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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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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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
I love the varied sounds of a city. These wacky samples are from RTD buses. The first two are announcements from onboard. The automated announcer turns Wynkoop street into a hiccup and Stout sounds like a question being asked with a slight inflection.
Not to be outdone, you can now hear a science-fictiony sound loop emanating from the front of the electric buses on the 16th Street mall. Here's what it sounds like:
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!
About Wacky Denver
It is wacky!