The Five Best Sites for Looking at Denver's Past

Images like this one — of the Ranch House Motor Hotel that once stood at 1490 South Santa Fe Drive — are a sight to be seen on The Denver Eye.
Images like this one — of the Ranch House Motor Hotel that once stood at 1490 South Santa Fe Drive — are a sight to be seen on The Denver Eye.
Courtesy of The Denver Eye

Denver's cityscape is always changing, but lately this boomtown has been exploding. Fortunately, this city is home to many devoted souls working to preserve images of what the Mile High City — and other places around the state — once looked like. While The Denver Eye took the prize as our Best Look Back at Denver's Past in the Best of Denver 2015, it isn't alone in its dedication to preserving the past. Here are four more expertly curated Facebook pages that offer intriguing views of what this Queen City on the Plains looked like over the past 150 years.

A shot of the iconic Eddie Bohn's Pig 'N Whistle on West Colfax Avenue.
A shot of the iconic Eddie Bohn's Pig 'N Whistle on West Colfax Avenue.
Shared by Sheila Bowe on the Retro Denver Metro Facebook page

5) Retro Denver Metro
A gathering place for homegrown Denverites and a great way for newcomers to learn about the city, Retro Denver Metro is part-gallery/part-message board where folks come to connect and see great photos of the city's past. The Facebook page is a hub for information of all sorts, with users sharing their own photos of classic Denver hangouts as well as stories rich with Colorado lore. 

A late-night view of Colfax.
A late-night view of Colfax.
From the Save the Signs Facebook page

4) Save the Signs
A gallant effort to bring attention to the beautiful and often unheralded art of the neon sign, Save the Signs is a page for fans of the stylized lettering and imagination captured in commercial signage. While focusing on the neon masterworks found across Colorado, Save the Signs also shares photos and stories of signage from across the country, proving that the art form is a long way from dying out.

One of many memorable evenings at the now-defunct Lakeside Speedway.
One of many memorable evenings at the now-defunct Lakeside Speedway.
From the Beautiful and Historic North Denver Facebook page.

3) Beautiful and Historic North Denver
Even if you don't live in this part of town or didn't grow up on the northside, Beautiful and Historic North Denver is a Facebook page worth scanning daily. This detailed look at the rich cultural history and vibrant present-day life of one of Denver's most fascinating areas both documents times gone by and serves as a gathering place for people who want to talk about the area today. From vintage photos of stock car races at Lakeside Speedway to current news and information on the changing neighborhood, Beautiful and Historic North Denver always points to the true north.

An image of Feltman & Curme Quality Shoes, taken sometime between 1928 and 1940.
An image of Feltman & Curme Quality Shoes, taken sometime between 1928 and 1940.
The Denver Public Library

2) The Denver Public Library Western History and Genealogy Department
Though the images and information shared on the Denver Public Library's Western History and Genealogy Department site come straight from the physical database accessible to anyone with a library card, the Facebook page does an excellent job of highlighting visual gems interesting stories of the state's past. Blog posts on Colorado history mingle with startling images of the state from both a rural and city-oriented perspective. Take a peek at this Facebook page mid-week for each installment of the department's "Wow Photo Wednesday," when a different photo is highlighted and additional information is shared about its importance and origin.

A look at Lakeside Amusement Park's Merry Go Round carousel and building from the 1940s — which is still standing today.
A look at Lakeside Amusement Park's Merry Go Round carousel and building from the 1940s — which is still standing today.
Courtesy of The Denver Eye

1) The Denver Eye
An unofficial historian of local commercial lore, Tom Lundin offers a daily dose of Denver in pictures via the Denver Eye. Photographs of Googie-style signs, mid-century-modern motor hotels and Victorian-era theaters share space with vintage restaurant menus and now-defunct department-store advertisements as the page pieces together the Mile High City's past. Though the project started out as a full-fledged website, Lundin moved the Denver Eye to Facebook so that folks could pore over photos and share their own stories inspired by his massive collection of images from Denver's past century-plus.




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