The Kettle Arcade
The Kettle Arcade was chosen as the starting point for our tours. It keeps the tour guests out of the elements and has some comfortable park benches. The Kettle Building was built in 1873. The date is part of the façade, and is barely visible in the sandstone medallion under the name, G. E. Kettle. Named for Colorado Pioneer George Edward Kettle.
The Arcade as it is today. (2017)
Faintly revealing the year 1873.
From Mike McPhee’s book on Dana Crawford, this is a picture of the Kettle Arcade Building before it was a pass through. The original restaurant in the Bull & Bear Courtyard was the Café Promenade.
Larimer Square opened for business in 1965. Since that time the Square has been continually updated. The buildings have changed as well as their tenants. Larimer Square is on its third owner. Dana Crawford, the Square’s visionary, was the first owner. In 1986 it was sold to Trizec Hahn Corporation of California. Then in 1993 it was bought by Jeff Hermanson and Larimer Square associates. In 1999, Marc Applebaum working for Semple Brown Design, redesigned the Square, filling in the gaps between the historic buildings with new buildings.
The mural on the ceiling of the Kettle Arcade is dated 1988. It was commissioned to be painted by Evans & Brown, a California company specializing in murals. The firm is run by Mark Evans and Charley Brown. The firm employees artists to paint the murals, their website claims they hire up to 18 assistants to complete a large project. There is a copy-writed photo on the Internet by Glen Martin that shows two artists, Donald Harvey and Donald Gundlach, working on the Kettle Arcade murals. One is on scaffolding and one on a ladder. I suspect these artists were following Evans & Brown’s business plan, painting the murals for the company.
The murals on the ceiling of the Arcade are a segue to tails about Colorado History. The murals are of Chief Hosa, Annie Oakley, Soapy Smith, William Larimer and Robert Speer. Of the bunch, four lived in Denver, Annie Oakley just passed through.
Chief Hosa, also known as Little Raven, was a Chief of the Southern Arapahoes. At first he welcomed white settlers, hoping they would leave after they found enough gold. He then became frustrated with the treaties he signed. Later his frustration turned to anger as the Colorado Volunteers pounced on the submissive Native Americans at Sand Creek.
Little Raven visited Washington in 1863, then again in 1871. Known as a great orator, he gave a speech at the Cooper Union. The Cooper Union is a progressive educational institution that hosted Republican Abraham Lincoln. In a noted speech, Lincoln argued eleven years earlier, that slavery should not be expanded to Western Territories.
Little Raven eventually moved to Oklahoma Territory living at Fort Sill. He was a victim of the influx to the Colorado Piedmont, the loss of the buffalo migration and the region’s lack of water. His conversion to the settler’s ways of using a fork and knife, smoking cigars, supporting farming and education was not enough to integrate fully into white man’s society. His mural is in memory of his initial peaceful welcoming of the settlers.
The next mural is that of Annie Oakley riding two stallions bareback proudly waving the American Flag and shooting her pistol. Annie is waving a flag of 32 stars. The United States sported the 32 star flag for only one year, starting on July 4th, 1958. It commemorated the addition to the Union of Minnesota and was retired when Oregon was added a year later. James Buchanan was the President when settlers arrived in Kansas Territory to establish Auraria and Denver. Buchanan is regarded as one of the worst presidents because his failure to unify the nation over the question of slavery that led to the Civil War. Buchanan’s vice-president was John C. Breckinridge. The town of Breckenridge was name after him, but changed the spelling when Breckinridge fled to the new Confederacy as the nation split.
Annie Oakley’s specialty was not riding bare back but sharp shooting. She joined Buffalo’s Wild West in 1885. Born Phoebe Ann Mosey, she shot to stardom.
Always a supporter of women’s ability to do anything they wanted, she volunteered for the Spanish American war as a sharp shooter. Her offer was declined. It was in this war that Teddy Roosevelt named his unit after Buffalo Bill’s show, calling them the Rough Riders.
Annie is said to have shot the ashes off of German Kaiser Wilhelm II’s cigarette at his request, during a European tour. If she missed it is said the course of history would have been changed. Credited with teaching 15,000 women how to handle a firearm, she was an inspiration for women to be independent.
Annie died childless in 1926. Her husband of almost 50 years, her manager, Frank E. Butler died shortly afterwards. She left her fortune to her family and charities. Living as the generous person she was, she figuratively let the last check bounce.
This is the Evans & Brown signature I found on the Kettle Galley. Thanks to Tom Sanders for telling me about the signature. And thanks to Tom Noel’s book, Denver Landmarks & Historic Districts for the clue about Evans & Brown.
Any additions, comments or corrections are welcomed,
Thanks JOE S