Longform

Paint the Town Read

Page 4 of 6

12. Denver Art Museum (North Building)

Hidden River, 2005

Adrian McKinty

Most people don't know Denver. Maybe they came skiing here once, or went to a conference. Drove in from the airport, stayed downtown, went to the mountains. Maybe they live here in the white 'burbs. But even they don't know it. They don't know the Denver of Kerouac and Cassidy [sic], of the hobos getting off the freight trains at the biggest intersection in the West. They don't know because the bums have been pushed off the streets, the downtown has been regenerated, lofts, wine bars, trendy eateries and coffeehouses instead of dive bars and diners. John Elway's toothy grin on the posters for his auto dealerships. But the old Denver still exists out on Colfax Avenue where they never go. Or on Federal or in the black section north of the city center.

Colfax for us. Desperate-looking motels, armored liquor stores, Spanish restaurants and bodegas. Prostitutes, pushers, hangers-on at the corners. What are they selling? Is everyone still on crack in this country, or is heroin coming back?

We turn on Broadway past two of the ugliest buildings I've ever seen. One is a tall windowless slab the color of baby puke, the other a demented Lego assemblage of blocks and pyramids.

"Art museum and library," the cabbie explains....

13. Santa Fe Drive

Dead on Her Feet: A Stella the Stargazer Mystery, 1999

Christine T. Jorgensen

The Magic Circle Theater was located in a renovated theater on Santa Fe Drive. This area is made of two neighborhoods, Baker and Lincoln Park, distinct from each other but sharing history.

These were among the original neighborhoods of nineteenth-century Denver, but by the 1960s both time and poverty had eroded them, leaving the large houses subdivided into tiny apartments and the once comfortable brick homes overrun with woodbine. The little bungalows burst at the seams, and plastic flowers grew in the dust.

In the last fifteen years, however, Baker and Lincoln Park had caught restoration fever. Many of the cottages were brightened with new paint, the woodbine cut back. Slowly the subdivided homes had been restored to gracious living behind strong new security doors. They were jumbled together with the tumbledown, time-scarred elements that stubbornly held out behind weed-filled yards and dingy windows.

14. Gates Plant

Plainsong, 1999

Kent Haruf

After that she didn't know what to do with herself. She had made a sudden turn. She was seventeen and carrying a baby and she was alone most of the day in an apartment in Denver while Dwayne, this boy she met last summer and wasn't sure she knew at all, went to work at the Gates plant.

15. Chubby Burger Drive-In

1231 West 38th Avenue

Brown-on-Brown, 2003

Manuel Ramos

I grabbed a bean and beef special and a couple of large Cokes at the Original Chubby's and had my late breakfast in the parking lot, along with several other customers who ate in their cars in the traditional Chubby's manner. While I ate I read the newspaper account of the jailhouse riot. I belched green chile and carbonation all the way to the hospital and Fermin Santos. The hangover that I told Rosa I never suffered eased up a notch.

16. Cheesman Park

New Mercies, 2005

Sandra Dallas

So the two of us cashed in most of our stocks in the spring of 1929 and invested in real estate. I bought the Cardwell, the three-unit apartment building on Humboldt Street where David and I lived and which continued to be my home after he moved out, and two other buildings just across Cheesman Park.

17. Washington Park

Sight Hound, 2005

Pam Houston

She decided she'd been hiding out too much at the ranch and so we rented a tiny apartment in Denver, which, let's face it, is not Prague, and yet we found beauty in it together.

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