Discovering Denver: Brick by Brick

Denver is a storied place. Beginning with the Native Americans to the Gold Rush to modern times, Denver’s history is explored in the newly published third and fourth grade book, Discovering Denver: Brick by Brick. The idea for Discovering Denver: Brick by Brick was first brought to Historic Denver Inc. and the Molly Brown House Museum’s attention by our local school teachers. There was a need for a school aged history on Denver. Historic Denver Inc. was then granted money from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Peter Grant Preservation Fund for Colorado and by a State Historical Fund grant from Colorado Historical Society.

The publication, found online at http://www.mollybrown.org/discoveringdenverbrickbybrickbook/, is a 52 page book telling Denver’s history using our historic fabric.

Whether you are young or old, Denverite or newcomer, you can enjoy the tale of Denver with Natty the narrator. Natty shows two children, who are new to Denver, her box full of treasures. Each treasure deals with a period of Denver’s history. The use of artifacts and the built environment provide many teachable moments.

Discovering Denver highlights many buildings including the Four Mile House, Denver’s oldest building. Built in 1859, it survived the fire of 1863. Many Denver buildings were burnt down in this fire, so the town declared a Brick Ordinance. This required all new buildings to be made of brick or stone. That is the reason why we have so many preserved brick or stone buildings in Denver today.

Another building important to the history of Denver is Union Station. In 1875, Denver had four train stations. This made it hard for travelers to change trains and make their connections. Union Station was designed in 1881 to serve as the hub for all the train lines. Thousands of people have gone through Union Station, which is still in use today.

The Daniels and Fisher Tower is an iconic building in downtown Denver. The Daniels and Fisher Department Store was a 5 story building on 16th Street. In 1911 the large clock tower was added next to the store. At 330 feet it was the tallest building in Denver for almost 50 years. The store was torn down in 1971, but citizens fought to save the tower and it is now one of the most recognizable buildings in Denver.

The Mile High Center was the first skyscraper in Denver. It was built in 1956 and designed by I.M. Pei. At 23 stories high, it was the first structure taller than the Daniels and Fisher Tower. The Center still stands today, although part of it has been changed by the structure next door.

To learn more about Denver’s history, please download Discovering Denver: Brick by Brick today!

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