Testing Week

This week we attempted to test some of the LoDo Destinations in real time. We were able to view a couple of the buildings augmented through our smartphones and see where we need to do some tweaking (resizing of images, image placement, etc.) We did run into a hurdle while doing this, but everything is up and running again! We will continue to test the locations over the weekend as well as next week.

Additionally, we are now in the process of creating our presentation of our learning experience with augmented reality and its relevance to history. We aim to show how history through augmented reality can entice the public, allowing for history to be preserved and valued.

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  


Are these genres ill-suited to sustain other modes of visitor engagement?

The primary genre of this venue is visual in the form physical signage in the form of street signs, building signs and historical markers. While the street signs and building signs work well for guiding a visitor to their location, they do not do much to educate and/or inform the visitor to the history of the building. Historical markers can do that, but as small, sporadic and hard to see, especially if destination orientated.

What other modes of engagement would be desirable for the venue?

Augmented reality can make use of all three of the genres by adding another layer of information, being it picture, text or video. It would allow for even destination-based visitors to access historical knowledge while on the move.



The plaques don’t call attention to themselves, not attracting new audiences to the venue. The current audience is sustained by the newsletter – physical or electronic – but the actual buildings themselves don’t draw people to their historical significance in the formation of Denver.

The website available is disorganized. It’s decent, but doesn’t highlight their social media or their access to a plethora of information. The link to the story trek, one of the greater influences in their goal of spreading history, isn’t easy to do find and the separate link itself is not visually appealing or engaging. The signage for the trek is scattered as well, hard to figure out it’s purpose in a greater scheme.



Audience Engagement

Each of the genres currently present in the physical location are signage for navigation and posters/sandwich boards serving as advertisement for restaurants/boutiques and in some cases events. These are designed to facilitate navigation, whether for consumers to find their way around the area, or find their way into businesses. There are also plaques on some of the buildings that are designed to inform people of the history of the buildings. But not only are these plaques hard to find but they are also not affiliated with historic Denver. They’re designed to facilitate knowledge but are ineffective.




As we said in our presentation, there was very limited well… everything. It seemed as if the Lodo History book she had focused solely on the architecture and design of early Denver. There are plaques and other small signs that explain and point out historic landmarks, but none seem to be very noticeable. The book featured pictures of the original building or landmark, then it had about 500-1000 words worth of an explanation. The excerpts explained classic design and its significance. There was no audio, or video. They really don’t even have Social Media that’s accessible.



Primary Genres

The primary genres/forms of media occupying the venue are limited to plaques on the sides of some historic buildings and mainly advertisements on the sides of posts. In addition, “Historic Denver” can be found at the top of some of the street signs.