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Politically Significant Sites in the Mile High City


Colorado State Capitol
Colfax and Lincoln

Started in 1890 and completed in 1908 in time for the Democratic National Convention, the Colorado State Capitol Building was constructed using all Colorado material, except for the brass and oak trimmings. Granite was quarried from Gunnison. The wainscoting and pillar facings are of Colorado Onyx, a material unique only in the Colorado Capitol. When this rare stone's supply was exhausted, the basement was finished in white marble. The foundations and walls are Fort Collins Sandstone. The dome was covered in 200 ounces of Colorado gold in 1908.

Women gained the right to vote through a Constitutional amendment passed by the people of Colorado during a general election on November 7, 1893. Colorado became the first state in the Union to approve women's suffrage in a popular election. The right to vote came after two failed attempts over a period of twenty-five years of effort on the part of many Coloradoans.

Brown Palace Hotel
17th and Tremont

Built in 1892, this grand dame features a 9-story atrium topped by a stained glass ceiling.  Every president since Teddy Roosevelt has stayed here, except Calvin Coolidge.

Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to stop at The Brown Palace Hotel.  He came to Colorado to hunt bear in the spring of 1905.  During his trip, he spoke to a group of businessmen at an elaborate banquet at the hotel in which1,500 cigars were smoked.

President Roosevelt's first request on arriving at the hotel in September of 1912 was a "tub of ice water."  It seems his throat was a bit dry after speaking in five Colorado towns that day. This was during his campaign for president on the Bull Moose Party ticket.

Mamie Eisenhower was from Denver and the coupled visited the Mile High City often to see her family, staying frequently at the Brown Palace Hotel. The executive chef at The Brown Palace created a special dish for President Eisenhower – Beef Tenderloin a la Presidente. Ike liked it so much, he ordered it three days in a row.

Ike hit a wayward golf ball while practicing in a room and made a dent in the fireplace mantel.  This room is now the Eisenhower Suite and the dent remains today as a souvenir.

The Gold Room on the second floor of the hotel, where President Clinton stayed during the Denver Summit of the Eight on June 20-22, 1997, was also the room President Eisenhower used to write some of his memoirs.

It is said that a presidential salute was fired from a cannon on the roof of the hotel when Woodrow Wilson was a guest.

In 1919, room service head waiter Randolph Witek, who had served presidents Taft, Roosevelt and Wilson at the hotel, reported that President Wilson was the lightest eater of the three. President Taft, he recalled, ate an enormous breakfast, while the appetite of President Roosevelt was scarcely less hearty.

Buckhorn Exchange
10th & Osage

Denver’s oldest restaurant and saloon was founded in 1893 by Shorty Zietz, a scout with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.  Buffalo Bill Cody was a frequent diner and his favorite drink is still on the menu – bourbon and apple juice. The restaurant has more than 500 stuffed animal heads on the walls and offers a menu that includes buffalo, elk, rattlesnake and alligator.

The Buckhorn has hosted five U.S. presidents including:  Teddy Roosevelt; Dwight D. Eisenhower (his autographed photo hangs on a wall); John F. Kennedy; Ronald Reagan (when he was president of the Screen Actors Guild, his autographed Hollywood photo adorns a wall); and Jimmy Carter (a photo with his hunting dogs adorns a wall not far from Reagan's photo).

John F. Kennedy's Colorado fishing license is framed and hangs on the wall over a cozy table for two.  How it was acquired is not known, but the address on the original fishing license is: White House. 

President Teddy Roosevelt was among early visitors to the Buckhorn when in 1905 his Presidential Express train pulled up in the Rio Grande yards adjacent to the restaurant's front door.  Roosevelt strutted in presidential style, asked the Buckhorn's original owner Henry Zietz to be his guide and hunting partner, and after dinner and drinks, the pair took off by train to hunt big game on Colorado's Western Slope. 

Owner Henry Zietz also accompanied Roosevelt on his hunting trips to Africa.  The 500-piece taxidermy collection that lines the walls of the Buckhorn is rooted in those presidential hunting trips. 

Today an original photo of Roosevelt's Presidential Express train, his autograph on official presidential stationary, and a flag from his train's engine are among hundreds of pieces of museum-quality memorabilia on display in the Buckhorn Exchange.  

During the Denver Summit of the Eight in June 1997, the Buckhorn Exchange hosted the meeting of Secretary of State Madeline Albright and her Russian counterparts.  Also hosted during the Summit were the prime minister of Italy and dignitaries from Japan, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom.

1908 Denver Democratic National Convention
Denver Municipal Auditorium – Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Curtis and 14th Street

From July 7 -10, 1908, the Democratic National Convention took place in Denver at the Denver Municipal Auditorium, the largest auditorium at that time in the nation, outside of Madison Square Garden.  The delegates nominated William Jennings Bryan for their Presidential candidate and John Kern for Vice President.

For the event, Mayor Speer built an elaborate fountain in City Park to greet visitors. This fountain is being rebuilt for the 2008 event.  The Auditorium in which the meeting was held still stands and has been transformed into the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, which opened in 2005 as one of the state-of-the-art opera theatres in the nation, one of only three to feature in seat translation devices.  The Brown Palace and the Oxford Hotel would be the only two hotels still standing from that period that would have been used for the 1908 convention.  Union Station, the Colorado State Capitol Building and the U.S. Mint, are a few of the other structures that would have been standing at that time. 

For a history of the convention:   http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_4993952

The Denver Press Club
(303) 571-5260
1330 Glenarm Place

This is the oldest continuously operating press club in the nation. The club’s early history began in 1867 in the "cyclone cellar of  Wolfe Londoner's general Store/Saloon, which became a sanctuary for the Fourth Estate. A decade later, the club members formalized their gatherings over a Thanksgiving weekend dinner. Since November 1925, the Press Club has been headquartered in landmark clubhouse at 1330 Glenarm Place.


The Fort Restaurant  
19192 Highway 8
Morrison, CO 80465
Phone: (303) 697-4771

This restaurant is a reproduction of the Bent’s Fort, an important trading post on the Santa Fe Trail in the 1830’s and 1840’s.  The Fort is constructed of 80,000 45-pound adobe bricks (each made on the site), supported by hand-hewn beams and is known for its menu of Southwestern cuisine, including buffalo, quail and elk.

President Bill Clinton selected this restaurant to hold the official dinner for the Summit of the Eight in 1997.  The leaders of the eight largest economies of the world had dinner here and posed for pictures in the courtyard.

Public Library:  The Legacy Table
14th and Broadway

Designed by Michael Graves, the Central Library was the site of the Denver Summit of the Eight held June 20-22, 1997.  The Legacy Table was the centerpiece of the Summit meeting area, set up in the Central Library's General Reference Room. The Legacy Table was designed by Michael Simpson, project architect for RNL Design, and built by New Classics Creations, a Colorado firm.

Designed to seat 10, the table is 12.5 feet in diameter and weighs about 500 pounds. It is constructed of 3/4 inch birch ply and features cherry and aspen veneering. The City of Denver's mountain and sun logo is used repeatedly in the table design. The table is permanently installed in the Library Commission Room, Level 7, Central Library and may be viewed during regular hours when the room is not in use.

Seated at the table clockwise from the head were President William Clinton of the United States, President Jacques Chirac of France, Prime Minister Jean Chrétein of Canada, Prime Minister Romano Prodi of Italy, President Jacques Santer of the European Union, President Willem Kok of the European Council, Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan, Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany and President Boris Yeltsin of Russia.


Civic Center Park
Broadway and Colfax

This lovely park oasis in the center of the city is filled with flower gardens and Old West statues and sits in front of the Colorado State Capitol.  Colorado Congresswoman Pat Schroeder declared that she was dropping out of the presidential race in this Downtown Denver park in 1987 at an emotional press conference in which she cried.  For this she was criticized and lampooned on Saturday Night Live and by many in the press, indicating how much times have changed since then.

City Park Electric Fountain 

The Electric Fountain in City Park was dedicated on May 30, 1908, as part of then-Mayor Robert Speer’s pre-DNC beautification efforts.  The fountain, which has long been out of commission, is being restored in time for the 2008 Democratic National Convention.  In fact, a rededication ceremony is planned for May 30, 2008 – the exact 100-year anniversary of the fountain’s first dedication.  Another event – upon full completion of the restoration – may be scheduled for closer to the Democratic National Convention.

More details are available in this RMN article (http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2007/may/08/making-fountain-youthful-again/) and the Friends of the Electric Fountain web site (http://electricfountain.home.att.net/index.html)


A Few Ways Denver has Changed Since the Last Democratic National Convention – 100 Years Ago  

1908: Denver celebrated its 50th birthday

2008: Denver will celebrate its 150th birthday (Sesquicentennial)


1908: Denver had 59 miles of paved streets

2008: Denver has 2,337 miles of paved streets

1908: Denver had 213,000 residents.

2008: If Denver’s 2007 population growth repeats itself, Denver could exceed 600,000 in 2008.  (The Census Bureau estimates that Denver’s 2007 population was 588,349).


1908: Tallest building was the 9-story Equitable Building.

2008: Tallest building is the 56-story Republic Plaza.


1908: The average cost of a hotel room was about $1.00.  During the convention, hotel rooms skyrocketed to anywhere from $20 to a couple hundred for a luxury suite.

2008: The average cost of hotel room in Denver is generally $155.00 a night.  While costs may be more during the Convention, it will be nowhere near the 1900%+ increases in 1908.


1908: Cost of a soda was 5 cents

2008: Cost of a bottle of soda in the Pepsi Center is $3.25


1908: The Denver Convention League outbid other cities by raising $100,000 to host the Democratic National Convention.

2008: The Denver Convention 2008 Host Committee is working to raise $55+ million to host the Convention. 


1908: The Democratic National Convention was held in the auditorium at 14th and Curtis, which cost $700,000 to build.

2008: The Democratic National Convention will be held less than a mile away in the Pepsi Center, which cost $160 million to build in 1999.  The 1908 venue is now home to the world-renowned Ellie Caulkins Opera House, part of the Denver Performing Arts Complex.


1908: First national political Convention to accredit women, with five women credentialed as delegates or alternates.

2008: The Democratic presidential nominee will either be a woman or an African-American.


1908: Convention media and delegates were welcomed to the original Elitch Gardens amusement park.

2008: The 2008 DNC Media Welcome Party will take place at the modernized Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park.


1908: Trains brought mountain snow to Denver to facilitate snowball fights; music from a cowboy band and war dances performed by an Apache Indian troupe were among the entertainment provided by conventioneers.

2008:  Entertainment will include countless parties, major concerts, a grassroots film festival, art installations and more.

Additional interesting comparisons are available in the article at http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_4993952

Some historic photos from the 1908 convention are available at:






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