If Colorado seems exciting now, imagine what it must have felt like in the 1870s. We joined the Union that decade and saw the beginnings of the Colorado Silver Rush, during which about $80 million worth of silver was mined (and that's 1870s money, mind you).
That caught the attention of some money-hungry business folks, who came to Colorado in droves for our natural resources and pretty views. And with them came a stronger economy and opulent architecture.
Which leads us to today. Or, rather, October 7.
That Friday, Platinum Luxury Auctions will host an auction for Redstone Castle, located due west of Aspen. Built in 1902 for coal magnate John Cleveland Osgood, the 23,000-square-foot mansion with 42 rooms has served many purposes over the years, from Osgood's private residence to a bed-and-breakfast to a historic home now open for touristic pleasures. In honor of the Castle, we rounded up some of the spectacular former private homes, streetcar barns and dry-goods retailers that now lend their bones to a different purpose...like a sushi place.
1. Redstone Inn
In addition to his Redstone Castle, Osgood built 84 Swiss-chalet-style homes in Redstone to house miners with families employed by his company and a twenty-room inn for the bachelors in his crew. The twenty rooms now make up the Redstone Inn.
Though Glen-Isle has always served as a lodge, its audience has changed over the years. Built in 1901, Glen-Isle "provided a resort destination for travelers on the Colorado & Southern Railroad," according to History Colorado. Train service was discontinued in 1937, but the lodge in Bailey remained open to travelers until 2012. Like Redstone Castle, Glen-Isle is now for sale.
3. Hotel Teatro
Built in 1911, the Tramway Building was a red-brick office building with an attached streetcar barn that served as the city's public transportation system headquarters. When streetcars became obsolete after World War II, the University of Colorado at Denver acquired the building to serve as its downtown campus. Several owners (including the Denver Center for the Performing Arts) later, the building is now home to the Hotel Teatro.
4. Cherokee Ranch & Castle
Here's a word you don't hear much of nowadays: homestead. But that's what Cherokee Ranch & Castle was back in the late 1890s — two separate family homesteads. After moving through a few owners, the property fell to Charles Alfred Johnson, who built the spectacular Charlford Castle in the 1920s as his summer residence before moving in full-time. The property is now home to a wildlife sanctuary, and the castle hosts weddings and other events.
Continue to see four more fascinating repurposed historic buildings.
5. Courtyard Denver Downtown
Marriott is a strong brand, just like the Joslin Dry Goods Co. was back in 1887. The state's then-leading dry-goods retailer occupied the red-brick four-story building at 934 Sixteenth Street and served as a cornerstone of commerce for the city before housing the downtown Courtyard.
6. Castle Marne Bed-and-Breakfast
Suffice it to say that some very impressively named people were involved in the Marne/Wilber S. Raymond House. Designed by architect William Lang for William Raymond, an investment banker, the Edwin Van Cise family eventually owned the home at 1572 Race Street before turning it into apartments in the ’20s. It was a hallowed out, boarded up shell of itself throughout the '80s before turning into a bed-and-breakfast.
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7. Colorado Lending Source
A "typical combination of office and warehouse structures built in lower downtown at the beginning of the 20th century," according to History Colorado, the building at 1441 18th Street was constructed by Denver Rock Drill and Machinery Co. in 1906. General Electric eventually acquired the building and from it distributed electrical supplies. Now it's home to Colorado Lending Source, a nonprofit that assists small businesses.
8. Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar
Though it pre-dates much of the economic boom of the 1870s, the Barney L. Ford building, at 1514 Blake Street, is too important not to include on this list. Ford was born a slave in Virginia before he escaped to Chicago, eventually landing in Denver in 1860 via the Underground Railroad. Ford, who would become a prominent black politician and civil leader in Denver, opened the People's Restaurant in the street level of 1514 Blake Street in 1863.