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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 Ghost Building at 18th and Stout seems to live up to its name. It is a ghost of a building. Amazingly, it's facade-all 1,700 pieces of stone-was moved to this location in 1985. The original building (1891) is named after the real estate tycoon Allen M. Ghost. The architect was William Lang. If you look closely at the facade it show some mysterious faces. The building (in its current location) seems haunted or possibly cursed as a string of tenants have come and gone. None have lasted as long as the facade has.
The RINO neighborhood of Denver certainly has plenty of murals to see, but only one transforms as you walk, ride or drive by it. The artist, Jeremy Burns, took advantage of the louvres or some might say fins of the building on Larimer just north of 27th Street. He titles it "Larimer Boy and Girl". Here's a video of the effect:
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.
Who doesn't love a cowboy in pajamas? The 3 ton, 20 foot tall sculpture at 1725 Champa Street has admirers and detractors. That's abstract art for you, and art that sparks conversations. This, western-inspired, painted bronze sculpture was created by Sean O'Meallie. Its placement near the Renaissance Hotel harks back to when there was an annual pajama fundraiser held there. Perhaps now someone will start a photo collection of pajama-clad people posing with the sculpture. We could feature that on Wacky Denver!
There are quite a few rooftop pools in Denver but none, that I know of, that have a tall glass window into them. This new apartment building should provide opportunities for people to crane their necks as they look up at swimmers looking down. Not sure who will be the exhibitionists here.
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 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.
About Wacky Denver
It is wacky!