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.


  1. What was the old chinese restaurant across from the bluebird in the late 80's

    1. In the 80's and 90's there were three restaurants in that space: Keener's, Rose Garden Cafe, and Singapore Cafe. Both Keener's and Rose Garden Cafe served Chinese and American food and they were run by the Chiu family and then Joe and Wanida Wong, respectively. Singapore Cafe was run by the Pham family and they served Chinese and Vietnamese food.

  2. IN THE 60S, what was the drug store on corner of Colfax and Eudora/Elm and across from a grocery store -Red Owl I think. I used to walk from my grandmother's house at 1374 Elm.

  3. On the corner of Valencia and Colfax was a mobile home sales offiice (Western Moble Home Sales) My Dad ran for years. The Beacon was a great place with live entertainment