The Miller Building, 1401 Larimer Street
The next stop is the Miller Building. It is on northeast corner of 14th and Larimer. It is easy to identify because the building houses Ted’s Montana Grill. The grill was founded by media tycoon Ted Turner and George McKerrow Jr. with help by chef Chris Raucci. It gives a nod to environmentalism and buffalo preservation. Colorado has nine locations, nationally, the grill has 45 locations. The restaurant has saved my bacon numerous time when I have had a herd of language students and needed somewhere “American” and predictable to dine.
The Miller building has had a history as a watering hole. Built in 1889-1890 it was home to Gahan’s Saloon. It most attractive feature was its location. Across the street from ’ol City Hall it was the go-to place to lobby politicians or celebrate a vote. The City Hall annex changed on January 1, 1916 when the saloon changed to “Gahan’s Soft Drink Parlor” since prohibition took effect in Colorado, four years ahead of the nation. William Gahan was a Denver Councilman that ran the 7th Ward. Located in north east Denver, the councilman and his brothers ran a saloon at 39th and High Street and 1401 Larimer. When he passed in 1913, his son John took over the establishment-surviving prohibition with a questionable basement operation including gambling and illegal liquor.
Prohibition was going to cure all that afflicted society. It was a battle that had been going on for decades. The 1911 directory lists 1401 Larimer as the Gahan Brother’s Saloon. Across town at 1425 Cleveland Place you could attend the Gatlin Institute specializing in the cure for liquor habits. According to Tom Noel’s book, THE CITY AND THE SALOON, Mayor Speer owes his election to those councilmen who also owned saloons. Liquor is blamed for social woes and its ban is blamed for economic woes.
The 1911 City Directory lists 1407 Larimer, as the Lanktree Hotel. The Hotel took up the top two stories of the building. By 1936 the Lanktree was called the Economy Apartments. There were three other hotels on the 1400 block of Larimer, the Antlers, the Frontenac and the Sussex. Now, there are no residential units on the block. Contrary to stereotypes that the street was filled with bars, the Gahan was the only saloon on the block in 1936.
Here is a photo from David Eitemiller’s book when the building housed the Platte River Yacht Club. Notice the door on the right that leads to the hotel, upstairs.
Like last week’s building, the McKibben building, the reason the building is called the Miller Building is not published. I suspect the name was bestowed upon it when Larimer Square was conceived. Below is a picture of the building that was there before the Miller Building.
Around the Corner and behind the Miller Building is Euclid Hall. At first is was the residence of Dr. George Nicholas Wheeler. It was then a commercial building that hosted lodge meetings. In 1894 the Harmony Lodge #1365, Court Walhalla #8302 and the American Order of True Ivorites met there and spoke only Welsh at their meetings.
By 1915 it must have been used as a city building. The 1915 City of Denver magazine lists the city as paying for necessary repairs and maintenance and 1/3 of the lights for the building. The building also housed the Colorado Relief Corps. It later became the Cootie Club, Maudie’s Flea Market and Soapy Smith’s saloon.
Additions, comments and corrections are welcomed, JOE S
Thank you for the information on the Miller Building. I’m the niece of John Gahan.
My grandmother was William Gahan daughter. I have many items from the Gahan Brothers Saloon including the piano that was played in Gahan Saloon and many Coors items from the Gahan Saloon Thank you for all of this history on the Gahan Saloon as it was not passed on. I have many memories of my be loved Uncle Johnny.
Thank you Barb Keeling Callaway
Thanks. Any stories about the speakeasy in the basement?
ones we can’t talk about on line