The Paramount Apartment Building Story

14th Avenue between Broadway and Lincoln Street - Denver

  1.       The intersection of 14th Avenue and Broadway has morphed many times, with most of the past activity only vague and blurred memories at best.  As the city grew, the location became prime urban real estate with its location on a main thoroughfare just south of the State Capitol.  When I first arrived in Denver in the early ‘70s, there were many old and elegant buildings around town, and I remember, I think, a beautiful brown-brick building on 14th between Broadway and Lincoln as you entered into Capitol Hill. Like the landscape and the Capitol building, it seemed to have been there forever. As you travelled past Broadway going east on 14th, you could easily see the old brown-brick building on the right, because whatever had been to the west side toward Broadway was gone, replaced by, you guessed it, a parking lot.  I remember thinking, “as long as that beauty stands, Denver has some class!”

     What happened to that elegant old art deco place, and when?  When was it built?  When did it go away, and who were the people calling it home?  Years passed, I moved away then moved back, and I was very sad to see those ugly things standing in place of that classy Denver landmark.

    Well, you see, In the 1960s and 1970s a voracious urban renewal was going on  across this country, where it seemed all old architecture was targeted for demolition to make way for new and improved buildings, in the name of progress, and of course, profit. Yes, the local economies may have benefited, but some would argue at a great loss of history and civic identity. Only through the efforts of a few far-sighted individuals like Denver’s Dana Crawford, and Chicago’s Richard Nickel, did some historic sections and artifacts of these cities miss their date with the land fill. Denver’s Larimer Square district is one such example. 

  1. “Two generations ago, urban renewal authorities across the country began to try to ‘revitalize’ downtown america.. the mindset was to erase the past and write history in the future.. countless historic treasures were destroyed.. countless opportunities lost.“



    Exemplary of this attitude for the disregard of history and historical places is a certain newspaper article from 2010 reporting on the new Judicial Center construction. Sure enough, the Judicial Heritage and the Colorado History buildings on the site were being scraped off to make room within the paved rectangle of 13th, 14th, Broadway and Lincoln.  OK, interesting, if not obvious, but this report goes way off course in describing the site before that, and makes an erroneous statement about the old Broadway School being razzed to make way for the History Museum. NO, BAD newspaper! The school was actually demolished in 1928, many years before that construction began. Fuzzy, inaccurate, and not the truth and nothing but the truth.  End of  story, and OK fine!

      But wait! What?  What about that beautiful old apartment building I remember?  The one with the art deco exterior, stained glass and the steam elevator?  And what about all the history of the other business next to the Paramount? Did they not exist?  Is it bad reporting, unintended fiction, or just the lackadaisical research of records?  I don’t know; however, a few quick searches indicates there is just not a lot of easy detail on the subject.

  1.     It’s Monday, January 13, 2013, the day the new Judicial Center opens. This new center now dominates the downtown Denver location of 14th and Broadway, replacing the so-called ‘file cabinet’ Judicial Heritage building (next to the ‘typewriter’ Colorado History Museum building) built in 1977.  There has been abundant slow-news-day coverage of this story by the various local news organizations, but most of these reports lack accurate information as to what was on this site prior to these monstrous temples of heritage.  So, what was there before the 1970s?  The answer depends on the historian, and therefore, the truth can be quite twisted. 

     On this, the day the new Justice Center opens, I feel the need to start digging deep into the Paramount story, along with the desire to share what I uncover with those who also remember that big old beautiful brown-brick place. So this Colorado History Haunts journal intends to research, report, and hopefully discuss, the old Paramount apartments to resurrect its story, and work to return the respect it deserves as an honest piece of Denver history.  Now, that would be justice!

Please share your insight into the history of the Paramount apartments!

14th Between Broadway and Lincoln - WHAT Was REALLY There ? 1880-1908PARA2.htmlPARA2.htmlPARA2.htmlshapeimage_4_link_0shapeimage_4_link_1shapeimage_4_link_2

     History without fact is fiction, and although this is not an original thought of mine, I do believe it.  Fiction, and fiction based on fact, is fine for entertainment if fiction is expected, but alternative explanations presented as historical reporting is not.  Sometimes a theory is applied because of the lack of conclusive information, but never presented as fact. This journal continues in an effort to find and present historically accurate records of the way in which this little part of Denver changed over the years, and to discover some of the many fading memories surrounding it - for our mutual entertainment.  And with more pictures, I promise.