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Old Posted Oct 2, 2013, 1:33 AM
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Denver Urban Renewal Authority's Skyline Project Era

Let's rewind back to 1967 when something voter approved happened and we lost a lot of Denver's soul. With the support of Mayor Currigan, the Denver Urban Renewal Authority's Skyline Project received the okay to execute a plan: demolish 27 contiguous blocks of downtown. The reason for this project was exactly what 'Urban Renewal' meant and it seemed like the right thing to do at the time: push the poor and 'rundown' out of Downtown Denver, and grow it into a 'real city'. There was a time when Downtown Denver had a tight knit urban fabric full of historic buildings, and streetcars. Now most of that is gone, replaced by parking lots, and modern skyscrapers. It really is a beautiful sight to see, as much as it's a painful one. Without further ado, let's take a look at this beautiful massacre, shall we?

The 1950's. Pre-Skyline renewal when everything was still there:


[Source Unknown]

Here are some great aerial shots from 1976. Look at all that parking! It's sad to think every single one of those lots had a building standing on it.


reel #86 - aspen & newport, 1976 by Nick DeWolf, on Flickr


reel #86 - aspen & newport, 1976 by Nick DeWolf, on Flickr


reel #86 - aspen & newport, 1976 by Nick DeWolf, on Flickr


reel #86 - aspen & newport, 1976 by Nick DeWolf, on Flickr

Next up.. Remember Dynasty? That took place in Denver right smack in the middle of DURA's project.. Here's a good look at Denver in one of their intros:

Video Link


These next photos are from either the Digital Collection at the Denver Public Library or an unknown source where these pictures have been in circulation around the internet with no known source. (To keep consistent with resolution I'm re-hosting these of Flickr with the collection reference / source link at the bottom of each picture)


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm...id/31395/rec/1


[Source Unknown]


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm...d/36188/rec/25


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm...d/36189/rec/26


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm...d/36198/rec/27


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm...d/64198/rec/45


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm...d/64201/rec/48

16th Street right before it was a pedestrian mall..


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm...d/82255/rec/55


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm.../id/592/rec/28

I cringe everytime I see this.. Energy Plaza..


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm.../83319/rec/104


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm.../83320/rec/105


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm.../83461/rec/114

100% automobile oriented.. Lower Downtown was not what it is today. It was a bunch of warehouses.


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm...2/id/4/rec/169



http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm.../id/61/rec/178


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm...id/109/rec/190


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm...id/110/rec/191


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm...id/116/rec/196


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm...id/142/rec/213


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm.../id/592/rec/28

Viaducts and Wynkoop Street.. Wow..


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm...id/129/rec/208

This building was torn down to build our 714' tallest building.. Republic Plaza.


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm...d/83558/rec/30


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm...d/17414/rec/18

Besides all of the destruction, the construction was probably breathtaking..


[Source Unknown]


[Source Unknown]


[Source Unknown]

My goal in all of this is to see what the street level looked like when most of the DURA blocks were just fields of parking.. Here are two that are kind of close. These are taken right in the middle of the DURA field.


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm...id/121/rec/201


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm...id/121/rec/201

That's all I have for now.. If you have any photos please contribute, I know I'll try to keep this as active as possible! This hardly ever gets talked about, probably because it's so horrid, but it's a huge part of Denver's history and a great lesson of what not to do going forward.
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2013, 11:24 PM
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I thought everyone might get a kick out of these. The first is from 80 feet on our Triangle Building site and the second is from 250 feet on our 16 Chestnut site. If you want to see these huge, navigate on over to my flickr site.





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Old Posted Oct 2, 2013, 11:36 PM
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Awesome yet tragic photos. Thanks for sharing.
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Old Posted Oct 3, 2013, 3:01 AM
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Some of us of course remember the early 80s boom and its immediate aftermath. I was already into the World Almanac skyscraper lists, where Denver had a better showing than Seattle. There was some jealousy.
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Old Posted Oct 3, 2013, 2:00 PM
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I wish this one was larger...but look at that intact grid and building coverage!






Market street in the front? What is that roundhouse??

2005 Sandia Software


ghostdepot.com



before the CML

corailroad.org
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Old Posted Oct 3, 2013, 9:30 PM
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Great thread, Ryan.

Here's what I can contribute:

1983 Blizzard:


Historic Images



Quote:
16th St. Viaduct looking S.E. over Platte St. and into lower downtown. A long and strong viaduct piercing the valley from the Highlands to downtown. Above the ground 25 feet, the blacktop road and steel handrails connect the neighborhoods. Central St. to the west, and Wazee St. to the east, and spanning Platte St. Remember those stairs up from the ground at various points, leading to the bus stops? 1984
BuckFifty


Quote:
16th St. looking north on Wazee St. where some of the revitalization was beginning, with Stuart Buchanan fine antiques and Oxford Hotel on the left and Rockmount Ranch Wear and the Terminal Bar on the right. Firemens Gain Elevator at the end of Wazee St. in the middle of image. It was a great (still) area, the neighborhood had numerous projects, the Edrooke, the Wynkoop, Acme and Volker. The Oxford Hotel and Cruise Room . . . and the Terminal Bar.
Also BuckFifty
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Old Posted Oct 9, 2013, 9:21 PM
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While I was at work today, I found a lonely book.. Decided to take a peek and found some awesome pictures from this era..

The book is:

"The Pioneer Western Bank First of Denver 1860-1980"
by Eugene Adams, Lyle w. Dorsett, and Robert S. Pulcipher.

(c) 1984, First Interstate Bank of Denver, N.A and Robert S. Pulcipher.

Obviously these are geared toward First National / Interstate bank but still some neat finds in the book:

First here are two panorama's I have yet to ever see!





Now some pages:



Oh the Tabor Opera House..



This guy is still standing, thankfully!



Just for fun because you don't see much 1910's construction..



Pre-Skyline renewal.. Look at all of those beautiful buildings!!













That's all from the book.. I'm sure I'll find more pictures soon
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Old Posted Oct 22, 2013, 7:44 PM
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Found some good gems on the interwebs today..

Denver 1975 via Barthworks



1670 Broadway under-constrcution



DCPA Under-Construction





Various towers Under-Construction



Wow.. Just wow...

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Old Posted Oct 22, 2013, 7:58 PM
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Denver 1979 via Dave Higgins, on Flickr

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Old Posted Oct 24, 2013, 2:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcp View Post

Market street in the front? What is that roundhouse??
I know I'm late to answer this, but that is most likely the Gettysburg Cyclorama, which was on 17th and Champa and was a giant painting-in-the-round of the battle of Gettysburg. The building burned down in 1905.

blog4history.com

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Old Posted Oct 28, 2013, 9:36 PM
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Today I have some destruction photos... All from the Digital Western Collection from the Denver Public Library



Majestic Building on 16th and Broadway torn down in the late '70s





Making way for the US Bank Tower.. Luckily we have the bank building which is now a hotel.



"Forward Metro Denver"



Copper building on 17th Street right as the charges went off. First time I have seen a skyline renewal sign. Ironic they have the clocktower as a symbol given they were going to demo that building too.



Albany Hotel demo



Lastly, another skyline shot with, most notably, 555 17th Street (formally known as the Anaconda Tower) rising above the rest.

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Old Posted Oct 31, 2013, 6:40 PM
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What a great (and brutal) thread! God this is killer, though. Similar to the St. Louis urban renewal plan(s) that completely wiped the area where the Arch and over to Busch Stadium clean. So heavy handed in the worst way! I don't think Kansas City had anything like this.
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Old Posted Nov 1, 2013, 4:52 PM
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It's so depressing and so cool at the same time. Such an intriguing era..

Here's a fun one.. The cash register building aka Wells Fargo Center aka First Interstate tower in the 80's with the top still a steel structure. On the very bottom you can see the very top of the hotel cosmopolitan which later got destroyed for a parking lot...

Source unknown.

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Old Posted Nov 5, 2013, 3:52 PM
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Some of the most fascinating shots of Denver ever.
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Old Posted Nov 12, 2013, 10:57 PM
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bunt_q submitted this to the Denver Development Thread.. I thought it was worthy of this thread too. 1999 Broadway under construction (going in where the church is). Church is still there and the building wraps around it.

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Old Posted Nov 13, 2013, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanD View Post
With the support of Mayor Currigan, the Denver Urban Renewal Authority's Skyline Project received the okay to execute a plan: demolish 27 contiguous blocks of downtown. The reason for this project was exactly what 'Urban Renewal' meant and it seemed like the right thing to do at the time: push the poor and 'rundown' out of Downtown Denver, and grow it into a 'real city'. There was a time when Downtown Denver had a tight knit urban fabric full of historic buildings, and streetcars.
I've done that a few times in Simcity. Didn't know it could actually happen in real life. Seeing high rises next to completely flat and empty parking blocks looks alien as hell.
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Old Posted Nov 15, 2013, 6:51 PM
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1600 block of Larimer



From: http://www.stayathomebrad.com/2012/0...street_denver/ And the Denver Library
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Old Posted Dec 23, 2013, 4:19 AM
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Here's a good one.. Denver 1962 when we just started to build towers..

via The Denver Eye

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Old Posted Dec 23, 2013, 5:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanD View Post
Here's a good one.. Denver 1962 when we just started to build towers..

via The Denver Eye
So, is that the Valley Highway in the foreground? I had no idea that Pei's Mile High Center (left side of image) was so old. I just looked it up. They started work in 1952 on that building.
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Old Posted Dec 23, 2013, 3:30 PM
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It looks like the valley highway to me. Does anyone have a recent photo from that angle during the day? It would be interesting to merge them. Here's a night view I found with a quick Google search..


http://rondakimbrowphotography.500px.com/#/0
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