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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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The Cherry Cricket restaurant has been in Cherry Creek for 72 years. At one point it was owned by Governor John Hickenlooper. Besides serving famous burgers it also has features that certainly qualify it for a Wacky Denver listing: In the bar area, on the ceiling is a replica of a hockey rink. Around the edges of the rink you'll find celebrity autographs from visitors. Another notable part of the Cricket is the wall of aquariums. After a kitchen fire they had to close for some months. Upon reopening, they held a funeral for the fish that had died in the fire/closing. Editor's note: Besides respecting their fish, they also respect their employees-paying them while the restaurant was closed for repair.
Years ago Steve Goodman wrote a song about Door Number 3, which was a reference to the tv game show "Let's Make a Deal". The challenge of choosing a door has come to life in Wheat Ridge where you'll find this wall of doors. None will literally open for you, but you can still ponder your choices in life.
Ride the Cyclone!
Lakeside Amusement Park offers cheap thrills at a bargain price. Though the park as seen better days, the wild collection of rides and attractions (many in disrepair and functioning) provides a glimpse into the past of popular amusement sites. Cheap admission and cheap rides make it an easy visit. And while you are there, be sure to stay after dark. As the sun goes down and the dark hides the dirt and disrepair, the real magic starts.
One of a kind. Visit while you can!
Although Denver is over 800 miles from the Mississippi River there is a massive riverboat replica in South Denver. To add to the wacky factor it's actually a car wash where the only water is internal, not external. And you can't reach this nautical monument via a river. It's at 3480 South Poplar Street just off of Hampden Avenue. GIven the height and immensity of the structure you'll have no trouble sighting it from Hampden. Now someone needs to show this to John Fogerty of "Proud Mary" song fame.
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.
Tourists and newcomers may be surprised when they walk on the west side of Curtis Street, between 15th and 16th Avenues in Denver. At times it sounds like a subway is rumbling underneath your feet. Here's a sample:
There are other sounds that play as well and if you haven't heard them, I won't spoil the surprise. This audio art has actually been around for decades, created by artist Jim Green-who lives in Denver. I'm impressed with it's whimsy and longevity. Enjoy!
The "I Made It" community woodshop is a makerspace with a welcoming old school vibe. The wood is locally sourced, the pricing is by project and folks are ready to help you bring your wood creation to life. To top it off, you can book parties including their house beer and wine while they teach you how to make...drink coasters of course. More serious woodwrights can make one of kind pieces of furniture. This is where your DIY project can become a masterpiece.
Rockmount Ranch Wear isn't just any western clothing store. The founder, Jack Weil (Papa Jack), invented the snap button shirt. Jack worked until he was 107 years old and made it his aim to ensure that people living in the American West had their own cool style. If you check out the location, make sure you go upstairs to look at the mini museum!
About Wacky Denver
It is wacky!