I’ve been reviewing some negatives of Denver street scenes from the 1950s in the Denver Public Works Records (WH1741). This collection of negatives was created by Traffic Engineers with the Public Works department to document innovations—and perhaps problems—with Denver’s traffic flow.
The photographs are fascinating. Photos depicting places that have changed drastically over time are among the most amazing. Anyone familiar with downtown Denver, South Broadway or Tennyson Street today will agree that a lot has changed. The image (above) of 16th and Champa is wonderful because it shows pedestrians nearly taking over the downtown intersection, crossing diagonally (an idea known as the “Barnes Dance,” which was minted in Denver during the 1950s). Some of the children in the center of the photo must have been waving at the photographer perched above, prompting the question - how exactly did they get that vantage point?
Tennyson Street in North Denver will look strangely familiar to anyone who knows that intersection today. It was, and is, a commercial hub in Denver’s Berkeley neighborhood, and many of the buildings still stand. The photograph above depicts Tennyson as a much quieter street than it is in 2019, and the neighborhood signs show more retail and services than you’ll find there today. Presently the commercial strip is dominated by restaurants and bars.
What stands out to you in these images of 1950s Denver?
Sorry - top LEFT corner! It says Champa and 16th...
Good catch! I have fixed the typo. Thank you Patrick!
My mother worked at the Gates Rubber Company starting around 1958. I remember going with her on the weekend when she had to work overtime ... staying quiet. I remember her going to the Credit Union to take care of her banking. I remember the Christmas parties for the employees children. I remember the Clinic where I went when I was sick. THANK YOU for posting this.
Christmas parties for Gates Rubber Company employees' children? I'm impressed they did that! Thank you for sharing these memories of Gates, Pam.
I went to Alcott Elementary in 1954. The school is on the opposite corner of 41st. Elitches is at 38th, three blocks south!
Thank you for the comment! You're right, Alcott Elementary was just opposite the vantage point of the Tennyson Street view. It was a beautiful building (see photos in the digital collections.)