Will New Life Swing Back into this Historic Denver Hotel?
Coloradans are jazzed for the possible comeback of a historic Denver hotel, which once hosted famous musicians like Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and Louis Armstrong.
The iconic property located at 2650 Welton Street was originally built in 1912. It was first known as the Baxter Hotel until it underwent a change in management in 1929 and then became the Rossonian Hotel.
Since racial segregation was still taking place at the time, African Americans - even icons such as Nat Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, and Miles Davis, were turned down by many other Denver establishments when they tried to book a stay. At the Rossonian however, everyone was welcomed in with open arms, so many black performers would end their night back at the Welton location.
With so many talented musicians staying at the hotel and performing in the lounge from the 1930s to the 1950s, the Rossonian earned the reputation for being the best jazz club between Kansas City and the West Coast. People even nicknamed the establishment the "Harlem of the West."
In the 1950s racial discrimination lessened a bit and African American entertainers began staying at the newer, bigger hotels in Denver when they passed through. As a result, the Rossonian Hotel and lounge's popularity had greatly started to decline by the 1960s.
The building changed hands again several times during the early 2000s but plans fizzled when one owner attempted to restore the jazz lounge back to its former glory.
After another recent change in ownership, a new vision is now in the works to redevelop the Denver landmark into a boutique hotel, with a restaurant, retail space, and a music venue while also paying tribute to jazz and the African American culture, as it always has. As of now, developers are still working on bringing the idea to fruition and no completion date has been announced.
With its unique, triangular architecture, the 21,000 square-foot property stands out as something special among the other buildings it's sandwiched between in the Five Points neighborhood of Denver. Five Points is one of the city's oldest neighborhoods, and efforts are being made to revive the entire area into a culturally diverse and thriving hotspot.
The Rossonian was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995 and is also listed in the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties but its charm is truly timeless.