Spotlight on Denver Architecture: The Brown Palace

One of our favorite pieces of architecture in Denver is the historic Brown Palace Hotel.
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It is the second-oldest operating hotel of Denver and is one of the first atrium-style hotels ever built. Henry C. Brown built the triangular-shaped hotel at 321 17th St. in 1892, and it is the city’s second-oldest hotel, after the Oxford.
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The Brown Palace was one of the first to incorporate an atrium-style design. Over the years, it has hosted several U.S. presidents and other dignitaries, including members of the Beatles.

The hotel is located at 321 17th Street between 17th Street, Broadway and Tremont Street/Pl in downtown Denver behind the Republic Plaza. The main entrance door is on Tremont Street.

The hotel was the site of the high profile 1911 murders in which Frank Henwood shot and killed Sylvester Louis “Tony” von Phul and accidentally killed an innocent bystander, George Copeland, in the hotel’s “Marble Bar.” Henwood and von Phul were rivals for (or shared) the affections of Denver socialite Isabel Springer, the wife of wealthy Denver businessman and political candidate John W. Springer. The murders culminated in a series of very public trials.
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Tradition runs deep in the Mile High City and the Brown Palace is no exception. Due to a long-standing association with the National Western Stockshow, the Brown Palace has a tradition of displaying a grand champion steer in the atrium lobby during afternoon tea each January. Recently a bee colony was constructed on the roof, helping to pollinate various plants in Civic Center Park planted by the hotel. The honey harvested from the colony is used in both the spa products unique to the hotel and in tea service and specialty culinary offerings. As of 2013 the hotel was up for sale.


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