Best bright idea downtown - 2000
Relighting the facade of the old Chamber of Commerce building
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, people were so excited by the development of the electric light that they found applications for it that we can hardly imagine today, like attaching bare lightbulbs to oak beams. One forgotten device was bathing a building's facade in light after nightfall. When Silversmith Cohen began to rehab the old Chamber of Commerce building -- which was designed by Denver architects Marean and Norton in 1909 -- in order to turn it into the Chamber Apartments, they found, first in local history books, and then buried in the terra cotta on the building itself, a hidden indirect lighting system. But like the rest of the place, the wiring was decrepit. The system was refitted to state-of-the-art standards, and this spring, though the building itself isn't finished, the electricity was turned on again. Now this old-fashioned light show is one of downtown's brightest spots.