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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 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.
At Forest Room 5 you're surrounded by wood and trees. Inside the tables and bar surround you with the warm vibe of wood. You'll feel like you landed in Portland OR. Old films from the Criterion collection play behind the bar, and there's even a book vending machine. Yes, a book vending machine. Outside there are trees, a creek, a teepee , a watchful deer, and campfires to warm yourself by on a chilly evening. Hiking boots are optional.
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.
There are three kinetic sculptures in the lobby of Denver Public Schools' Emily Griffith Campus in Downtown Denver, which is open to the public. The art is by John King of Lyons, CO. While you are in the lobby, you can also check out the wood sculptures by Ted Esselstyn.
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 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.
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.
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.
About Wacky Denver
It is wacky!