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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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Can you spot the Giant Pencil? What might be or certainly once was a functional smokestack is now an amazing GIANT PENCIL! Or at least it looks like one. A fun game to play downtown: Gee, I lost my pencil someplace, do you see it?
Since Denver is the Mile High City, it is only right that you can stand on a Mile High step on the state capital steps. Just climb the main staircase on the west side of the capital until you see the plaque. You might also notice that the plaque has been moved over the years.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
About Wacky Denver
It is wacky!