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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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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.
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.
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.
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!
The Dairy Block was once home to the historic Windsor Dairy. Now it's become a micro-district for food, hotels and shopping. One of the most unique parts of the redevelopment is the alley centered between 18th and 19th and Wazee and Blake. In the alley you'll find cool art installations. Don't miss interacting with Nikki Pike's bronze cast butter churns. When you turn them they come alive with lights and curated music selections(I withheld sharing video/audio here so you can have a fresh experience). If you enjoy a drink with your art, then this alley also is the only place in Denver where you can carry your adult drink between establishments. So...I'll see you cool cats in the alley!
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!
The folks who are creating the Rocky Mountain Land Library and artist's retreat in South Park Colorado have started working on a Denver branch. Located in the old Puritan Pie Factory, it is a carefully curated collection of books related to the environment of the Rocky Mountains. If you get a chance to visit during and open house (they're still working on the location) you'll see some creative tableaus of books and found objects from nature and the old factory. Definitely a one-of-a-kind experience worthy of support.
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?
About Wacky Denver
It is wacky!