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.