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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 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.
Ever wonder where to park a horse downtown? Well, if it's a bronze sculpture by Frederic Remington, and you own the parking lot, whey not put it in its own dedicated parking spot? That's just what the undisclosed owner of this property did with their large and expensive sculpture. You can gaze at "Mountain Man" yourself in the 1900 block of Broadway. More info about the sculpture and its placement can be found here, courtesy of Andrew Kenney at Denverite.
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.
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.
It sounds like the perfect alibi: "That couldn't have been me, I was at Grandma's house" or "You know nothing bad ever happens at Grandma's house". Besides indulging in alibis and irony you can drink beer, play games and join with others in activities such as foul-mouthed cross stitching on Sundays all while surrounded by all the decorations you would find at your grandmothers.
Got writer’s block? This place might help. Poet’s Row is a group of historic art deco style apartment buildings along the 1000 through 1200 blocks of Sherman Street. The buildings are named for poets and other American writers. Most of the buildings were designed by Charles Strong who was a really interesting guy too. Walking on these blocks offers great photo ops and might even inspire you. Nothing beats being a poet.
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.
In the shadow of the Wells Fargo building (one of Denver's tallest) is a small park serving as an urban oasis. The Adirondack chairs come with footstools for serious relaxing. One of the things that makes this park unique is that due to the proximity to the skyscraper, it is always shady during the heat of a summer afternoon. To top it all off, there is usually a food truck parked on the street.
About Wacky Denver
It is wacky!