Trinity downtown Denver church 2009

A word of advice to people exploring downtown Denver: get off the 16th Street Mall. Some great things go on there, but more interesting, more local things happen elsewhere.

I was crossing the apex of upper downtown Denver after visiting the Denver Firefighter’s Museum (more on that in a later post) and found nothing but government buildings and hotels like the Sheraton and parking lots.

Green Fine Salad Company was closed, so I inhaled tomato soup and salad greens from the Corner Bakery (a lot like a Panera Bread) and headed over to Trinity United Methodist Church, Denver’s first church, at the corner of Broadway and 18th Avenue and Tremont. The church was originally established in 1859, a year after Denver incorporated, but the modern Gothic building shown here, Trinity United Methodist Church Denver 2009designed by Robert Roeschlaub, held its first service at Christmastime in 1888.

Trinity is famous for its organ, which has more than 4,000 pipes. My husband went to church there once as a child (his parents are Methodist), and I believe he got to play the organ.Trinity downtown Denver church organ 2009

Just across Broadway is the Brown Palace, which received its first guest in August 1892, almost four years after the church held its first service. At that time it was on the edge of downtown Denver, to put it mildly.

The Brown Palace is Denver’s only Mobil Four-Star and AAA Four-Diamond hotel. I noted this unusual fact from the website: “The hotel’s original artesian well is located 720 feet deep beneath the lobby floor and still provides water to every faucet in the hotel.” Notice how it carefully does not say “all the water”?

The Brown Palace is one of several locations in Denver where you can have afternoon tea. And if you go in January, you will have your tea in the presence of a champion steer in honor of the National Western Stock Show’s Junior Auction of Livestock Champions.

Brown Palace Denver hotels 2009I have never stayed at the Brown Palace, but my husband and I did consider it as a wedding location in 2002. In the interview (and who was interviewing whom was anyone’s guess), Todd was put off by the revelation that we would not be tasting the food in advance.

“How will we know if it’s good?” he asked.

Stunned by our lack of respect for the hotel’s reputation, the wedding coordinator sputtered, and I, in full-on bride mode, was mortified. Todd was right, of course, and anyway I never did like the hotel’s décor, with several loud patterns clashing in every room.

The Brown Palace offers free guided historical tours every Wednesday and Saturday at 2 pm. Reservations are required. Private tours can also be arranged.

Leave A Comment

  1. Todd Bradley May 14, 2009 at 7:46 am - Reply

    I’m not really sure my parents are Methodist. In fact, I’m probably more Methodist than they are, having been confirmed into the church at age 12 (or was it 13?). I suspect that when they were 12, if there was a church in their respective small towns to be confirmed in, they probably weren’t Methodist churches. And I’m almost certain I’ve been in a Methodist church more recently then they have, since the sole church in Redstone is sort of a mish-mash of Christian and quasi-Christian sects.

    Speaking of artesian wells, I should note that the big honkin’ organ in the church was once powered by artesian well, too, back in the old days before they had a reliable city electricity grid.

    And I’m glad we didn’t have our wedding at the Brown Palace. The catering manager was snooty, of course, but I think our caterer in Boulder (Spice of Life) was probably better. Plus we were able to bring in our own sushi chef. And getting married in the Boulder Theater is much more appropriate for people who love art and music. Boulder Theater = fun times on stage. Brown Palace = hangout for stuffy conservatives.

    Todd Bradley’s last blog post..our home value is going down

  2. Beth Partin May 14, 2009 at 10:11 am - Reply

    Yes, I agree. Do you remember what you played on the organ?

    Beth Partin’s last blog post..Green Festival in Downtown Denver: What Up?

  3. Todd Bradley May 14, 2009 at 10:34 am - Reply

    Well, I didn’t get to play a whole song or anything. I only played one note. I think it was Bb2. We were on a church youth group tour one summer, visiting from Casper, Wyoming.

    I can’t remember if it was the same summer or a different one, but we also visited the Methodist church in Central City. This was long before gambling was re-allowed there, and the town was pretty much in the dumps, falling apart. They were trying to restore the church, and I remember donating $5 to them, which was a lot of money when my parents only gave me $30 for expenses for our whole trip. I seem to recall them saying that organ was the first one west of the Mississippi, and was carried piece-by-piece from Missouri by wagon train.

    The only time I got to play anything of substance on a big ass church organ was at our church in Casper. I was there one time when the organist was practicing. She let me play. I was a little freaked out (but excited) by playing a musical instrument that was so loud. So I played the theme from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” You know the melody they play to summon the aliens in the scene near Devil’s Tower in Wyoming? That one.

    Todd Bradley’s last blog post..our home value is going down

  4. Beth Partin May 14, 2009 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    I think it would be cool to play an organ, but it’s been so long since I learned piano that I can’t remember any songs.

    Beth Partin’s last blog post..The Capitol Building on Denver’s Capitol Hill, Part I

  5. BernardL May 14, 2009 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    I love stained glass windows. Great hotels enjoy proving themselves over and over.

  6. Beth Partin May 14, 2009 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    Bernard, the brochure for the church says most of the windows they were designed by Healy and Millet of Chicago, who used colored and textured opalescent glass. Another window used the painted glass method common at the time.

    Beth Partin’s last blog post..Downtown Denver Restaurants: Bayou Bob’s

  7. Todd Bradley May 14, 2009 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    You’re welcome to play my organ whenever you want.

    Todd Bradley’s last blog post..our home value is going down