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Happy Birthday, Neal Cassady! Take an Armchair Tour of His Denver...

The friendship of Kerouac (left) and Cassady is commemorated in a current show at the Denver Public Library, Neal Cassady's Denver.
The friendship of Kerouac (left) and Cassady is commemorated in a current show at the Denver Public Library, Neal Cassady's Denver.
Evan Semón
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Jack Kerouac visited Denver for the first time in 1947. He’d been told by a friend at Columbia University that he should meet up with Neal Cassady, a legendary free spirit, raconteur and troublemaker. Kerouac was only in town for ten days that time, but the Mile High City made an enduring impression on him, and its sights and sounds — not to mention Cassady, transformed into Dean Moriarty — figure prominently in On the Road, his most enduring work.

The Beat will go on tonight, February 7, at the Mercury Cafe, which will host the eleventh annual Neal Cassady Birthday Bash.

In advance of that event (and before the current snow), we went out to capture some of the favorite haunts of Cassady and Keraouc around Denver. Here's a sampling of our stops; you can take an armchair tour on this snowy day.

The friendship of Kerouac (left) and Cassady is commemorated in a current show at the Denver Public Library, Neal Cassady's Denver.
The friendship of Kerouac (left) and Cassady is commemorated in a current show at the Denver Public Library, Neal Cassady's Denver.
Evan Semón
Neal Cassady grew up in and around Curtis Park.
Neal Cassady grew up in and around Curtis Park.
Evan Semón
Cassady liked to hang out at Denver's Central Library, today the McNichols Building.
Cassady liked to hang out at Denver's Central Library, today the McNichols Building.
Evan Semón
Cassady went to Ebert Elementary.
Cassady went to Ebert Elementary.
Evan Semón
Then East High School.
Then East High School.
Evan Semón
Cassady got caught joyriding in a stolen car at 16th and Court.
Cassady got caught joyriding in a stolen car at 16th and Court.
Evan Semón
Before Cassady was sent to juvie, he hung out at Paul's Place, now My Brother's Bar.
Before Cassady was sent to juvie, he hung out at Paul's Place, now My Brother's Bar.
Evan Semón
In 1947, Jack Kerouac came to Denver to meet Cassady.
In 1947, Jack Kerouac came to Denver to meet Cassady.
Evan Semón
At the time, the D&F Clocktower was the tallest building in Denver.
At the time, the D&F Clocktower was the tallest building in Denver.
Evan Semón
Kerouac liked hanging out in Five Points, watching games at what's now Sonny Lawson Field.
Kerouac liked hanging out in Five Points, watching games at what's now Sonny Lawson Field.
Evan Semón
And listening to jazz at the Rossonian.
And listening to jazz at the Rossonian.
Evan Semón
After ten days, Kerouac was on the road again, but he wasn't done with Denver...
After ten days, Kerouac was on the road again, but he wasn't done with Denver...
Evan Semón

Click here for the complete slideshow, "Go on the Road With Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady."

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