Neighborhoods

Tour the Legendary Barnum House!

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Courtesy of Melanie Steinway
Robert Failing in the back yard of the Barnum House, year unknown.
The Barnum House became part of Denver lore through the embellished stories of Robert Failing, a onetime owner who called himself Bart Barnum and, on tours of the place, claimed to be the great-great-grandson of P.T. Barnum, known for his “Greatest Show on Earth” traveling circus. But as a 2001 Westword article revealed, while Failing might have been quite a showman himself, he was no relation to P.T. Barnum. Still, the show must go on, and new owner Melanie Steinway and her housemates are using the space not just as a home, but as a DIY venue for intimate and curated house shows. They’re calling it the Barnum Better Animal Center in honor of Steinway’s dog, guinea pigs and a rabbit named Chicken.