Sentimental Journey III

It’s been awhile since I was able to post these photos, and then I’m not thoroughly  happy with my progress using the iPhone instead of my trusty Canon.

I left Lori’s house in the morning, got a taxi up to the bus station and was on my way to Denver’s 16th Street Mall from Broomfield, which when I lived in Denver, Broomfield was just that: a field.

Sixteenth Street is open only to electric buses that operate up and down the street for free! Once outside, while waiting for the Taxi, I realized my Canon sat on my bed. I thought about going back after it, but the taxi had arrived. It’s time to learn how to use this phone I have for photos, I told myself.

My plan would be to take the bus to the mall, but when I got on the bus, the driver said, no bus goes to the mall. “Well then how do I get there?”

“You take this bus to Union Station and then get a shuttle to 16th Street.”

“Do I need a transfer?”

“No, the shuttle is free.”

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Surprises always await me at every turn in my travels,  but I do not give up. I sat next to a lovely lady who was headed to Colo. Springs to visit a friend. This friend had given her explicit directions. We both got off at the station and I went about my business asking where I should go…and she was off to follow her directions.

She was a lady near my age who has undergone chemo therapy for breast cancer the third time. She was feeling pretty good and was happy to get out of her house.

I congratulated her for doing that and told her she looked great. You never know whose  day you may be making better by your comments. She was also very kind to me.

So I asked another kind person how to get the shuttle and he told me to walk over to the station. Once I got into the station, where it has recently been restored and is beautiful with shops, restaurants, bars, places to sit and relax and even a hotel, I was enthralled with the newness of the old memory I had of the station. This is where I would take a train with friends up to our cabin in Pinecliff.

After oohing and awing over the beautiful, cool interior, I asked a door man if 16th Street Mall was close enough to walk.

photo-3Church near the mall.d&f

Daniels and Fisher’s Tower.

“Yes, it’s right there.” He pointed to the end of the street. I didn’t need a free, electric,  shuttle, however, I did get on one just to try it out later that day.

Now, my own history of Sixteenth Street, and Denver, begins  77 years ago this Friday. But during my youth, going to Denver was by a trolly car, over a viaduct, and to the Denver Dry Goods, the Daniels and Fisher’s Tower (which was the highest building then), but is dwarfed now by modern, tall buildings.

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15th and Larimer where I had to catch the trolley to get home.

When we went downtown from Barnum, we usually got off at a loop building and walked to the stores, or to pay the electric bill or to visit the CampFire Girls building, or any numerous places one would visit. There were dime stores like Grants, Woolworth’s, Walgreens (still there, by the way), and clothing shops.

Can you imagine this? I was about eleven years old and after our Camp Fire Girls sold candy, my mother had me take about $100 worth of coins and paper money to the Camp Fire Girls office in downtown Denver. I got on the trolley and sat next to a lovely lady, who I promptly told that, “I have $100 dollars in this box.”

She advised me not to tell anyone else that until I got to the office.

Leaving the business district to go home was another matter, for we waited for the street car trolly on Larimer Street, near 14th or 15th streets. If you went further up Larimer towards 16th and 17th, chances were that you’d step over the drunks who hung out there and fell down in a stupor. Now, some of the original buildings are still there, but hardly recognizable in the upscale, yuppie haven for business lunches, and unique shopping.

I ate a small lunch at a place loaded with young business folks and asked the waitress if she knew the history of the building.

“Yes, I do. This was the cabin of Mr. Larimer, who lived here and who the street is named for.” Interesting, I would have never known that all those many times I walked down 15th or 16th to catch the trolly. The stone work on older buildings is still beautiful: lots of brick, red rock, granite and gold leaf here and there. From the top of the mall, you can see the beautiful Capital with the golden dome.

Colorado history amazes me, and it gets all mixed up with my own history. I sometimes wonder if I had been born in the mid-1880s if I would have known Baby Doe Tabor, Unsinkable Molly Brown, Silver Dollar, Leadville Johnny,  and others who made Colorado history fascinating.

The Brown Palace was my next to last stop. It is an elegant, red stone building with ample early history, and still has afternoon tea. I just had to experience this for the second time in my life. I was there many years ago with my husband Will, who invited me to go in to the tea room, and where we spent the night in the hotel. Before that, as a young person, I’d only walk by it wondering if I’d ever be eligible to go inside (silly person I was then).

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Inside the Brown Palace where I had tea and listened to the piano player and where I felt as rich as Molly Brown.

 

2 Responses to Sentimental Journey III

  1. Downtown has changed a lot hasn’t it? I used to go frequently to the Brown Palace with my friend Martha whose father had his orthodontist office nearby. I got to stay at the Brown Palace for a convention. When I did “Teahouse of the August Moon” at Country Dinner Playhouse, Englewood, in 1971, the cast went to some of the trendy places downtown. Fun memories!

    • Sumi,
      Yes it has changed but there are a few recognizable buildings. I’m pleased that Colorado tends to keep the history in the old buildings. Do you remember meeting me one time in downtown Denver for lunch? We sat with one of my high school boyfriends and his friend: both were on a break from work. I still remember what I ordered. I remember the strangest things. I remember where I sat inside the restaurant. But I don’t remember the name of the restaurant. In keeping the retro look, Colfax still has many of the same signage as I remember it.

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