Sunday, January 31, 2016

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Retro Colfax: La Vista Motel

The La Vista Motel is at 5500 E. Colfax Avenue and is still standing today.

Friday, January 29, 2016

East Tincup on West Colfax Avenue in Golden

Pete Smythe
Pete Smythe was a well-known Denver radio and TV personality in the 1950s and 60s, and a better-than-average piano player. His show -- "Pete Smythe's General Store" -- was a kind of Prairie Home Companion of its day, set in the fictitious town of East Tincup, Colorado, and broadcasting over the "bobwire" network. 

Entrance to East Tincup, Colorado, on West Colfax Avenue
East Tincup was a mythical creation patterned after an old Colorado mining town, and used as the setting for Smythe’s show. The site of the town was 18195 W. Colfax Avenue, 12 miles west of Denver and one-half mile east of the multi-million dollar Magic Mountain, which was under construction at that time. 

The "town" of East Tincup, Colorado
An entire town of 1880 vintage was set up on the site and admission was charged. The town included Centennial Village, a Colorado Centennial Celebration attraction formerly located in Denver’s Civic Center Park, now relocated to the East Tincup site, and a three-story recreation of the city’s famed, old-time Windsor Hotel. The upper floors of the hotel were made into a museum.

You could pan for gold, there was a miniature mechanized farm layout with small figures with a man chopping wood, etc, and a room where the water ran uphill!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lincoln Park Homes: One of Denver's Earliest Public Housing Projects

Photo by Clayton B Fraser
The Lincoln Park Homes complex, at the corner of West Colfax Avenue and Mariposa Street, is one of Colorado's earliest public housing projects. One of three such projects planned by the Denver Housing Authority soon after the agency's formation in 1938, the Homes represent a period in Denver's History when the defense industry was hitting its peak and government subsidization of public housing was just beginning in the state. The Homes are a product of New Deal efforts to revitalize the economic and moral fiber of the nation. What was once an innovative solution to the public housing needs of Depression-era Denver is now a sobering reminder of the ongoing problems associated with providing for the poor and rehabilitating deteriorating neighborhoods. There are now unoccupied, in preparation for demolition. The Homes are also significant for their place in the lengthy and prolific career of Denver architect Temple Buell. Certainly not one of his more memorable projects, the Lincoln Park Homes represent a transition in Buell's work, from his Depression-era to World War II-era projects.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

Colfax is Proud to Host the AFC Champion Broncos!

If it isn't enough that the 2016 AFC Champion Denver Broncos play at Sports Authority Field at Mile High located along World Famous Colfax Avenue, now defensive end DeMarcus Ware appears as the Incredible Hulk on Colfax & Williams!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Seriously Old Photo of the Storage Castle

The Weicker Depository, at Colfax & Vine St., around the turn of the 20th Century. More about the history of the building can be found here.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

One Handed Man built State Capitol replica at the Capitol Court Motel

The front of this old unused linen postcard shows an outstanding small replica of the Colorado State Capitol. That great little "building" was there in the early 1950's because a lot of us "kids" saw it. (Hope it ended up moved safely to TINY TOWN) The Capitol Court Motel was located at "8650 West Colfax Ave." on the west side of Denver on U. S. Highway No. 40. (South side of Colfax). I don't think the "capitol" was as big as it looks on this postcard. It seems like it was really only about 7 feet to the top of the flag. It may have been larger, it's been a few years, and I have been known to be wrong! But it really was OUTSTANDING.

And even better, the plans and all labor connected with construction of the building was done in one year's time, by a man with only one hand!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Retro Colfax: Green Pine Motel

The Green Pine Motel in the 1950s. It used to stand at 11700 West Colfax Avenue, but is now a parking lot.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Complete list of Colfax Motels in 1952

Business was booming for travelers and motels in Denver in 1952. Denver's twenty plus mile long "main street" is Colfax Ave, Highway 40 along it's entire length. Denver was a oasis after many miles of travel across the prairies from Kansas and through eastern Colorado. Listed below are the motels of the Denver area from East to West that served travelers at that time. Note the 1952 vintage rates listed for some locations. The * mark indicates motels still in existence today, though only a few would be appealing to today's vacation traveler. Colfax Avenue today is undergoing some revitalization and redevelopment so many of these old places are meeting the wrecking ball. This information was gathered from postcards, advertising and two Denver area visitor's guides (from my collection).

14837 East Colfax Miles Motel Aurora AU 087 5 Units - still standing 2005 as a "ghost"

14801 East Colfax Zaharias Half-Acre Motel & Trailer Park Aurora AU 0132 8 Units

13000 East Colfax Holiday Courts Aurora AU 0407 12 Units

12888 East Colfax Lor-Fen Motel Aurora AU 0397 10 Units

12590 East Colfax Combs Manor House Aurora AU 1627 5 Units

*12500 East Colfax Blue Spruce Motor Court Aurora AU 1112 21 Units

12200 East Colfax Fitzsimons Motor Court Aurora AU 396 34 Units

12099 East Colfax S.0.S. Motel Aurora AU 707 22 Units 1725


*12033 East Colfax Courtesy Motel Aurora AU 1121 12 Units

12030 East Colfax Royal Villa Motel Aurora AU 59 20 Units

11818 East Colfax Pines Motel Aurora AU 1046 5 Units

11760 East Colfax Av-May-Ken Motel Aurora AU 1194 9 Units

11707 East Colfax B & B Cottages Aurora AU 27 8units

11617 East Colfax All States Cottages Aurora AU 3957 14 Units

11611 East Colfax Travelers Motel Aurora AU 1187 9 Units

11607 East Colfax U. S. 40 Court Aurora AU 675 10 Units

11525 East Colfax San Diego Motel Aurora AU 94 14 Units

11450 East Colfax East Gate Motel Aurora AU 319 11 Units

11305 East Colfax Golden West Cabins Aurora AU 277 23 Units

*11220 East Colfax Ranger Motel Aurora AU 578 15 Units

*10998 East Colfax Kenton Motel & Apts. Aurora AU 79 10 Units

1463 Kenton St

*10950 East Colfax Radiant Motel Aurora AU 1183 11 Units

10910 East Colfax Skyline Motor Court Aurora AU 1120 13 Units

10810 East Colfax A & A Cottages Aurora AU 282 14 Units

10750 East Colfax Trav-O-Tel Aurora AU 528 12 Units

*10730 East Colfax K Motor Lodge Aurora AU 659 7 Units

10600 East Colfax Aurora Cottage Camp Aurora AU 244 11units

10400 East Colfax Sago Motel Aurora AU 1499 10 Units

10300 East Colfax 20th Century Motel Aurora AU 359 16 Units

*9201 East Colfax Jo-Ann Motel Aurora AU 174 12 Units

9200 East Colfax Cottonwood Motor Court Aurora AU 141 27 - Units~demolished summer 2004

9025 East Colfax Colfax Motor Court Aurora AU 237 16 Units

9010 East Colfax Avalon Motel Aurora AU 373 8 Units

*8787 East Colfax Lazy C Motor Lodge Denver DE 9827 17 Units

8701 East Colfax Rest Well Motel Denver FR 9792 8 Units

8675 East Colfax Union Pacific Motel Denver EA 1750 14 Units

*8600 East Colfax Brandin’ Iron Motor Lodge Denver FL 1613 28 Units

*8567 East Colfax Silver Spur Motel Denver DE 5596 12 Units

(Formerly Willow Motel)

8501 East Colfax San Luis Motor Court Denver FR 0902 9 Units

*8500 East Colfax Ahwahnee Motel & Lodge Denver EA 3234 32


*8415 East Colfax Sand & Sage Denver EA 9731 15 Units

*8339 East Colfax Airway Motel Denver DE 9919 10 Units

*6030 East Colfax Paragon Motel Denver DE 9970 16 Units

*4801 West Colfax Eddie Bonn’s Pig ‘N Whistle Village Denver CH

0341 Rates: $5-15~17 Units

5601 West Colfax Red Wing Motel Lakewood BE 3-9705 Rates: $5-10~21 Units

5637 West Colfax Rody’s Motel Lakewood BE 3-9706 Rates: $5-8~10 Units

*5799 West Colfax Westway Motel Lakewood BE 3-9155 Rates: $5-12~9 Units

*5830 West Colfax Sunset Village Motel Lakewood BE 3-4601 Rates:$6-12.50~24 Units

*6001 West Colfax Rocky Mountain Lodge Lakewood BE 3-9795 Rates: $5 Up~14 Units

*6060 West Colfax White Swan Court Lakewood BE 3-9833 Rates: $5-10~18 Units

6099 West Colfax Bob’s Camp Lakewood BE 3-9856 1526 Ingalls St. Rates: $3.50-7~13 Units

6560 West Colfax El Rancho Motel Lakewood BE 3-9993 Rates: $5-15~11 Units

6900 West Colfax Chieka Court Lakewood BE 3-9818 Rates: $4-8~14 Units

7013 West Colfax King’s Rest Motel Lakewood BE 3-3337 Rates:


7030 West Colfax Lido Motel Lakewood BE 3-9748 ~13 Units

7445 West Colfax Blue Bow Cabins Lakewood BE 3-9761 Rates: $3.50-8~29 Units

7862 West Colfax Lloyds Of Lakewood Lakewood BE 3-4529 Rates: $5- 10~12 Units

7990 West Colfax Montview Court Lakewood BE 3-9785 Rates: $4-9~17 Units

8150 West Colfax Top Notch Motel Lakewood BE 3-4533 Rates: $5

Up~10 Units

8201 West Colfax El Rey Lodge Lakewood BE 3-9814 Rates: $6

Up~10 Units

8224 West Colfax Bruce Auto Court Lakewood BE 3-3477 Rates:

$3-7~10 Units

*8315 West Colfax Lakewood Motel Lakewood BE 3-9801 Rates:

$7-15~22 Units

8635 West Colfax Boggio’s Mount Crest Motel Lakewood BE 3-3717


8650 West Colfax Capitol Auto Court Lakewood BE 3-1242 Rates:

$6-10~10 Units

8700 West Colfax El Ricardo Motel Lakewood BE 3-9773

Rates:$5-12~14 Units

8803 West Colfax Alpine Motel Lakewood BE 3-3223 Rates: $6-8~8


*9025 West Colfax Trails’ End Motel Lakewood BE 3-9935 Rates:

$7-8~8 Units

9201 West Colfax Park-O-Tel Lakewood BE 3-9745 Rates: $6 Up~16


9501 West Colfax Colfax Motel Lakewood BE 3-2392 Rates:

$5-12~11 Units

9595 West Colfax Siesta Motel Lakewood BE 3-4091 Rates:

$6-12~5 Units

9700 West Colfax Estes Motel Lakewood BE 3-5297 Rates: $4-8~6


9988 West Colfax Monterey Lodge Lakewood BE 3-9868 Rates:

$5-12~12 Units

10140 West Colfax Idlewild Motel Lakewood BE 3-9826 Rates: $6

Up~16 Units

10210 West Colfax Hi-Way Motel Lakewood BE 3-6541

Rates:$5-18~33 Units

11005 West Colfax Rip Van Winkle’s Motel Lakewood BE 3-9787

Rates: $5-10~13 Units

11090 West Colfax Foot Of The Rockies Motel Lakewood BE 3-1904

Rates: $4-9~10 Units

11193 West Colfax Cozy B Motel & Trailer Villa Lakewood BE

3-1220 Rates: $4-9~6 Units

11611 West Colfax Travis Motor Lodge Lakewood BE 3-9837 Rates:

$4-9~12 Units

11700 West Colfax Green Pine Motel Lakewood BE 3-1910

Rates:$4-10~23 Units

11701 West Colfax El Jay Motel Lakewood BE 3-2754 Rates: $6~4


(list courtesy Walt Hackney)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Happy 125 Years, Aurora, Colorado!

This year is Aurora's 125th birthday. To celebrate, here is a 1975 aerial view of Aurora, Colorado.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Retro Colfax: Colorado Visitors Bureau

 The mod Colorado Visitor's Bureau building is still there, on Colfax behind the Webb building. (courtesy The Denver Eye)

Friday, January 15, 2016

East Colfax Neighborhood History

1950’s East Colfax Neighborhood History from Ken Harvey, past owner of Ken’s Barber Shop at Ulster & East Colfax Avenue.
Stedman's Shoe Service was across the street from Rockybilt hamburgers (recently the new Buffalo Bill's Wings and Things Chicken House and Yoisho's). A lot of people went to that shoe service on the corner of Colfax and Quebec. The Loop drugstore and the shoe service were in the same block. A Japanese couple owned the Loop; his name was Long and her name was Chick. They had that drugstore a long time. Stedman’s left that location sometime later and put in a shop down in the Mayfair Shopping Center. It is still under the Stedman name. I don't know what happened to Mr. Stedman. Going east a block or two was a place called Bud Karchers and it was selling foreign cars. His place later turned into Skyline Dodge. The dealership moved up there to the other side of the block to what had been the old Millers supermarket on the corner of Colfax and Poplar Street. He had a big dealership there.
Dairy Queen was fairly close to one block the side of Syracuse and that business is still there. There were four service stations on the corners of Syracuse and Colfax, Doc's Conoco and a Mobil station across the street from there on the northwest corner. There was another station on the southwest corner. Across the street was the station I went to and that was Dewey’s Standard at Colfax and Syracuse.
Going east, on the next corner at Spruce was a place called Cadillac Furniture. It did fair and then PMM Western Wear came in there (where the current Family Dollar store is). It was really a growing business they sold probably more western boots than anybody in the city and they had 7,000 pairs of boots in there. Across the street from PMM Western Wear on the same side of Colfax was the Beacon Supper Club that was a really good thing. It was probably one of the most money making places on East Colfax. They had half a block going east to the alley and then they had a pretty good size piece of land in the back where they could park. There wasn't another business between the beacon and the alley.
Across the street from there was a place called Hack’s Little Lot. It was a little place where they dealt mostly in foreign cars. Hack’s was a successful business and they stayed there a long time.
Next door to him on the west side was a place called Burns Standard Oil. Burns and his boys ran a Standard gas station there it was a small station on the corner of Colfax and Spruce.
Then there was the Hanger Bar on the corner of Tamarac and Colfax. In 1954 Tommy Falarite had the bar for some time. The man that had it before him was Harry Kaiser. Harry was a retired police officer in Denver. He was the man that opened up the Hanger Bar. Shorty was the name of the manager. They used to call him Mr. 5 x 5. He was a really heavy man. Tommy had been sick a while and Shorty was around the bar a lot. He was wide as he was tall. He was very over weight and he had diabetes too and in time he lost his leg. I knew Shorty pretty well he came in my shop for many haircuts.
Across the street at the corner of Tamarac and Colfax was Naylor's vet clinic (Montclair Animal Clinic today). Dr. Naylor sold out to Dr. Sergeant. Dr. Sergeant grew up in the neighborhood and went to vet school at Fort Collins. The day that he got out of school he went to work for Dr. Naylor. He bought the place from Dr. Naylor. Dr. Sergeants had a brother that lived just a block away from the clinic.
Going further down the street on the corner, east of the Hanger Bar was a nice Philips station run by two brothers. One of the brothers was Dick and the other I cannot quite remember. Dick and his brother had a nice Philips station on the corner of Ulster and Colfax and they stayed there a good 20 years.
Across the street was a place called the Western Drive-in that place was there in 1954. The owners 
name was Dave and I bought a lot of hamburgers from that place. My barber shop was just across the street. He got despondent over something one day and came into my shop and said, "did you hear what happened at Dave's Drive-in last night? He went out in his car and shot himself." The Western Drive-in was then sold to a fellow by the name of Jack he kept it for a while. I don't know what happened to it Dave had that place two or three years before 1954 and then he did himself in.
Down on the corner of the Western Drive-in it was a nice big trailer lot and there was a big fellow that ran it. His name was Tom and I don't know who the owners were but it was a very successful business they closed it later and moved it to West Colfax.
Across the street to the north up to Ulster on the north side of the street was Stokes Drugstore. Coming east there was a little hardware store and then there was Eugene’s Beauty Shop run by Elizabeth Bath. I was in the next building. Ken's Barber service. I bought out George's Barber service and I was there for seven years. I gave quite a few haircuts and they cost about one dollars or so and I made $80 to $90 a week. When I first went in there I did not make much but when I sold out $90 to $100 was a pretty good week. In 1954 next to me was a pet store. The pet store moved out after 1 to 1 1/2 years the business that went in there was the first Color Tile store in Denver. Color Tile stayed there for a long time.
The next building would've been the original Paisan’s. There was a vacant lot next to Paisan’s nothing was ever built on it. It was on the east side of Paisan’s. The original owner Jim Sando was an Italian immigrant he jumped ship in the New York Harbor and eventually got to Denver and started Paisan’s. His sisters and brothers are all in Italy he started right out with some of the best pizza people that ever eaten in the Denver area. He sold out to a guy named Rolly about a year before 1954. Sando moved to North Denver and started a place called the Three Sons Pizzeria. Three Sons has been there a long time. Jim Sando has been dead quite a long time, I think his three boys are still involved in the restaurant business. I think it is in the area of Tejon and Sheridan.
After Paisan's there was a place that was owned by George called George’s barbershop. George's sister owns the building there and the building is occupied by La Bolita’s Restaurant serving Mexican food. That was owned by a Phil Murray. Phil built it up to a successful bar and restaurant and people could go in there until five in the morning when other bars were closed up. He closed his bar but still served food. People would come in from all other bars for food. He ran mean hours. Bill stayed there for a long time I used to go over to Phil’s and I remember in 1961 when we had the big flood in Denver all the lights went out and I couldn't work anymore so I went over to La Bolita’s to have a beer and I got to talking to Phil and he said, "well my beer is all going to get warm. We are aren't going to have power until the next day or later" so we just sat there and talked and drank beer and had candles going on I don't think two other people came in the place and none of the help showed up. So we sat and talked and he wouldn't sell me any beer but we drink beer all night and I got polluted. I remembered going out to my car and East Colfax was so dark the only lights were the lights on my car. I knew Phil pretty good he was an excellent musician he played the vibraphone. He had a three or four piece combo in there every night and people went in there to dance and they would dance on the dance floor. Phil had a marvelous way with people there was never any trouble in there he just did a nice business and build that place from scratch. They were already opened in 1954 I believe George's sister actually opened it and then sold it to Phil. The sister went downtown and opened up a place by the same name, La Bolita’s for a long time. Phil stayed and I left the barbershop in 1968. I think Phil stayed another 10 years and then he finally gave up and went to work for the City of Denver, he had a good job with the City and County of Denver and I haven't seen him in years. He must be pretty close to retirement age.
There was the Sinclair station on Valentia and Colfax and it is still there. Back across the street on the corner of Colfax and Ulster it was a big beauty shop at one time. Earl Lubin ran the barber union. He was in that block and he got rid of that barbershop about 1960. Nextdoor to him was GG's bar and they have since moved around the corner.
He sold out to Bill Klinger who kept the shop until about a year after I left. Barbering was tough then nobody was cutting their hair. Klinger got mad because his landlady was going to raise the rent and he told me if she raises the rent five dollars I won't pay at all close the shop. I think she was going to raise the rent $25 so he closed up. His shop was between you Uinta & Valentia on the south side (located where Buffalo Bills Wings and Things is).
Arden liquor store was right next door to the barbershop. Then you start getting into all those motels. When I was there they built one called the Château Motor Lodge at Valentia and Colfax (now Orlando’s Apartments).
There was a nice old club at Yosemite called the Ex-Veterans or Ex-Serviceman’s club. They had good dances there and it was a bar. It was kind of Adobe and out on the north side of the street it was a two-story building that we get some good bands in there and we went up there to dance and it was really nice.
On the south side of the street was the Apple Tree Shanty. Dr. Peterson was the owner in 1954. Dr. Peterson sold out to a fellow by the name of Don Olson. Don had two partners and my daughter married Don and they ran the Apple Tree Shanty for approximately six years then they got a divorce. Olson finally sold his interest to Ray Sanford who was one of the original partners of Don's. One of those guys dropped out when he got hurt in a parachute jumping accident. I believe Ray Sanford came in after that. Don, Ray and another we're partners and Ray finally bought the whole thing.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rastafari Fine Art Studio

Don't look for it now, it's long gone, but here are some photos I took when I dropped by for a visit a few years ago...the Rastafari Fine Art Studio at 2826 East Colfax Avenue.

Photos by Jonny B.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Nading-Presley Memorial Gym

Happy Birthday Elvis from all your fans in Denver! Elvis provided the funds to build a gym for the Denver Police Dept. after officer Merle Nading was slain on Colfax Avenue. This plaque used to hang on the wall. (photo by Jonny B). Here is Elvis in his Denver Police uniform:

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Homies of Colfax

As a tribute to Dane "Colfax" Stephenson's Tiny People of Colfax art exhibit, I recently created my own series: The Homies of Colfax.

Photo by Jonny Barber
Photo byJonny Barber

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Poem: Live Art of Colfax by jennifer jas

Live Art on Colfax

On a corner
of the longest street
he stands
live art
in an old jacket
one foot resting
on a wall
in a cloud
of smoke and
rock and roll
an old soul
under the moon 
watching over

- jennifer jas

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Colfax Proposal at the Holiday Chalet B&B!

at The Holiday Chalet B&B

Love is in the air: Holiday Chalet guests Michelle Reeder and Brian Gent were officially engaged to be married when Brian proposed to Michelle at our B&B on New Year's Eve! We couldn't be more thrilled to hear of their joyous news. Congratulations, Michelle and Brian!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Vintage #Colfax: The Doll House

The Doll House, at 5637 W. Colfax, has been scrambling eggs since 1954, the year Elvis released his first record. Today it's the Hits the Spot Diner, and man do they have a killer Greek Omelette!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Pure Poetry: East Colfax by Taryn Browne

East Colfax
by Taryn Browne

Low riders riding on the hips of their mothers
Shoulders bustling out of straps
The borders of this town are squeezed
between tattooed arms and dancing poles
The streets are in bloom with neon lights
like cheap fake flowers bedded down
in crooked sidewalks
advertising weekly rates for rooms
with free adult movies
and written on walls the spray painted language of the streets
jagged letters written in a hurry to issue warnings
of where you are and where you should not be
if you are of another gang, another neighborhood.
Rocks roll in women’s hands as they stand on street corners
The smoke moves up and down the street sweetly
into lungs for mere pocket change
This is the street of the destitute and the prostitute
A strip of pavement that unravels through the night
under any moon in any season
where what you should not be looking for can be found
Liquor stores hang out on each corner
flickering beer lights in darkened windows
People of all nations walk this street
People of all nations live along its corridor
carving out their culture in a collage of living
The Bantu, the Ethiopian, the Middle Eastern,
the Mexican, the Dominican
And I too live off its strip
the longest street in America,
close to the beating heart of a city.