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Daniels & Fisher Tower - Denver, CO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
N 39° 44.885 W 104° 59.743
13S E 500366 N 4399797
Quick Description: Remaining tower and clock from the original Daniels and Fisher (D&F) Department Store.
Location: Colorado, United States
Date Posted: 1/12/2008 3:43:47 PM
Waymark Code: WM2YTH
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member
Views: 148

Long Description:

When the central and lower downtown Denver urban renewal authority was created, it's goal was to bring viable business back to downtown Denver. However, many historic buildings fell to the wrecking ball and bulldozer. Denver almost lost the D&F Tower to urban renewal. The original Daniels and Fisher Department store building was demolished in 1965, but with public outcry, the tower was saved.

When entrepreneur William Daniels returned from a trip to Venice, mesmerized by Italian Renaissance architecture, he insisted on replicating the famous Campanile in St. Marks's square for the centerpiece of his mammoth department store. Thus, in 1911 the beautiful D&F Tower rose above downtown, becoming Denver's first skyscraper. It was anchored on both sides by a sprawling shopping complex. Construction of the tower, which was part of the Daniels and Fisher Department store, started in November 1910. William Cooke Daniels originally commissioned the tower to stand adjacent to his five-story department store. When completed it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River from 1910-1914 until surpassed by the Smith Towerin Seattle. The D&F Tower was the tallest building in Denver for almost 50 years. The May company bought out Daniels & Fisher in the 1950s. The tower was then known as the May D&F Tower.

While the adjacent five-story emporium was lost to urban renewal, the tower was spared and renovated into offices in 1981 by Gensler and Associates. The slender D&F Tower has a 32-foot square plan. It is faced in blond brick and creamy terra-cotta on a steel skeleton set on a 24-foot deep concrete foundation. Cornices set off a 20th floor arcaded observation deck. The unique revolving doors in the front of the building are duplicates of what was originally used. Fred Larkin owns four of the 18 floors of the tower. "The ceiling of the lobby has been fully restored. It is as fireproof as a building can be. It is concrete and steel and will be here in another 100 years," he said. There are business offices on every floor. The only level which the general public has access to is the basement. Local entertainer Lannie Garrett owns Lannie's Clock Tower Cabaret.

Above this on all four faces are Seth Thomas clocks with six-foot hands. In the two uppermost stories is a 2 1/2 ton bell. The clock itself is the original. To reach the bell tower and the very top, you must use a 50-foot spiral staircase. It too is the original. Twice a year, a professional climber will scale the flagpole and replace the American flag. On what was once an observation deck on the 17th floor is a tribute to some of the men who built the tower. A section of the wall has been preserved that has signatures and dates from the workers. All are dated 1910. This building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The building is open regular business hours and has a historical timeline regarding the D&F Tower's and Denver's business growth neatly tucked into the corner as part of an ornate staircase.

Group or Groups Responsible for Placement:
City and County of Denver

County or City: Denver

Date Dedicated: 1911 built; 1969 National Register of Historic Buildings

Check here for Web link(s) for additional information: [Web Link]

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