Arts & Culture

Familiarize With Founders: Important Places To The People Who Built Denver

August 13, 2012 6:00 AM

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Denver was founded in 1858 as a mining town. Today, it stands as the 27th most populous city in the United States (according to the 2010 census). Throughout this beautiful city, there are many different landmarks that you may drive past every day, not realizing their impact on the history and culture of Denver. These five places have all helped to shape the city of Denver and their impact is still felt today.

screen shot 2012 08 13 at 3 38 53 pm Familiarize With Founders: Important Places To The People Who Built Denver

(photo credit: colorado.gov)

Colorado Governor’s Mansion
400 E 8th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 866-5344
colorado.gov

The Colorado Governor’s Mansion is one of the most historic residences in all of Colorado and it has been owned by some of the biggest names in Denver history. It was originally built in 1908 as a home for the daughter of Walter Scott Cheesman, of Cheesman Park. In 1923, it was purchased by Claude Boettcher (of Boettcher Concert Hall) and was in his possession until his passing in 1957. The Boettcher Foundation then offered to give the house to the state of Colorado as a residence and, after some renovations, it was accepted as the Governor’s Mansion in 1958. It is open daily for tours. During the holiday season, the decorations are always a popular sight to see.

Related: Top Historical Spots In Denver

 Familiarize With Founders: Important Places To The People Who Built Denver

(photo credit: historycolorado.org)

Grant-Humphreys Mansion
700 Pennsylvania St
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 894-2505
historycolorado.org

The Grant-Humphreys Mansion was built in 1902 for James Benton Grant, who was the third Governor of Colorado. The Grants owned the home until 1917, when it was sold to Albert E. Humphreys. While Denver residents are fairly familiar with the name Grant, the Humphreys name is more known in the aviation world, as he opened Denver’s first airport in 1918. Grant and Humphreys were the only two owners of the home until the Colorado Historical Society took over the mansion in 1976. Today, the home is used primarily as a rental venue for corporate events, weddings and other special occasions.

 Familiarize With Founders: Important Places To The People Who Built Denver

(photo credit: Larimer Square Via Facebook)

Larimer Square
1430 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 534-2367
larimersquare.com

You may be most familiar with Larimer Square for its many restaurants, stores and vibrant nightlife. However, you may not know that it was named for William Larimer Jr, a land developer who is known as the founder of Denver in 1858. Larimer was a senator in Kansas, and in 1858 as he was looking for more land to develop, he arrived at the Cherry Creek and South Platte River. Larimer decided on the name “Denver City” in honor of James W. Denver, the governor of Kansas. Through the years, Larimer Square has been home to the first city and county building, the first bank, first bookstore and so much more.

 Familiarize With Founders: Important Places To The People Who Built Denver

(photo credit: denverastrosociety.org)

Chamberlin Observatory
2930 E Warren Ave
Denver, CO 80210
(303) 871-5172
denverastrosociety.org

The Chamberlin Observatory is owned by the University of Denver and named after Humphrey B. Chamberlin who donated the money to build this historic observatory in 1888. The observatory was completed in 1894 and is still in operation today. For more than 100 years, this observatory has been hosting those curious to see the stars and it still holds regular events every month for public viewings. The Chamberlin Observatory was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Related: Top Women’s History Spots in Denver

 Familiarize With Founders: Important Places To The People Who Built Denver

(photo credit: historicelitchtheatre.org)

Elitch Theatre
4500 W 38th Ave
Denver, CO 80212
(303) 623-0216
historicelitchtheatre.org

In 1890, John and Mary Elitch opened Elitch Gardens, a botanic gardens with a small zoo, live music and an open theatre. Some of the biggest names in entertainment history have performed at the Elitch Theatre including Grace Kelly, Douglas Fairbanks, Edward G. Robinson and Antionette Perry (the namesake of the Tony Awards). For more than 100 years, the theatre was a popular spot for audiences of all ages, until it closed in 1991. Today, there are several events planned to raise funds to restore and renovate the theatre, from outdoor films to various parties and fundraising events. The goal is to bring the performing arts back to the theatre, incorporate arts education and honor this historic Denver landmark.

Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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