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Denver can certainly lay claim to some unique and yes, sometimes, wacky transportation features. I’ll share some of them in this categorized article. You should know that most of these will be in current or future Wacky Denver listings.
Many folks may not know that Henry Barnes started some traffic innovations right here in Denver. The first is known as the “Barnes Dance”. It’s when at an intersection all traffic lights turn red and pedestrians are given the opportunity to cross at any angle, or even do a little dance if they like.
Barnes also synchronized traffic lights so that if you’re driving at an optimal speed, and traffic allows, you can go through a long string of green signals. If traffic conditions are right, you can still experience this on Speer Boulevard, Broadway, and some other numbered streets downtown.
A less welcome traffic-stopping device was born here in Denver…
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Every year in January, near the end of Denver's Stock Show, two prize-winning steers are ushered in on a red carpet to the historic Brown Palace Hotel downtown. People line up to have their pictures taken with the animals so, if you want to participate and fit in, wear your cowboy hat. While you're waiting in line watch ladies in Stetsons enjoying lunch and enjoying live piano musician the stunning lobby. You can also chat with rodeo queens. Amazingly, the photos are free!
The folks at the Art Hotel in Denver have a wry sense of humor. By commissioning a mural by Rob Reynolds depicting and titled Ocean View, they can now boast of offering "rooms with an ocean view". And these are the only rooms with an "ocean view" anywhere in the United States outside of the coastal areas. If you book a room at the Art Hotel for a visiting friend or relative, you'll find out if they enjoy wry humor or not. BTW, if you're on foot, you can view it at the corner of 12th and Broadway. It's above the Burger Fi restaurant.
This is a creative reuse of an old motel that had fallen into disrepair. The new owners made the new anagram Metlo with the original signpost. You won't find any cheap motel rooms anymore, but you will find some very creative businesses using the renovated spaces. The building has also been noticed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and who doesn't love mid-mod architecture?
This Winchell's location on Colfax would be just another little retail outlet on a dreary stretch of road expect for the mural: Nothing to see here but a guy with a donut head hanging out by a phone next to a donut shop.
Don't miss this photo op if you happen to be heading down West Colfax. And why might you be doing that? Across the street you'll find World Famous Casa Bonita!
Tucked away behind armed guards inside a century modern bank builing sits the Money Museum. This free attraction is worth showing your government issued ID and leaving your backpack in the car. Inside you'll find a collection of exhibits about the role of the Federal Reserve and a bunch of money and exhibits about money. Best of all, before you leave, grab a keepsake plastic bag filled with shredded money, about $172-worth, last we checked.
Best of all, the price for this money museum is right: Free
Since Denver is the Mile High City, it is only right that you can stand on a Mile High step on the state capital steps. Just climb the main staircase on the west side of the capital until you see the plaque. You might also notice that the plaque has been moved over the years.
The Equitable building in downtown Denver has a beautiful lobby and it's a great example of Renaissance architecture. That alone warrants a visit. But if you look up, way up, to the top of the building you'll see what looks like vomiting (or spitting?) lions. So, look up Denver, you never know what you'll see up there in the sky or on a building.
Although it's been disputed by other towns and cities, Louis Ballast trademarked the name "cheeseburger" in 1935. His restaurant, the Humpty Dumpty Drive In, is alas no more. But if you go to the Key Bank at 2776 N. Speer Boulevard, you'll find a small marble monument heralding him and his restaurant. You'll have to look closely for the marker, it's barely three feet tall. To properly toast one for Louis and his "curb girls" who delivered the cheeseburgers, the nearest spots are Park Burger and Highland Tap and Grill on 32nd Avenue, north of the marker. A little further away, but at a lower price point, you'll find Burger King on Federal Boulevard and another on 38th Avenue.
About Wacky Denver
It is wacky!