For more than a
century the Brown Palace Hotel has been setting the standard for luxurious
Not only is it a place steeped in history while modernized for today's
travelers, it is also said to play host to several other era spirits.
Opened in 1892 by Henry Cordes Brown, the hotel has never closed, not even
for a day, though it has undergone numerous renovations throughout the
Brown originally left
his Ohio home in 1860, planning on striking it rich in
However, as his family passed through
his wife liked it so much, she reportedly said to him,
"Mr. Brown, thou may press on to
if such be thy wish. I shall remain here."
their home, the Browns soon homesteaded 160 acres on what would later
become known as Capitol Hill. A shrewd businessman, Brown
developed the acreage into the most influential neighborhood in the
city, where the wealthy began to build palatial brownstone mansions up
and down Grant and Sherman Streets.
Henry made a fortune
from his real estate development; however the economic panic of 1877
nearly destroyed him. He was forced to sell his palatial estate
Tabor for $50,000, but the enterprising Brown soon recovered his
fortune and by 1880 was worth nearly five million dollars, making him
one of the wealthiest men in
When the Windsor
Hotel, one of Denver's most elegant at the time, would not let Brown enter
because he was dressed in cowboy attire, Brown decided to build his
own hotel, and in the process, outdo the Windsor.
In 1888, he retained
architect Frank E. Edbrooke to design a new hotel,
the likes of which
had never before been seen in Denver.
At a cost of an unprecedented $1.6 million, the luxury hotel was built
in the Italian Renaissance style on a triangular lot at the
intersection of 17th and Broadway. The exterior was
built with Colorado red granite and
sandstone, complete with 26 hand-carved stone medallions, each
depicting a native Rocky Mountain animal. Made by James
Whitehouse, the carvings can still be seen
between the seventh
floor windows on the hotel's exterior.
Inside, the hotel featured the nationís first atrium lobby with
balconies rising eight floors above the ground. White onyx and
marble was imported for the lobby, the Grand Salon and the eighth
floor ballroom and some $400,000 was spent in the fine furnishings
that graced the hotel.
On August 12, 1892, the hotel opened to the awed socialites of
who were stunned by the iron grillwork panels, volume of onyx and
marble, stained-glass ceiling at the top of the eight-story atrium,
the fine furnishings and numerous amenities.
Serving only the very
best, the Brown Palace
initially provided meat, vegetables and cream from its own farms.
It generated its own electricity, had its own incineration system for
garbage, and its own artesian well to provide water.
During the hotelís early days it is said that a tunnel once connected the
with the Navarre building across the street, a gambling den and brothel at
Over the years, the
fabulous hotel has seen hundreds of celebrity guests, from Presidents to
Rock Stars, and has a wealth of stories ranging from Prohibition raids, to
bulls having been displayed in its lobby, to the birth of the
Broncos, to --- you got it Ė ghosts!
legend is that of a Denver
who once lived in room 904 from 1940 to 1955. Later, when
the hotel began to offer tours, the story of her life and heartbreak
over a lost love were told to the visitors. Strangely, the
switchboard suddenly began to receive calls from room 904. But
this was impossible, as at the time, the room was undergoing
renovation and had no furnishings, lights, carpet, or telephone lines.
Before long, the story was eliminated from the tour and the telephone
calls from room 904 stopped coming.