Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Dana Crawford is a landmark -- and now she'll have two landmarks named after her

Developer and urban preservationist Dana Crawford is a landmark in this city, so it's not surprising that a landmark would be named after her. But two? Next week, the Crawford Building will be dedicated in Larimer Square, the Victorian-era block she saved from the wrecking ball. And today, Sage Hospitality and its Denver's Union Station partners (current Larimer Square owner Larimer Associates, plus McWhinney, REGen, LLC, and Urban Neighborhoods) announced that the 112-room hotel in the historic building will be named The Crawford Hotel.

When the idea was floated, only one partner was not in favor of the name: Dana Crawford, the power behind Urban Neighborhoods and so many other developments in this city through the decades.

Since the 1960s, Crawford has redeveloped historic properties ranging from the Oxford Hotel to the Flour Mill Lofts; she joined with the Union Station Alliance on its bid to get the contract to renovate Union Station.

"Dana Crawford deserves this honor. She started historic redevelopment before it was popular," said Walter Isenberg, CEO and president of Sage Hospitality, in announcing the hotel name. "The design of the Crawford Hotel honors the great history of the train station, while providing a modern luxury that is new and exciting. It's an amazing combination, reflective of the work Dana's done for our city."

The Crawford Hotel's 112 guest rooms are all different, and reflect different eras of the building's history. The contemporary "Loft" rooms in the former attic are designed to reflect the Lower Downtown neighborhood that evolved around Union Station -- an evolution that wouldn't have happened if Dana Crawford hadn't stepped in to save the 1400 block of Larimer Street in the late '60s, when old buildings across downtown were being wiped away in the name of "urban renewal."

Yes, Crawford admits that it's odd there would suddenly be two buildings with the Crawford name on them -- when she didn't put the name on any of her own projects. But she points out that the Crawford Building in Larimer Square also honors her late husband, John, who was integral to the development of that project.

The Crawford Hotel will open next summer -- and by then, the nearby Union Station Transit Center will already be up and running. RTD has already named the day that the new, multi-modal transportation hub will replace Market Street Station: Sunday, May 11.

At the end of service on Saturday, May 10, Market Street will close permanently -- and that means big changes for a lot of people, including RTD spokesman Scott Reed, who's been catching the bus there every work day for 22 years.

The switch will be concurrent with one of RTD's three-times-a-year service changes, Reed says: "People are used to some kind of service change...but this is obviously going to be a big change."

In advance of that, RTD will be holding public meetings to get feedback on the proposed changes. The first is at 6 p.m. this Friday, November 15 in the RTD Administrative offices, 1600 Blake Street; additional hearings will be held in the same location at noon and 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 20. If you want to study up in advance on the changes, go to

You'll have to wait a little longer to see the Crawford Hotel -- but in the meantime, here's a look at a bathroom in one of the Loft rooms at the Crawford.

You could make some real history there.

More from the Calhoun: Wake Up Call archive: "Oxford Hotel's Cruise room gets a facelift -- but the history remains."

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun