LoDo Historical Virtual Tour

In 1858 a small amount of gold was discovered at the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek and would become the birthplace of Lower Downtown (LoDo). Lower Downtown, affectionately called “LoDo,” is a neighborhood richin history, controversy, and wonderfully eccentric characters. As the birthplace of our city, and a recent revitalization success story, the area provides an important link between past and present. Today LoDo contains one of the finest remaining collections of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century commercial buildings in the American West.

Union Station
 17th and Wynkoop Streets

The proliferation of railroads into Denver brought many travelers, but also resulted in numerous railroad depots around the city. To aid confused travelers, the Denver Union Depot was built to consolidate the many stations. On May 13, 1881, Union Depot opened.

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DENVER CITY RAILWAY BUILDING
 1635 17TH STREET

This building is the original site of one of the transportation companies that helped to shape the city of Denver. The Denver City
Railway Company constructed the first horsecar line in the city in 1871 along the 1600 block of Larimer Street.

 

OXFORD ANNEX
1624 17TH STREET

Built as an addition to the Oxford Hotel in 1912, the Oxford Annex, with its glazed terra-cotta—a white tile—on the exterior facade, is unique. It is the only white tile building in Lower Downtown. The annex is connected to the main hotel by a passageway over the alley at the fourth-floor level and by another in the basement.
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OXFORD HOTEL

Denver’s oldest operating hotel, opened on October 3, 1891.  Financed by a group led by Adolph Zang and designed by architect Frank E. Edbrooke. The original five-story structure was an immediate success, in part because of its location near busy Union Station. By 1902 its four hundred rooms were no longer sufficient to meet demand. A fifty-five-room addition was constructed on the Wazee Street side.  Business remained brisk until after World War II, when the collapse of railroad transportation occurred and decline set in in Lower Downtown.

Read More about the Oxford Hotel

Rockmount Ranch Wear Building
 1626 Wazee Street

Wolff L. Manufacturing Company, maker of plumbing supplies, was the first of a number of manufacturers that have occupied this building since its construction. Wolff was here until approximately 1927. The most notable and long-lasting occupant, Rockmount Ranch
Wear, one of the original manufacturers of western apparel, moved here in 1946. Its founder and president, Jack A. Weil, introduced the first commercially made western shirts with snap fasteners. He developed the snap closure still in use by most western shirt companies, creating the standard in the industry. It offers a “breakaway” safety feature for rodeo riders and cowboys, preventing them from being caught on bulls’ horns.

Read More  Rockmount Ranch Ware

Union Station 17th and Wynkoop Streets
 17th and Wynkoop Streets

The proliferation of railroads into Denver brought many travelers, but also resulted in numerous railroad depots around the city. To aid confused travelers, the Denver Union Depot was built to consolidate the many stations. On May 13, 1881, Union Depot opened.

 

Henry Lee Building

The original owner of this building, Henry Lee, an agriculturist, was best known as one of the fathers of Denver’s park system.

Lee served two terms as a Democratic representative to the Colorado House of Representatives. In 1881 he sponsored a bill in the Colorado legislature approving the sale of state school lands to Denver for the creation of large parks at City Park and Sloan Lake. Although the Sloan Lake project was not approved, the City Park purchase of 320 acres was passed. An expert gardener, Lee helped lay out the trees, flowers, and shrubs in the park and later served as a park commissioner.

Elephant
 1626 Wazee Street

This site has been called the Elephant Corral ever since the first structure was built in 1858, the year Denver City was founded. This structure was a large corral and frame building made by Charles H. Blake and Andrew J. Williams of hewn cottonwood logs with a canvas roof. The hotel and saloon part of the Elephant Corral was known as Denver Hall. At the Elephant Corral, emigrants watered and fed their livestock, traded their prairie oxen for mountain mules, and bought, sold, and rented four-footed transportation.

BARTELDES, HARTIG BUILDING
 1600 WYNKOOP STREET

The business began as Barteldes, Hartig & Company, with Frederick W. Barteldes and Luthar Hartig as partners, and sold
seeds, fruits, and produce. In 1883 the company became Barteldes, Hartig and Patch, and in 1884, Barteldes and Patch. In 1887, Theodore Barteldes headed the firm and it moved to 1516–1522 Wazee Street, where they sold seeds, hay, grain, and feed. Many of the businesses that built large warehouses along Wynkoop Street
started out in a smaller building in this way. The present building was constructed in 1908 to support 600 pounds per square foot..

 

Want to know more? Book a Historical LoDo Tour

Jordan is the BEST tour guide and knows so much about the city. Much of what Jordan shared I didn’t know, even though I’ve lived in CO for 36 years.”
-Audrey R.
Denver, CO

“It was great fun and informative. Our guide John was knowledgeable and paid great attention to detail. We picked up some interesting facts while having a good time.”
-Charlie
Arvada, CO

“Jordan was so informative and fun, it was a great way to get reacquainted with Denver after being away for 15 years – so much has changed and it is more vibrant than ever. We learned about the history of the area and architecture as well.”
-Molly
Cincinnati, Ohio