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From the Archives: Denver's 16th Street a century ago

Although 16th Street hasn't always been a pedestrian mall, for at least the last hundred years of the city's history it has been a Denver destination, a favorite for parade routes and other special events as well as a focal point for much of this city's day-to-day business. These pictures, printed in the publication Denver Municipal Facts, demonstrate 16th Street's evolution over the last century, and the past and present hustle and bustle that has made the busy public promenade the place it is today.

See also: - Thirty years in, the 16th Street Mall is still going strong - From the Archives: St. Cajetan's Church barely escaped demolition - From Auraria's archives: Degrees of separation from Thomas Hornsby Ferril's autograph

Denver Municipal Facts was a free publication that debuted in 1909; Mayor Robert Speer's administration devised it as a response to several newspaper exposes, according to the Auraria Library Special Collections Department. Published by the City of Denver, it discussed a number of subjects related to the city, including developments, events, news and places of interest; photographs accompanied the stories. The publication went through several iterations before the last issue was printed in 1931.

These pictures come from issues printed during the first run of the newsletter, between 1909 and 1912, and draw back the curtain to show what Denver was like over a hundred years ago.

This view of 16th Street shows the familiar Daniels & Fisher Tower, part of the building that was once home to the Daniels & Fisher Department Store. The tower is on the National Register of Historic Places, and today contains lofts, businesses and, of course, Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret. Even back then, Denver scribes compared their contemporary city to how it had appeared in earlier days; this photograph shows what the corner of 16th and Lawrence streets looked like "thirty years ago" -- that is, in 1879. Here is 1912's "Civic Parade": Page down to see a photograph of 1912's 16th Street lit up at night. Below are two view from the Daniels & Fisher Tower. One was taken around 1912 and appeared in Municipal Facts; the other was taken in 2006.


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