LoDo Walking Tour Training Materials

Hello 2018 Historic Denver Docents!  This page has been created to host your reading assignments, post presentations from class and share additional information that may be helpful when giving the LoDo Walking Tour!

Back to Docent Resources

DAY 1 – Denver History

Click HERE to read “Gold” in Denver: Mining Camp to Metropolis
Click HERE to read “Native Americans” in Denver: Mining Camp to Metropolis
Click HERE to read “Town Building” in Denver: Mining Camp to Metropolis


Lower Downtown Historic District
The general boundaries of the district are Cherry Creek, 20th Street, Wynkoop and the alley between Market and Larimer Streets. Deviations are:
– At 19th and Wynkoop the boundary jog southeast to Wazee and then continues to 20th (Littleton Creamery is not in the LoDo Historic District)
– At 16th and Wynkoop the boundary jogs northwest to Wewatta and continues to Cherry Creek
– At 14th and the alley between Market and Larimer the boundary jogs southeast ½ block to Larimer and continues to Cherry Creek

NOT included within the boundaries of the Historic District are Union Station, Littleton Creamery,the Union Pacific Freight House, the entrance plaza to Coors Field with the “ball arch” and the adjacent parking lot.

Click HERE to view the Historic Landmark map for the City and County of Denver.

List of Books to read as other sources (optional):
Denver: Mining Camp to Metropolis, Stephen J. Leonard and Thomas J. Noel: This is the book where several readings are from and uploaded on the docent website
Denver: The City Beautiful and Its Architects, 1893-1941, Thomas J. Noel and Barbara S. Norgren
The Lower Downtown Historic District, Barbara Gibson, Historic Denver Guides: This book will be provided to you through the docent website toward the end of the training

LoDo – Denver’s Lower Downtown Success Story, Click HERE.

Source: Denver Public Library

List of Various books/references to prepare your tour.

DAY 2 – Architecture — Some links are not working, but will be updated by our second training on February 10th

Click HERE to read Chapter 7 in The Good Guide: A Source book for Interpreters, Docents, and Tour Guides
Click HERE to read an excerpt from How to be a Tour Guide: The essential training manual for Tour Managers and Tour Guides. Author: Nick Manning
Click HERE to read an excerpt from Personal Interpretation: Connecting Your Audience to Heritage Resources. Author: Lisa Brochu & Tim Merriman
Click HERE to download the HD Walking Tour Introduction Guidelines. Work on your theme, what story do you want to tell throughout the tour you will lead? How will you connect all the buildings through this overall theme?

PDFs of Application Forms for the National Register of Historic Places:
Crocker Cracker Factory
Denver City Railway Company Building
Denver Union Station
General Electric Building
J.S. Brown Mercantile Building (Wynkoop Brewery)
Littleton Creamery (It took months for the ice to melt when it was being renovated first into the design center and later renovated into residences. Renovations began in 1984 and began leasing space in 1986)
Oxford Hotel
Sugar Building

Wazee Exchange Building: This is the oldest building on our tour route, constructed in 1871. Here is a good place to highlight a few items:

1) Juxtapose the 1871 building with the 1995 Coors Field — compare and contrast (there is a 124 year difference between these two buildings)

2)This building could only have been constructed if the Railroads were coming through Denver:
It has a Steel frame Structure, which you know from the large panes of glass on the first floor of the front facade, because there is little structure or brick between each window pane. These large steel structural materials were delivered by train.

Also, the pressed metal cornice piece that adorns the top of this building was not made locally, but was made in Brooklyn, New York and was delivered out here by train in large sections and put together on site. The pressed metal is mainly composed of steel with zinc or tin added to the alloy to make the metal more malleable.

Here is the company that did the current restoration work to bring the Wazee Exchange back to its historical state, click HERE.

When was the viaduct along 16th street removed?
The 16th Street viaduct was built between 1881 and 1889. Prior to 1992 the 16th viaduct carried nearly all of the local and express buses coming from the west and northwest. The viaduct was falling apart. In about 1988 Paula Woodward did a story on her TV news show about the fact that pieces of the bridge were falling off when buses and large trucks drove on the viaduct. RTD hired a bridge engineer to check the bridge monthly and certify that it was operational.

In 1990, RTD started building the I-25 bus lanes which included a direct ramp from I-25 to the river side of DUS. RTD, Trillium, and the City also started preparing the development plan for the river side of DUS – the Central Platte Valley. As the plan developed, the City rebuilt 15th Street with an underpass under the mainline tracks and RTD completed the direct ramp from I-25. The local buses began using 15th and the express buses started using the direct ramp. At that point, the 16th viaduct came down to clear the way for the 16th Street Mall to be extended.

Otis Elevator at Sugar Building
The Otis Elevator Company officials believe these elevators to be the only ones of this vintage still in operation in Colorado and possibly west of the Mississippi. According to the National Register Nomination form there are 2 still operating, a passenger one and a freight one. I only know of the passenger one that is still working today.

Click HERE for Historic Resources of Downtown Denver, National Register form

Digital Library where you can find historic photographs:

New Construction within Historic Districts Information
The LoDo Historic District was established in 1988, so anything built before then had no regulations. Also at the beginning of the established historic district, sometimes decisions were made that would not be made today. Regulations of the Historic District has also evolved over time.

1860 Blake Street Parcel information (Crocker Cracker Building lot)

Red House articles: 
Olson Kundig – architectural firm’s page
New York Times article on this house.

Littleton Creamery/Ice House Building Dates:
1903 – original structure at the corner of 18th and Wynkoop; a five story heavy timber framing structure with basement

1912 – second building – five story structure was added to the NE side, made of a steel framed structure with concrete slabs and brick exterior walls

1916 – third building – concrete structure with reinforced concrete frame and concrete slab with brick exterior walls

1917 – three floor addition to the central structure (1912 structure), for cold storage
Source: National Register Nomination Form posted above.

Design Guidelines for Lower Downtown Historic District (this was an early attempt to manage development in LoDo; but was not strong enough so the Historic District designation was signed into action by city council)

LoDo Neighborhood Plan, click HERE.

Take a look at the art and history of the Oxford Hotel, click HERE.

DAY 3 – Becoming an HD Docent

Click HERE to read “A Spiderweb of Steel,” in Denver Mining Camp to Metropolis

Click HERE to download the Theme Building Worksheet. Please complete this worksheet before February 24th. This will help you to establish an underlying theme for your tour, while you continue to work on your presentations.
Click HERE for Instructions.

Biography of Charles Boettcher
Click HERE to read a history of Charles Boettcher and the Boettcher Foundation.

Click on the names below to learn more about the architect’s featured on our tour
Frank Edbrooke
Montana Fallis
William Fisher
Aaron Gove
Robert Willison

Sign at Denver Union Station
Here is an article from the Rocky Mountain News dated June 11th, 1953 stating that the sign at Denver Union Station once alternated between “Travel by Train” and “Ship by Train.”

Fun Preservation Links:

Terra Cotta DUS

Measuring Economic Impacts of Historic Preservation: A Report to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, November 2011

PlaceEconomics, Donovan Rypkema: http://www.placeeconomics.com/

“Good News in Tough Times: Historic Preservation and the Georgia Economy,” prepared for Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources; prepared by PlaceEconomics in 2010)

“The Economic Power of Heritage and Place: How Historic Preservation is Building a Sustainable Future in Colorado” http://www.historycolorado.org/sites/default/files/files/OAHP/crforms_edumat/pdfs/1620_EconomicBenefitsReport.pdf

Windsor Farm Dairy building Photo, 1910-1920? Building with no first floor windows on the left and right sides

Windsor Farm Dairy building Photo with president of the Windsor Farm Dairy, 1900-1920(?)
This photograph shows windows on the first floor, but if you study the image this section may be the original central section of the building in the first photo and what we see today. The left and right portion of the building that you can see in the first photo and today may have been built after the central portion. You can see another, shorter building on the right that is not there today.

Fun article on the Ice House/Littleton Creamery.

Denver Urban Renewal Authority, Skyline Renewal project forum: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=207698
(This forum has great information about the transformation that Central Business District of Downtown went through and some great images)

DAY 4 – Denver, the Railroad, and Building Materials

Click HERE to read “Reinventing Downtown,” in Changing Places – THIS IS A REQUIRED READING ASSIGNMENT, page 178-200. It is essential to understand Lower Downtown and how it developed over the year, as well as the revitalization efforts to make it what it is today.

This website has some good Tips for Tour Guides: http://www.beoo.com/tips/how-to-be-a-good-tour-guide

Click HERE to view a great photograph of what Wynkoop Street taken between 1920 and 1935. The photograph shows streetcars lined up on Wynkoop Street in front of Denver Union Station.

Height Limits
Question: Is there a building height limit in LoDo? I took a tour in DC last week and learned that the baseball field was lowered 46 feet so the ball park would not exceed the height limit. Did the Rockies have to lower Coors Field?

Yes, there is a height limit in LoDo. The Lower Downtown Historic District has a height limit first and foremost because it is a historic district. The fact that the area is a historic district takes precedence over zoning. Though, most of LoDo is zoned D-LD, which is Downtown-Lower Downtown. This zoning restricts height of buildings to 55-85 feet in Lower Downtown and Larimer Square.

You can see the zoning throughout the entire city on this interactive map, HERE

Here is an excerpt from the Zoning Context:

Description of District
The district is intended to provide for and encourage the preservation and vitality of older areas that are significant because of their architectural, historical and economic value. A variety of land uses will be permitted in order to facilitate the reuse of existing structures without jeopardizing or reducing zoning standards promoting the public safety, convenience, health, general welfare and the preservation of the comprehensive plan. New residential development is encouraged. The design of new structures should recognize the style and character of adjoining building exteriors, i.e., cornice lines and building materials and colors should be similar wherever possible.

As for Coors Field, it is not in the Lower Downtown Historic District so it did not have to be lowered because of Design Review in a Historic District. However, planners at the time did decide to restrict the height of the stadium to preserve mountain views and because the stadium is attached to a historic warehouse. In fact, the field at Coors Field is located 21 feet below street level.

Click HERE to learn a bit about Coors Field.

Havey Productions, the creators of the movie Denver Union Station: Portal to Progress: http://www.haveypro.com/website/portfolio/denver-union-station/

A good book to use as a resource: Denver: The City Beautiful and its Architects, 1893-1941, by Thomas Noel and Barbara Norgren.
Can be found at the Denver Public Library.

Additional Building Information:

Merchandise Mart: This scan is from the Historic Denver guidebook, The Lower Downtown Historic District, by Barbara Gibson

Crocker Cracker Factory
Question: When was the Crocker Cracker Factory actually built?

Answer: There is a discrepancy in construction dates, but if you read in the materials there was a fire in the building in 1885 and then much of the interior was rebuilt. My instincts point to that the building was built before 1885, so perhaps the 1881 date is correct for the initial construction. Then the second date of importance is 1885 for the rebuilding of the structure.
Note: You do not need to say the exact date for every single building. When there is confusion in the original construction dates like this one you may say something like “The Crocker Cracker Factory was constructed in the 1880s”

Good article on LoDo: https://history.denverlibrary.org/lodo-denvers-lower-downtown-success-story

As we all know, Denver Union Station went through a huge transformation. You can check out these resources for more information about the work.




Fun article on Denver Union Station, and other great Amtrak Train Stations in America! http://www.greatamericanstations.com/Stations/DEN

A Denver Post article on Union Station right before it was reopened after its most recent restoration. http://www.denverpost.com/entertainment/ci_25997081/union-station-gets-major-makeover-133-years-after

One of our former Docents, Larry Ralston, did a presentation in the past on the Railroad in Denver, and these documents are from his research and presentations.
Rail yard History
David Moffat
William J Palmer timeline

Ghost Signs of Denver:
Look at these two links for Ghost Signs around Denver. Some of these are not in LoDo, but we do have quite a bit of concentrated Ghost Signs along our tour.
Waymarking site
Second Site of signs around Colorado

DAY 5 – LoDo Through the Years

Development in Denver
Do you ever wonder about all the construction taking place around Denver Union Station? The Denver Infill Blog features constant updates

Certification Information

To understand some of the topics we will be looking for during certification, please click HERE.

For the Certification Evaluation form, click HERE.

Certification Schedule for LoDo tour:
Alison and/or Seasoned Docents will be certifying docents-in-training for LoDo on the following days:

Sunday March 25, Friday April 13, Saturday April 14, Monday April 16, Tuesday April 17, Friday April 20, Saturday April 21

Please email Alison with the day and time that works best for you no later than March 16th.

Miscellaneous Important Information

Download an app to locate AED (Automated External Defibrillator) locations near you. You do not need to do this, but it was a question asked by the 2015 docent class and I wanted to provide it to you too. http://www.firstaidcorps.org/locate-aeds-near-you/

Click HERE to see VISIT Denver’s website. VISIT Denver Address: 1575 California St, Denver, CO 80202. We advertise with Visit Denver, and they have our Walking Tour Rack Cards at their locations around town.

Boundaries for Lower Downtown Historic District are roughly from Speer Blvd, 20th St, Wewatta St. to the alley between Market and Larimer St. See city district map: http://www.denvergov.org/maps/map/historiclandmarks