Barnum Building, 1408 Larimer Street
This location on Larimer Street was numbered 340 under the old address system. Before Colorado became a state it was the location for the Colorado Territory Governor’s office. In 1874 Samuel Hitt Elbert was the territorial governor. Mount Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado at 14,440 feet was named for him. He gained this honor for opening three million acres of Ute reservation land to mining and railroading. He was then Colorado’s Chief Justice from 1879 to 1883. Elbert was married to John Evan’s daughter, Josephine. When Ulysses S. Grant visited Denver he stayed at the Elbert’s, located at the northwest corner of 14th & Arapahoe.
Also at this location was the dry goods store of Harry Mines and R.C. Elliott. By 1890 the dry goods store was gone and the present building was constructed.
In 1896 the building housed the Colorado Cigar Company. This was run by O.L. Davies. The rear of the building was used for candy making. The 1904 city directory lists the 3rd & 4th floors as lodgings. By the 1920’s it was the location of Ben Cooks Plumbing. The Cooks, (wife: Rose L.), lived at 853 Milwaukee.
In the more recent past, an early Larimer Square brochure shows this was the location of IMAGE-WEST, LTD, a “contemporary” clothing store facing Larimer street. In the rear was COLORADO’S OWN, a craft store. Then the building was home to DOVE. The eyeglass store, the BENT LENS was located in this building at one time. The store front is now shared by AILLEA a beauty products store and FRINJE a woman’s boutique.
Physically, located to the rear of the Barnum Building, is Gusterman Silversmith. It has the address of 1418 Larimer. Gusterman is the longest active business in Larimer Square. It originally was located near the Bull & Bear in the courtyard. Mary Eckels is the owner. It has that “old world” feel when you enter the shop. It is the home to craft persons who are comfortable in their trade. You feel you are being helped by a person that is invested in their career and want you to come back to their store.
One of the oldest businesses in Larimer Square.
From Tours, Denver Part 1, David Eitemiller, Daniel Eitemiller
1408 Larimer Street, the Barnum Building.
Additions, comments or corrections are welcomed.
Thanks, JOE S