Downtown Denver Off the 16th Street Mall

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.