Tweak Central

This week there were some interesting hurdles with buildAR, but our efforts have been relentless. BuildAR has been undergoing updates and maintenance periods but we have taken every hurdle with grace. Any information or image that was lost with the update was quickly added again.

This week has been all about adjusting images positions, sizes and locations to ensure that our project works and looks the way we want it to. We hope to do more on site testing to see how everything works in real time at the locations. In addition we are making final revisions to our blog posts to make the history of our buildings appealing and interesting.

We have been very determined to get this project working the way we had in mind. Our project presentation is still a work in progress.

Good week

We really made breakthroughs using BuildAR this week. It finally feels like we’re controlling it, not the other way around. Everyone made progress on their pages and it felt good to start putting all our research into the form that will be read by our target audience. We’re gathering tons of great FYIs and DYKs? After out post last week, a decent of Soapy Smith himself, Jeff Smith, contacted us to give us more deets on his famous (re: infamous) relative. I’ve read his book on Soapy for another class and highly recommend it. t

We’re going to test our work next week and see how it looks in practice. We’re getting down to the do-or-die, less than a month to go until we unveil or project to Sophie at Historic Denver… and the world! (insert nefarious laugh here. Muwahahahaha!!!)


Union Station

A key entrance to Denver, tunnels were dug to allow famous (or infamous) people to sneak into town. These tunnels ran to hotels, Turkish baths and other places (many of ill-repute.) Before you go searching, the tunnels have long been filled in.

A restaurant inside the station used to feature five-star food including a t-bone for $1.65 or New York steak for $2.25. Sorry, vegetarians, salad was not a main dish. The best you could hope for was scallops or shrimp for $1.25. However, fruit pie was only $.15 so eat dessert for dinner!

Noted bunco artist “Soapy” Smith started his criminal empire on a Union Station corner using the scam of money-wrapped soap bars. A shill would pick pre-arranged piece of soap from a barrel proving one could “win” a $100 for a $.10 bar. No one ever won.

Image President William Taft at Union Station – Denver Public Library – Western History Collection

No stranger to politics, the station has hosted many dignitaries over the years. Presidents such as Roosevelt, Truman and Taft have all stomped in Denver during their campaigns. Sometimes, candidates moved directly to a platform set up in front of the station. After speaking to the crowd, they’d return to the train and leave. This was the only way for voters to see and hear a politician talk (before TV.)


The-once present MIZPAH arch was designed by an East High student. Genesis 31:49 – “May the Lord keep watch over between you and me when we are out of each other’s sight.” Mizpah necklaces were a fad of the 80’s.

Research week


This was a great week, if you’re a research junkie like I am. The group skipped class to do research at the Denver Library’s Western History Collection. If you’ve never been to this unique floor of the downtown branch, you should! It’s amazing! It’s all done in wood to imply a mine shaft, the sort that made Colorado what it is. Inside is one of the world’s largest collection of western literature. There are old city planning ledgers, archives for the Rocky Mountain News and countless books on Denver’s cultural history.

For the first trip, we really just got the lay of the land, learning how to find things on a deeper level than just by name. We spent about three hours total and came away having just scratched the surface. I returned again today (Thursday) after class. Both times, Bruce, a Western History research librarian who happens to specialize in Denver’s buildings, was there. He has a special interest in our goal as he’s on the Historic Denver’s board of trustees. He showed me why the Denver City Railway CO Building (pictured above) was a devil to research. It’s had several names and is often mistaken for the Denver City Cable Railway Building and Denver City Tramway Building. We also discovered how often the addresses for the places we’re researching have changed. A book Bruce showed us has all the original names for the Lodo streets. Often, the front was moved from one street to another, making for two addresses in the databases.   

One cool thing today came in the form of a journal from 1902. Called the Journal of American Progress, they featured an entire issue to Denver. They keep it in a hermetically sealed room, free of climate and temperature changes. Looking through it was like looking back in time. I found a couple great articles, one on the Columbia Hotel and one the Saddlery. I had to take photos of the articles because the magazine is too delicate to run through any sort of copier/scanner (without incurring a large fee.) Speaking of the Columbia, did you know that there were two fires there, seven years apart? Talk about seven being an unlucky number!

We also finally got to play around with the BuildAR program. It doesn’t offer the options the other similar programs due, so we’re having to scale back some of our ideas, but we’re getting the hang of it. Our goal is to each have one of our buildings ready for demo on Monday. I laid the groundwork for all seven, but am still digging to find the human elements to put in my historic body.

Like I said, it’s been busy, but great, and we really feel like the ball got rolling this week.


LodoDenver Team