1406 Larimer Street
The Neverland building was built in 1993. Eighty-nine years earlier, J. M. Barrie wrote Peter Pan, a story about a precocious child living in Neverland, who refused to age. Larimer Square has slowed the aging process of their old buildings. Perhaps by naming the building after the fictional place where inhabitants refused to grow up, they would preserve the street.
I suspect Rick Geiser, the architect for Semple-Brown construction responsible for adding to Larimer Square, wished that building next to the Hope Hotel would age slowly like the rest of Larimer Street. On either side of the Hope Hotel there were empty lots in the 1960’s and ‘70’s. Larimer Square associates added retail and office space in 1993 to fill in voids on Larimer Street.
Starbucks coffee now occupies the ground floor of 1406 Larimer. This location is unique in two ways. It petitioned corporate to hang local artists, rather than company art work, on the walls of the store. Only one scene of Larimer Street remains. It also was one of the first of four locations in Denver to offer alcoholic drinks after 4:00 P.M. That too has gone by the wayside. But, the location continues to not only caffeinate customers, it keeps its employees loyal.
Before Neverland, this was the location of the nation’s first Embalming school. Auguste Renouard (1839-1912) found a niche in Denver. Embalming evolved from the Civil War when bodies of battlefield causalities were shipped home to loving families. Goldfield Argonauts who felled before they found their fortunes were shipped back to their families. A. Renouard experimented with chemicals to prolong the flesh for the trip back to the states. He stepped up his research to start the first embalming school in America in 1874 at 1406 Larimer. He is mentioned in the Undertaker’s Manual in 1876, and also in the second edition published in 1881. Renouard is listed in the Denver City Directory of 1877, 1879, 1881, 1882 and 1883. He worked for E.P. McGovern & Co. and John J. Walley and lived at 11 Water Street, then 13 Water Street and finally 13 South Water Street. He is missing from the 1884 and 1885 directories. In 1887 he opened the United States College of Embalming in New York City. His school was so successful that a monument was built in Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, in his honor by members of the trade.
As mentioned in the last post, the addresses on Larimer Street changed slightly. The Sanborn Maps of 1887 show the address of the third building from 14th Street as 336 in the old system, and 1408-1410 in the new system. It is now it is listed at 1404 & 1406.
The 1890-1893 Sanborn maps list the building as the Coroner’s office. In the middle of the building was the morgue. The 1903-1904 Sanborn map shows the morgue gone and the back of the building a stable. By the 1920’s the building was a wholesale paper business, the rear being the warehouse.
The Plotkin Brothers were paper dealers. The 1923 City Directory lists Joseph Plotkin and Isadore Plotkin as the brothers who made up the business. Joseph lived at 930 Marion, Isadore at 1530 Federal. The business’s manager was Samual Goldberg who resided at 3811 Madison. The company’s salesman was Desire A. Joliette, (his wife was Louise M.), they lived at 2972 Osceola. The last two employees I found in the directory were Gladys McGovern who lived at 3219 Adams, and Herbert W. Hall residing at 3811 Madison. The Sanborn maps list the address as a paper business into the 1950’s but it is not know if the building survived that long.
This is the 1993 building at 1406 Larimer Street. Starbucks is front and center, 2017.
T’is the season…on Larimer Street.
Comments, additions and corrections are welcomed.
A special Thanks to Mary Rozon who provided the source to the information on Auguste Renouard.
Volume XXVII July 1950 No.3