produced The Outgoing Tide and Stella and Lou. An ex-high school teacher, Graham still teaches playwriting and film courses at Drexel University.
Vintage Theatre presents
"Stella and Lou" 
Oct. 28 - Nov. 27
A second chance at love is still possible, even for two people with a lot of miles on them.
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2:30 p.m; Mon., Nov 21 @ 7:30 p.m.
$22 - $30
303-856-7830 or www.vintagetheatre.org
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010
Approximate run time is 75 minutes with no intermission

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bargain Ho

Photo by Jonny B.
Another Colfax mainstay is closing up shop.

Bargain House, a discount mattress and furniture store just blocks up from the Capitol on Colfax Avenue, will close its doors later this week after more than 40 years in business.

A representative at the store Monday morning said the shop, whose Colfax-facing windows advertise full bed sets at $60 and twin sets for $40, will shut down Thursday.

Bargain House takes up at least two retail storefronts at 410 E. Colfax Ave. It shares a building at the corner of Colfax Avenue and Logan Street with a Thai Monkey Club restaurant and a liquor store.

The few blocks of East Colfax starting at the Capitol building has seen its share of tenant rollover in recent years.

Hollywood Posters shut down a block over, and Good Chemistry took over that space. Emilio’s Mexican restaurant left its corner at Colfax and Logan to be replaced by Tycoon Ramen and Sushi. A block west of Bargain House, Pete’s CafĂ© & Steakhouse shut down. Buffalo Bill’s Wings and Things has hung signs at that storefront, but has yet to open.

The building Bargain House occupies is owned by Andrea Dikeou, according to Denver property records.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mayor’s Dog-friendly Arts Loop Walk ‘n’ Talk Tomorrow!

Turn your regular evening walk into something special – and feel free to bring your dog along – by joining Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul for the second part of his walk ‘n’ talk about the arts loop, a new walking and bicycling route through creative northeast Lakewood.

WHAT:  Mayor Paul’s dog-friendly walk ‘n’ talk with creative stops along the way.

WHEN:  Walk leaves promptly at 5:15 p.m. and finishes around 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26
                                               
WHERE: Meet outside Casa Bonita, 6715 W. Colfax Ave. Free parking is available in the lot, but we encourage walking or cycling to the event. Feel free to stick around to enjoy an after-walk informal happy hour at WestFax Brewing Company, adjacent to Casa Bonita at 6733 W. Colfax Ave.
  
WHY: Come walk and talk with the mayor and project team about the kind of art you’d like to experience along Lakewood’s arts loop.
                               
DETAILS: 1.5 mile route through Aviation Park and the 40 West Creative District Mural Corridor. Feel free to walk, bike or bring your dog. Expect a twilight atmosphere with fun glow-in-the-dark route markers and stops at creative places, including 40 West Studios, where participants can chat with an artist and enjoy free refreshments for people and dogs.

In 2018, the Arts Loop will create an interactive experience connecting Aviation, Walker-Branch and Mountair parks in 40 West through art in the parks and along the route, and will enhance the area’s recreational and cultural assets. The artwork will reflect the unique context, voice and culture of the neighborhoods along historic West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood and the new W Line light rail. The arts loop has received a $100,000 Our Town grant, the largest amount awarded under the program from the National Endowment for the Arts. Learn more, watch a short informational video and take an online survey at Lakewood.org/40WestArtsLoop.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The White Spot

Long-time Denver locals will remember the White Spot, 7 altogether, there's one nearby, and they stay open late!!


Sunday, October 23, 2016

The God of Colfax

Photo by Jonny B.
If Colfax had a God, I would imagine it would look a lot like this graffiti I saw walking down the storied street...

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Hard Times Barbie

Ruth Handler, inventor of the Barbie Doll, graduated from East High School on Colfax Avenue in Denver. Barbie was known for her over-the-top near impossible body dimensions and artificially enhanced beauty originally based on a German sex doll. Once complete with a Ken doll partner in crime and a materialistic superfluous array of expensive gadgetries, it looks like all those years on Colfax have finally taken their toll. Like many of the other Colfax denizens, Barbie has fallen on hard times.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Wayne's World


#WaynesWorld on #Colfax. It's true you see the most interesting things on Colfax. The Golden Road lives on. #Party on #Garth. AMC #Pacer (photo by Geoff Love)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

STS9 coming to the Fillmore Auditorium New Year's Eve

ANNOUNCES THREE-NIGHT NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATION SHOWS
Fillmore Auditorium
Thursday, December 29/
Friday, December 30 and Saturday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve)
Showtime 8:30 pm / Doors 7:00 pm


STS9 just announced a three-night New Year’s celebration run at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver for Thursday, December 29, Friday, December 30 and Saturday, December 31. The headlining shows—fresh off their two sold-out shows at Red Rocks Amphitheatre September 9 and 10, marking their 20th performance at the famed Colorado venue--will cap off a massive year for the acclaimed and adventurous electronic rock band who released THE UNIVERSE INSIDE, their first new full-length studio album in nearly seven years, last month. Live Nation pre-sale tickets go on sale this Wednesday, October 5 at 10am Mountain Time, with public on-sales beginning Friday, October 7 at 10am Mountain Time. Go to www.sts9.com for more information and ticketing links.

NEW ALBUM
‘THE UNIVERSE INSIDE’
OUT NOW VIA 1320 RECORDS
DEBUTS AT #2 ON BILLBOARD DANCE/ELECTRONIC ALBUMS CHART


THE UNIVERSE INSIDE—released September 2 via the band’s own 1320 Records--debuted at #1 on the iTunes and Amazon Electronic Albums Charts and #2 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums Chart, marking their highest position to date on that chart. The 13-track album--the band’s first featuring bassist Alana Rocklin—features lead single “Get Loud,” a collaboration with singer/songwriter Betty Idol and acclaimed production team the J.U.S.T.I.CE. League, and opens with “Supercluster,” which samples the original NASA STS-9 radio transmission and represents the band’s return from a journey that began with their 1998 debut, Interplanetary Escape Vehicle.

THE UNIVERSE INSIDE has been receiving critical praise since its release, with Kyle Rutherford of The Untz calling it, “a conscious expression of the beauty in the world, and a motivation for all listeners to follow the path they wish to choose” (9/5), and Live For Live Music’s Rex Thompson adding, “With such a quality effort after all this time, fans can only hope that this release reinvigorates STS9’s passion for producing more of the magic that The Universe Inside shows them clearly capable of” (8/30). See below for more critical feedback.

Buy THE UNIVERSE INSIDE on iTunes or 1320 Records now.

The members of STS9Hunter Brown (guitar/sequences), Jeffree Lerner (percussion), David Phipps (keyboards/synths), Zach Velmer (drums) and Alana Rocklin (bass)—went through a lot over the course of making this record. In order to connect and express something more direct than they could with the music alone, the band chose to utilize more lyrics than they have on any of their previous efforts. It’s an album about human identity and the magical truth of who we are, where we’re going, and our place in the Universe. THE UNIVERSE INSIDEwritten, recorded, produced and mixed by the band at their own 1320 Mission Control in Santa Cruz, CA—comes on the cusp of STS9’s 20th Anniversary (in 2017).

Beginning October 20 in MinneapolisSTS9 will head out on a fall headlining tour in support of the album’s release bringing their expansive soundinnovative style combining the energy of 21stcentury dance music with the dynamics of a band, one-of-a-kind critically acclaimed production and message of unity to audiences throughout the Midwest and East Coast, including a stop atNew York City’s Terminal 5 on November 12. The quintet—consistently ranked on Pollstar magazine’s list of the nation’s top 40 touring acts--then head back to the West Coast for two nights in San FranciscoSaturday, November 19 for their debut performance at The Masonic and Sunday, November 20 at The Fillmore, marking the band’s first show at the acclaimed venue in seven years. Tickets for the recently announced Bay Area shows, including a 2-Day Pass, are available here. Additionally, the festival favorites are set to perform at the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience,Suwannee Hulaween and Dominican Holidaze.

Critical Praise for The Universe Inside:

The Universe Inside sees the band return with a message…in all, the record marks a new dawn for the long-standing outfit.”
--Ben Kaye, Consequence Of Sound (8/26/16)

“[The album] contains 13 tracks of celestial sounds and goose bump inducing riffs that will take you on a journey back to the band’s funk roots.”
--Fox Adams, Sound & Silence Magazine (8/30/16)

“The album guides you on a journey to understand your place within the cosmos while importing the funkadelic feels!...The tracks lift your spirits as they introduce a groovy disposition. The Universe Inside reminds listeners that they’re significant to the design of the natural world. Plus combining elements of rock music and electronic has never sounded so sweet.”
--Sara Vogelsanger, Relentless Beats (9/9/16)

“The use of layered, ebb-and-flow distorted dialogue segments compliment the music perfectly…‘World Go Round’ in particular does an amazing job of simulating the inescapable power of the celestial dance of gravity. Hunter Brown and Dave Phipps layer pulsing beats, wide screen washes of psychedelic atmosphere and an endless series of perfectly placed sound effects that create a wall of sound that obliterates any other sensory input. While different kinds of music are suited to different situations, there can be no multi-tasking when The Universe Inside is transmitting its space funk goodness.”
--Rex Thompson, Live For Live Music (8/30/16)

“There are more vocalists than on past STS9 recordings, which exponentially expand their trademark freeform space grooves, yet also bring them back down to earth.”
--Patrick Green, Crave Online (9/6/16)

TICKETS GO ON SALE FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7 @ 10:00 AM
at the Fillmore Auditorium Box Office, online at www.ticketmaster.com or call 800 – 745 – 3000.

Tickets for 12/29 and 12/30 are $39.50 GA ADV and $45.00 GA DOS plus applicable service charges.   

Tickets for 12/31 are $79.50 GA ADV and $90.00 GA DOS plus applicable service charges.

A limited number of discounted 3-Day Passes are available for $149.50
  
For Private Box seating and other VIP ticket option information, please call (303) 837-1024. 

THIS SHOW IS AGES 16+

CONNECT WITH US ON THE WEB                                                                                   

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Addison Baker House

This photo, courtesy of the Denver Library Western History Collection, shows the Addison Baker house, which once stood at 1882 West Colfax Avenue.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Mr. Cab Driver

This is a message recently received from a cab driver on East Colfax:

Yes, hi. Good evening. My french. This is bill Matthias. I'm a taxi driver. Just drove one of your guests, and I do that all the time. I'd like her pants and drink some and how much they are I want to apologize because he paid for the customer with his credit card, and it didn't go through the system was froze. So I want to just to tell him sorry the payment went through and thank you very much, and I will country new you know driving your gassed, and I just apologize so I thank you very much, and if you want to call me back - thank you very much. Have a beautiful day. Bye.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Bittner's Top Star Motel

(photo courtesy Jonny B.)
This motel is still open today, although the Bittner's part of the sign is long gone...

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Snoop Dogg coming to the Fillmore Auditorium


SNOOP DOGG
Puff Puff Pass Tour Part 2
FILLMORE AUDITORIUM
December 4
Showtime 7:00 pm / Doors 6:00 pm



Rapper Snoop Dogg will bring his Puff Puff Pass Tour to the Fillmore Auditorium on Sunday, December 4.

Snoop Dogg, who also has gone by the names Snoop Doggy Dogg and Snoop Lion, has sold more than 23 million albums in the United States and 35 million albums worldwide.  His 13th solo studio album, Bush, was released in May 2015.

His music career began in 1992 when he was discovered by Dr. Dre of N.W.A. and was featured in Dr. Dre’s solo debut album.  He has played host to several television shows, including Doggy Fizzle Televizzle, Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood and Dogg After Dark.

The Puff Puff Pass Tour will feature Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Warren G, DJ Quik, Tha Dogg Pound, Pomona City Movement and LBC Movement.


TICKETS ON SALE NOW!
at the Fillmore Auditorium Box Office, online at www.ticketmaster.com or call 800 – 745 – 3000.

Tickets for the Fillmore show are $59.75 GA ADV and $65.00 GA DOS plus applicable service charges.   

For Private Box seating and other VIP ticket option information, please call (303) 837-1024. 

THIS SHOW IS AGES 16+

CONNECT WITH US ON THE WEB                                                                                  www.livenation.com  / www.facebook.com/LiveNationCO  /   www.twitter.com/livenationco /  http://instagram.com/livenationco


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Vintage Signs: Bar X Motel

The Bar X Motel has had more than its 15 minutes of fame. In the 1990s, episodes of Matlock (starring Andy Griffith) were shot here. More recently, the 2006 film "Looking for Sunday" included scenes from this classic West Colfax spot.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Playing Frogger on Colfax

“We need to think about how the walking experience feels, how streets make us feel. This is East Colfax Avenue,” Montgomery said, showing the audience some familiar pictures of people playing Frogger in an attempt to cross the urban highway. “Just imagine how you would feel crossing that street. Super. Scared.”

As part of his research, Montgomery put sensors on people crossing streets like Colfax, and found that people are, in fact, super scared — just to cross a street! “And you know what, it should feel scary,” he said. “Six people killed there in 2015. You have this group here called WalkDenver,” Montgomery said, commenting on the advocates’ push to get pedestrian-friendly streetscape improvements on Colfax into Mayor Michael Hancock’s budget. “I don’t think this intervention is being funded in this year’s budget, and this stuff really needs to be. The city has adopted Vision Zero. That means it’s not okay for anybody to die by car. So you need to get on it.”

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Serial Doll Mutilator

Heads Up! There is a serial doll mutilator loose on Colfax Avenue! Here's the latest victim. (photo by Anistacia Barber)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Too Many Rules

Too Many Rules--Lazy C Motor Lodge, West Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO (Photo by Bill E. Guerriero)

Friday, October 7, 2016

Mad Rushin



This billboard along the Colfax viaduct in 1968 features the Mad Rushin and Friday's nightclub. (from the Gordon Signs archives (http://www.gordonsign.com)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Colfax and Its Discontents

by Kristin Jones
Assistant Director of Communications - The Colorado Trust
 
The place where you live—the actual, physical space—makes a difference to your health and prosperity. That’s the takeaway from all kinds of research; neighborhoods affect how easily people can move out of poverty, how they relate to each other, how safe they feel, and how physically active they are.  Here in Denver, the physical space that perhaps most captures the hopes and angst of residents and urban planners is Colfax Avenue. Colfax was built for cars, but planners and activists are trying to make it walkable.
Once the major east-west thoroughfare in the city, Colfax was a fine place when it showed up in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road: a spot to hit the bars while searching for grown-up Denver street urchin Dean Moriarty, and then retire to a friend’s parents’ swank apartment.
Yet by 1978, when columnist George Will arrived—after I-70 had stolen Colfax’s mantle as the east-west interstate—he declared that the threat of nuclear annihilation “loses some of its sting when you see Denver’s Colfax Avenue.” In the decades that followed, East Colfax solidified its reputation for drugs, prostitution and violence.
The street hasn’t gotten any less polarizing.
Last year, the West Colfax Business Improvement District held a small street fair at the intersection of West Colfax and Utica in Lakewood, erected at the site of a shuttered day-labor service sandwiched between a truck dealership and an elementary school. The point of the event was to “Re-Imagine West Colfax” as a street that is friendly to pedestrians and bikers.
It certainly took some imagining: as it stands, West Colfax can feel like an endless stretch of auto body shops and fast food franchises. The organizers put up potted plants to simulate a tree-lined sidewalk, painted a crosswalk and added a bike lane. There were free samples of Little Man ice cream (salted Oreo, Mexican chocolate, and toasted coconut sorbet) and a flamenco band. Artist Ian Kane painted a mural while we watched.

Michael Russell, whose small custom furniture studio and home have been at that intersection for the past eight years, says he can see West Colfax becoming walkable and bikeable. He has already noticed the neighborhood changing, with some of the car lots disappearing and other businesses moving in. Nearby, the former site of St. Anthony’s Hospital is being reconceived as a pedestrian-friendly spot with shops, restaurants and bars.
“It might take eight to 10 years, but it’s gonna happen,” says Russell.
That might sound ambitious if you’ve ever walked on Colfax, an avenue built by and for cars. Ken Schroeppel, an urban planner at the University of Colorado Denver, points out that the avenue is a reflection of policy decisions in the post-World War II automobile era, ruled by drive-through restaurants and the parking lots of businesses catering exclusively to motor vehicles.
Add to that the challenge that Colfax remains a state highway, under the jurisdiction of the Colorado Department of Transportation, whose primary objective is “moving the maximum amount of cars from Point A to Point B,” says Schroeppel. “It’s no surprise that we end up with this automobile-dominated mess that’s not walkable or bikeable.”
Still, Schroeppel is an optimist. He points to East Colfax near the Capitol. Zoning changes in the past decade scrapped the outdated requirement that businesses be set back from the road, and allowed for residential development.
There are now stretches of Colfax that fulfill the three requirements for a walkable street, Schroeppel says: decent pedestrian infrastructure, like lighting; interesting things to look at, like storefront windows and restaurant patios; and genial physical characteristics, like buildings that come right up to the sidewalk instead of skulking in the background.
“If you’ve got those three things,” he says, “you’ve got a good chance.”
I live and work close to the part of Colfax that’s being redeveloped in the way Schroeppel describes. You can see the changes in architecture wrought by zoning changes and gentrification. At Colfax and Pearl, for instance, is a stretch of road that fits the new standards. On the north side, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless built the handsome Renaissance Uptown Lofts as affordable housing in 2010. It’s across the street from the Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe, whose logo “Belgium’s Oldest Tradition on America’s Longest, Wickedest Street” capitalizes on Colfax’s seedy reputation.
The businesses there have had mixed success. The Cheeky Monk has done well enough for its owners to open the Lost Highway Brewing Company next door. But Pizza Fusion, which the Coalition ran in the storefront under its lofts as a job-training and employment initiative for homeless Coloradans, couldn’t make a go of it and closed last month. A lot of the nearby businesses are chains: McDonald’s, 7-Eleven, Office Depot.
Phil Goodstein is a local historian who gives walking tours in Denver—precisely the kind of person who might be expected to benefit from a more walkable, tourist-friendly town. Count him among Colfax’s discontents.
“My view of the street is extremely negative,” says Goodstein. “It is a very boring street. It is a very hard street on which to walk.”
But he thinks city planners should save taxpayers’ money by leaving Colfax alone instead of “trying to turn it into Cherry Creek North,” Goodstein says. “Colfax has generally succeeded by being a low- to moderate-income area.”
Just a block or two to either side of this part of East Colfax, the leafy streets are beginning to tell a different story. Rents and housing prices have soared as the allure of downtown living—precisely the kind of compact, healthy lifestyle touted by urban planners—has drawn in millennials and young families like mine. I grew up in the Centennial (then Englewood) suburbs, but lived in New York for nine years. When my husband and I moved here, we were looking for a place where we could walk to the local coffee shop and grocery store, and take our kid to the park without getting in the car. We found it in Capitol Hill, and unlike in Brooklyn, we could afford to buy our apartment.
There are costs to this kind of gentrification, and for the most part, I don’t pay them. There are people who sometimes sleep in the alley behind our apartment, and others slumped in the park and the doorways my husband and I pass on our short commutes to work.
Does making Colfax walkable in the way Schroeppel describes have to come at the cost of the people who lived here first?
That’s something Dan Shah, director of the West Colfax Business Improvement District, grapples with. He points out that rejuvenated bus shelters, safe bike lanes and signalized crossings benefit the people who are most likely to be walking, biking to work and using public transportation. On much of Colfax, that means people who are middle- and low-income, and don’t have other options.
Whether these improvements drive people out, says Shah, depends on policies related to affordable housing—how much of a neighborhood is subject to gentrification and how much income-restricted housing remains or is built.
“If you have a neighborhood [of people with diverse incomes] that’s going to be here in a few years, you are achieving health equity,” says Shah.
Further east on Colfax near the Anschutz medical campus in Aurora, roadside motels with throwback names designed to draw in interstate travelers—Carriage Motor Inn, Skyline Motel—have become last-resort housing for a growing number of financially strapped families, people with bad or no credit, and those with criminal backgrounds.
Visit these motels, and you can meet veterans, families, and the elderly living provisional lives, their belongings piled around them as they wait for something better and often fear something worse. The wait for subsidized affordable housing can be five years or longer; most of the Aurora Housing Authority’s various wait lists are closed.
Poverty rates along this part of Colfax jumped by more than 50 percent between 2000 and 2013, according to Census data compiled by the Piton Foundation. The largest concentration of poor people in the state now lives here. Forty percent of the people in the census tracts north of Colfax live in poverty; south of Colfax, it’s 29 percent. Those are levels akin to the Mississippi Delta.
Megan Vizina directs the Colfax Community Network here. The group offers after-school programs and emergency supplies to families living in the neighborhood. She says Colfax’s development has so far failed to provide a viable safety net for the people displaced by gentrification.
“It’s great to have a safe space for everyone. But it’s a one-part approach when it really should be a two-part approach,” says Vizina. “People really become refugees in their own city.”
Don Nixon lives with his 10-year-old daughter and wife in a motel here called the Kings Inn. The family moved in six months ago after a bout with homelessness that followed an eviction. He works two jobs, and he’s tired.


“Colfax is horrible,” says Nixon. “That’s the only thing I can say about it.”
He hates the drugs, as somebody who used to be part of that life and is trying for his daughter to stay clean. “Living in a hotel, I want to [use drugs],” says Nixon. “But I don’t because of her.”
He hates that he arouses suspicions just walking down the street; he’s been beaten by police, he says, and arrested for no reason. “I’ve been harassed on Colfax my whole life,” he says. 
Nixon worries about his daughter. He worries about the asthma that kept her out of class too many days last year. He worries that she has felt neglected. He worries about her walking to school on Colfax. “There’s so much crime, kidnapping, molesting,” he says.
It’s not an unwarranted fear. Three men convicted of felony child sex crimes (sexual assault and pimping) live at the Kings Inn, according to the latest count by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Two more registered sex offenders live in the motel next door.
On the Thursday when I visited earlier this month, signs on the doors alerted residents that an exterminator would be spraying for bugs the following day—a persistent battle here.
People were talking about a kid—a school friend of a girl in the building—who was shot dead the night before, less than a block away on the other side of Colfax.
As little kids circled their bikes in the parking lot, volunteers drove up to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables—the kind of emergency relief effort that’s routine around here. As his daughter re-emerged from their room sporting her Broncos shirt for the last pre-season game, Nixon pointed her to the boxes of produce.
“It’s going to be hard to change Colfax,” says Nixon. The main problem, he says, is that there are too many poor people, too many homeless people; but the government seems more concerned with making things beautiful. “It’s the community you’ve got to help out.”

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Mystery of Colfax

Pore as I might through my large but haphazard collection of Colorado lore, I have yet to find out when Colfax Avenue, which will host a marathon Sunday, got its name. Nor can I find out why, although it’s easy to indulge in some informed speculation.
Back in the pioneer days, our hard- working, independent, self-reliant, geographic forebears wanted help from the federal government. And they figured that naming something after a prominent politician would help.
Breckenridge is a good example. It started out as a little gold-placer camp along the Blue River named Fort Meribeh, probably derived from the first woman in town, known to history only as “Mary B.”
In 1859, it was impossibly remote. If the place was going to amount to anything, it needed a road. There was considerable dissension in Washington about the federal government’s role in “internal improvements” then. Southern Democrats in general were opposed and cited lack of constitutional authority, while Whigs and then Republicans supported federal action.
But all sections and parties agreed that the Constitution specifically granted Congress the power “To establish post offices and post roads.” So if Fort Meribeh could get the federal government to give it a post office, then the “post road” would follow, and the isolated little camp on the easternmost fringe of Utah Territory would have a connection to the civilized world.
How to get the post office? Change the town’s name to that of a prominent politician, whose ego would inspire him to spin the wheels of government in the proper direction. And so, the prospectors named their camp for the vice president of the United States. Only 36 when inaugurated in 1857, John Cabell Breckinridge of Kentucky was the youngest man ever to hold the position.
The place got a post office and a postal road over Hoosier Pass in 1860. The next year, though, the residents changed the spelling of its name to Breckenridge because Breckinridge had joined the Confederate Army as a general. He eventually became the Confederacy’s last secretary of war.
Given that response in one part of Colorado, it’s kind of surprising that “the longest street in America” that connects Aurora to Lakewood through Denver hasn’t been renamed.
It was named for Schuyler Colfax, an Indiana politician who began his public career as a newspaperman, first as a legislative correspondent for the Indiana State Journal, then as publisher of the St. Joseph Valley Register in South Bend. Like Abraham Lincoln, he was initially a Whig who became a Republican, and was elected to Congress in 1854. From 1863 to 1869, he was speaker of the House of Representatives. Colfax was Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s running mate in 1868, and served as vice president from 1869 to 1873.
So it was probably sometime between 1863 and 1873 that his name got put on a major Denver thoroughfare. He visited the city in 1865, 1868 and 1873. Little- known Denver pioneer Daniel Witter, who owned considerable real estate near the city, was the federal tax assessor. (Colorado was a territory then, so all the good political jobs resulted from federal patronage.)
Witter’s wife, Clara, was Colfax’s step-sister, and as one city history recounts, they wanted to make sure he enjoyed his trip to Colorado. “Anxious to please the goose who laid the golden egg of a federal job, the Witters paid $2.50 a dozen for eggs when Colfax visited in 1868 so that, as Clara explained to her children, ‘brother Schuyler could have his boiled egg for breakfast.”‘
In 1872, Colfax wanted another term as vice-president, but the Republicans denied him the nomination even while giving Grant another term. That was because Colfax was implicated in the Credit Mobilier scandal.
In short, the Union Pacific Railroad got federal subsidies for its construction in the late 1860s. Most of the money went to the Credit Mobilier construction company, which took a lot of money off the top (one estimate puts it at $21 million out of the $47 million the UP received). Its shares were thus quite valuable, and favored politicians could buy Credit Mobilier stock at face value, rather than the much higher market value.
Thus ended the political career of Schuyler Colfax. But his name lives on, even though no one seems to know just what political favor Colfax performed in exchange for getting his name on Colorado’s most prominent street, nor why no one felt enough shame over the scandal to propose renaming it.
Ed Quillen of Salida (ed@cozine.com) is a former newspaper editor whose column appears Tuesday and Sunday.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Schuyler Says #2

"You can pretend to care, but you can't pretend to be there." - Former United States Vice President Schuyler Colfax

Saturday, October 1, 2016

New Phil Goodstein Book

Phil Goodstein has been wandering the streets for 30 years, walking backwards as he tours the city.
Among the first strolls he ever conducted was of the Civic Center. Now he has put down his stories
about it. They range from how Denver created the majestic central park at Colfax and Broadway to the artwork within it to the scandals behind it. His new The Denver Civic Center: The Heart of the Mile High City (Denver: New Social Publications, 2016. vi + 478 pp. ISBN 0–9860748–2–9), additionally looks at such surrounding structures as the City and County Building, the Capitol, the Mint, the Denver Art Museum, and the main Denver Public Library. In the process, he probes them from both the inside out and describes their problems and potentials. For those desiring spirits, there are occasional ghost tales such as the presence of a couple of heads floating in tunnels beneath the statehouse.

As is the case with all of Goodstein’s books, 484-page The Denver Civic Center is well illustrated. It touches on the surrounding areas of the Golden Triangle (the section bordered by Colfax, Broadway, and
Cherry Creek) and the Silver Triangle (West Colfax to Speer Boulevard to about Champa Street to 15th Street).

The study revives gems of Denver’s past such as the glory that was 14th Street and peers at some of the cynical grasping and grabbing of the corporate elite. In a word, it is an excellent contribution to the city’s past and present.

The Denver City Center lists for $24.95. That is your price, postage and tax paid, from New Social Publications; Box 18026; Denver 80218. Copies can be ordered from Capitol Hill Books, 303/837–0700; capitolhillbooks.com. Or you can come and hear Goodstein rant and rave about the book at:

William Smedley House, 1020 Ninth Street
Sunday, October 16, 12:00 –1:30 PM (303/477–9220)


The house is on Ninth Street Park. To get there, take West Colfax Avenue westbound from Broadway. Turn right into Ninth Street, two traffic lights west of Speer Boulevard, just past the light rail stop at Lipan Street. Go one block down to where the road dead ends at Champa Street. All the parking spaces, including at meters, are free on Sundays. The Smedley House is the frame structure across from Champa Street on the left as you look down Ninth Street. If you take Colfax eastbound, Osage Street is the light at the end of the viaduct. Go two blocks east to Lipan Street, making a right turn to West 14th Avenue and another right on Mariposa Street. Mariposa Street turns into Ninth Street at West Colfax—it is illegal to make a left turn off of Colfax onto Ninth Street. Copies of The Denver Civic Center will be available then for $20.00 cash, tax paid.

Colfax Tattered Cover (at Elizabeth Street)
Monday, November 7, 7:00 PM (303/322–7727)


Broadway Book Mall (southeast corner of Cedar Avenue and South Broadway)
Sunday, November 20, 3:00–4:30 PM (303/744–2665)


For more information call 303/333-1095.