Tour compiled by Danielle Krolewicz
Art by Book Williams Jr.
After 160 years of history, you may be surprised at how hard it is to find some of Denver’s oldest locations. As the city grows, more historic sites are lost each year. Sure, you can head down to see the famous Molly Brown House or Daniels and Fisher Clock Tower. But to step into the lesser-known parts of our city’s history, try this tour that will bring you to some of Denver’s grooviest and most delicious spots.
Start in the Mayfair neighborhood and visit two historic places: Richthofen Castle and Montclair Civic Center Park.
When Walter Von Richthofen, the uncle of the famed Red Baron, purchased 320 acres in the late 1800s, he had intentions to develop the land into a health and recreational resort, which he named “Montclair.” The castle, finished in 1887, was modeled after his family home in Prussia. The 14,000-square-foot home, which includes 35 rooms, was built with limestone from Castle Rock. Although it is not open regularly to the public, the castle’s current owners open it to the public every year on the Saturday before Halloween. Plus, the park is nice and quiet compared to others closer to the city center.
7020 E 12th Ave. • 6820 E 12th Ave.
Make your way west on Colfax and stop at Goosetown Tavern.
At 20 years in business, Goosetown is not one of the oldest bars in Denver. But historian and expert on all things Colorado, Tom “Dr. Colorado” Noel, has the low down on why Goosetown is an historic spot. He explains:
“Way back in 1873, German immigrant Julius Schultz opened the Goosetown Lounge in Golden on the north bank of Clear Creek. On the other side of the creek, another German opened the Adolph Coors Brewing Company that same year. To the irritation of Adolph Coors, Schultz sold Budweiser beer. In 1998, Coors finally bought the feisty irritant and tore it down for employee parking. John Hickenlooper and the Wynkoop Brewing Company were able to save the Goosetown’s ancient, ornate back bar as well as the booths, which became the center piece of a reincarnated Goosetown Lounge.”
Noel, a history professor at CU, has authored 50 books and articles on the state. If you enjoy history half as much as Dr. Colorado, check out one of his talks or guided events to delve deeper into Colorado History: dr-colorado.com.
3242 E Colfax Ave. • goosetowntavern.com
Grab a bite at Pete’s Satire Lounge or Kitchen.
Johnny Barber from the Colfax Museum impersonated “The King” Elvis Presley, but in his opinion, the real King of Colfax is Pete Contos, owner of several bars and restaurants in Denver. Both Pete’s Satire Lounge and Pete’s Kitchen offer food and beverages until late and, if you’re lucky, you’ll even see Pete, who likes to celebrate his birthday at the bar and has said that he will never retire (or something like that).
1920 E Colfax Ave. • petesrestaurants.com
Head over to 22nd and Race to catch the 32 bus to the
Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library.
The Blair-Caldwell library is a Denver Public Library (DPL) named after two leaders in the African American community. Omar Blair was the first black president of the Denver school board, while Elvin Caldwell was the first black member of city council. Download or print a self-guided walking tour from the DPL website before you go. The tour starts at the museum and ends at 29th and Welton, and there are informational markers on the street in case you forget.
2401 Welton St. • history.denverlibrary.org/blair
Take a stroll down Park Ave. and onto Clarkson St. to get your groove on at Denver Turnverein Dance Hall.
Established in 1865, the Denver Turnverein is the oldest ethnic club in Denver. The group moved into this spot in 1922 and has been there ever since. The club made one major alteration— it tore down the beer garden in favor of a parking lot (classic Denver) — but other than that not a lot has changed. In addition to dances several Saturdays a month, six types of dance lessons are available for all levels on their 5,280 square foot dance floor. Although the beer garden is gone, they still offer a cash bar to get those dance juices flowing.
1570 N Clarkson St. • denverturnverein.com