Western History & Genealogy Blog

Denver’s Albany Hotel (1885-1976)

Exterior of the Albany Hotel by William Henry Jackson, undated. WHJ-10343.
Albany Hotel menu cover showing the exterior of the hotel after Burnham Hoyt's renovations, 1946. WH1590
New Year's Day menu at the Albany Hotel, 1891. WH1590

A Denver Hotel Built On A Croquet Field, Demolished For An Office Building

In 1882, architect E. P. Brink described plans for a Denver hotel that would combine a traditional American hotel with “a system of palatial French flats.” On the site of a croquet field at 17th and Stout Streets, the hotel was built and opened as the Albany Hotel (named after hotelier W. H. Cox’s hometown of Albany, New York) in July 1885. Appealing to those reaping the benefits of a Colorado mining boom, the hotel was decorated in the style of the elegant 1880s with Persian velvet covering the floors and bronze peacock screens guarding the fireplaces.

The Albany Hotel would go on to host several major events, including the National Elks Convention in 1906 (in which a large bull elk was stabled in the hotel lobby) and the Democratic National Convention in 1908. Wild West Show stars Annie Oakley, Johnny Baker, and William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody stayed at the establishment while playing Denver and hotel manager Frank Dutton soon befriended Cody. Personal mementos Cody gifted to Dutton were put on display in the hotel’s Buffalo Bill Bar.

In 1938, the New Albany Hotel reopened after a major design overhaul orchestrated by architect Burnham Hoyt and closed for good on August 27, 1976. Demolition of the hotel building began on November 17, 1976, to make way for Urban Center I, a 29-story office building with adjoining plaza.

Learn more about the Albany Hotel’s story by visiting DPL’s Western History and Genealogy Department online or in person. Explore the books, photographs, newspaper articles, and menus that bring this hotel back to life!

KATIE… Wonderful narrative

Wonderful narrative piece.

I'm researching dining establishments… that were in business during the year 1882. The lead character in a new novel has dinner with a colorful character… in a 'better' establishment… in [or near] Denver in 1882. Please let me know if your research for this Albany Hotel piece might have turned up some 1882 dining venue candidates.

So far... all I've discovered Pell's Oyster House… might there be others?

Thanks for your help, Gary

Hi Gary! Thanks for your

Hi Gary! Thanks for your comment!

I would strongly recommend checking out the Denver City Directories (available online: goo.gl/1zLCvT).

Denver City Directories date from 1873 and are arranged by name of resident or business name. Towards the back of each volume is a business directory of sorts. For example, I found the "restaurant" heading in the back of the 1882 City Directory (page 663) which lists nearly a full page of Denver restaurants operating at the time: http://goo.gl/E5BB7Z

Thanks for reading, Gary!

Great story Katie. The Albany

Great story Katie.

The Albany was also the scene of a major fire in 1962. Here's the report from the Denver Fire Journal:
On Sept. 2, 1962, fire raged out of control for more than four hours at the historic Albany Hotel in Denver. [Associated Press] The fire killed Stella Bruce, 35, a waitress, and injured about 50 others. A number of firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation. Guests used fire escapes to exit the 7-story building. The Albany Hotel had 300 guest rooms. ADT Box 157 was received at fire alarm headquarters at about 2:20 p.m. local time. [AP story in Ellensburg Daily Record, Denver Firefighters Museum]


Myfather was the bellcaptain

Myfather was the bellcaptain at the time. I will never forget his charred face and the smell of smoke on his clothes when he came home the next day. He worked there for three more years until he took his life in the basement, March 13,1965.

Thank you for adding your

Thank you for adding your comment--the 1962 fire is an important part of the story.