The Rossonian Hotel turns 100 this year, and so far, there hasn't been much to celebrate. This former hotel in the very heart of Five Points, at the intersection of five streets in Denver's historic black neighborhood, was once filled with the sounds of the country's greatest jazz talent. Jack Kerouac hung out here sixty years ago; here's how he commemorated the area in On the Road:
"At lilac evening I walked with every muscle aching among the lights of 27th and Welton in the Denver colored section, wishing I were a Negro, feeling that the best the white world had offered was not enough ecstasy for me, not enough life, joy, kicks, darkness, music, not enough night."
But these days, there's not enough anything in Welton. Not enough businesses, not enough money. And residents worry that there won't be any history left if the city goes through with its Welton Street corridor redevelopment plans. But almost everyone agrees that something has to happen...and ideally before the Rossonian celebrates another empty birthday.
Five Points has been a huge redevelopment disappointment. For years, the neighborhood has sat and done little to improve this area. What has happened as a result, is the redevelopment of the Larimer street corridor, which is thriving. The center of the neighborhood is definitely shifting that way. There are wonderful things happening on Larimer and few good things happening on Welton. This is unfortunate, but true. It seems that the business owners on Welton have missed the boat. Its unclear what they are looking for, but if you want to have a good food, good music and a good time, Welton is not the place to be. Unless of course you are looking for pot shops and hookers.
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See more pictures of the Rossonian here. What would you like to see in the building? Along Welton Street? Post your thoughts below.