Historic

WALKING TOUR

Follow the footsteps of the people who brought the power of Denver’s African- American community to life. This self-guided walking tour leads you to a series of historic markers within the Five Points Historic Cultural District. The illustrated signs tell stories about the people, places and ideas that helped shape African-American culture and history (article by Linda Dowlen) in Denver.

1. BLAIR-CALDWELL LIBRARY

“The Historic Heart of Denver’s African-American Community”

24th & Welton St. (northwest)

 

Integrated at first, Denver soon fell to the forces of racism. By the 1920s, segregated African-Americans needed a sense of community. They created one on Welton Street that was later called Five Points.

 

2. ALTA COUSINS TERRACE

“Building Community”

25th & Welton St.

 

Pullman porter Charles L. Cousins pioneered affordable housing for Denver African-Americans. The self-taught builder embodied the resourceful and generous spirit of the Five Points community.

 

3. LIGHT RAIL STOP

“Humanity Above Race, Color Or Creed”

2500 Block Welton St. (east side)

 

Five Points dentist Dr. Clarence F. Holmes, Jr. was a tireless civil rights leader who opened doors to racial equality in Denver for more than 50 years.

 

4. LIGHT RAIL STOP

“Lifting As We Climb”

26th & Welton St. (southeast)

 

Meet a few of the extraordinary African-American women who rose to the dual challenges of racial and gender prejudice in segregated Denver.

 

5. ROXY THEATER

“Show Time At The Roxy”

2551 Welton St. (west)

 

In the gloom of the Great Depression, the new Roxy Theater lit up the lives of Denver African-Americans. The city’s only African-American movie house kept locals coming back for more.

 

6. EQUITY SAVINGS & LOAN

“Shelter From The Storm”

26th & Welton St. (southwest)

 

African-American savings and loan, real estate, construction and insurance leaders joined forces in Five Points. They made the dream of home ownership possible for Five Points residents.

 

7. 1888 FIRE STATION #3

“Above And Beyond”

2563 Glenarm St. (east)

 

“Old” Fire Station No. 3 housed Denver’s first all African-American firefighting company. Their story is one of honor, bravery and tragic loss while battling racism, as well as fires.

 

8. 1931 FIRE STATION

“The Pride of the Neighborhood”

2500 Washington St. (east)

 

African-American firefighters at “New” Fire Station No. 3 provided added security, protection and pride to Five Points. They, too,  faced tragedy in the line of duty.

 

9. RADIO DRUGS

“Power Signals”

26th & Welton St. (northwest)

 

From his headquarters at Radio Pharmacy, “Sonny” Lawson transformed Denver’s disenfranchised African-American community into a surging political force.

 

Five Points Historical Marker #10 - Power Signals

 

10. VOTER’S CLUB (Rhythm Records & Sports Shop)

“Rockin’ With Leroy Smith”

2619 Welton St. (west)

 

Cultural trendsetter Leroy Smith was a popular disc jockey, storekeeper, nightclub owner and celebrity promoter. This Denver entrepreneur changed the rhythm of life in Five Points.

 

11. PULLMAN PORTERS & WAITERS CLUB

“Opportunities On Wheels”

2621 Welton St. (west)

 

In 1938 the Protective Order of Dining-Car Waiters and Porters, Local 465, opened a union hall on the second floor of this building. Members are still welcome.

 

12. CASINO CABARET

“Casino Nights”

2633 Welton St. (west)

 

Large and luxurious, the Casino Ballroom featured a hardwood dance floor, a 40-foot bar and the best African-American musicians of their day, including Denver’s own George Morrison.

13. DEEP ROCK BUILDING

“Deep Down Welton”

27th & Welton St. (southwest)

 

Founded in 1896, Deep Rock Water Bottling Company digs deeply into the history of Five Points. Deep Rock bottles pure artesian water from a well drilled in the heart of Five Points.

 

14. THE ROSSONIAN

“Jazz Hot Spot of the Rocky Mountain West”

Welton St. & Washington St. (southeast)

 

Swing back to the times when Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and other jazz giants played and stayed at the Rossonian. Five Point’s premier nightclub featured the world’s hottest headliners.

 

15. FIVE POINTS MAIN INTERSECTION

“Destination Five Points”

 

From horse-drawn streetcars to Light Rail, transportation has always driven the story of Five Points. All aboard for a streamlined journey through the history of Denver’s African-American community.

 

Five Points Historic Markers #16 - Strong Medicine

 

16. ATLAS DRUGS

“Strong Medicine”

2701 Welton St. (northwest)

 

Atlas Drugs was Denver’s only white-owned drug store where African-Americans could sit at the soda fountain. Atlas came to symbolize the growing strength of Denver’s civil rights movement.

 

17. FERN HALL

“If Walls Could Talk”

2711 Welton St. (west)

 

Built in 1886, Fern Hall has been a ballroom, bootleg bar, bakery and boxing gym.

 

18. DOUGLASS MORTUARY

“Serious Business”

2741 Welton St. (west)

 

These walls have seen both lively pool hall activity and the grave matters of the Douglass Mortuary. The building’s historical significance may surprise you.

 

19. FIVE POINTS PLAZA

“We Had It All”

2700 Block Welton St. (east)

 

It started with a grocery store. Pretty soon there were barbershops, tailors, restaurants, saloons, pool halls, doctors, lawyers and funeral homes. Everything you needed was in Five Points.

 

20. LIGHT RAIL STOP

“View From The Street”

29th & Welton St. (east)

 

Along the site of Denver’s Juneteenth Celebration, wide, sunny Welton Street featured Shriners’ Parades, beauty contests and everybody in Five Points showing off their Sunday best.

1515 Arapahoe St.

Tower 3, Suite 100

Denver, CO 80202

Phone: (303) 832-5000​

 

FivePointsBID@gmail.com

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