The Wootten Building, 1416-22
The Wootten Building on Larimer Street is named for Rike D. Wootten, the banker who helped finance Larimer Square. It is not named for “Uncle” Dick Wootton that served Taos Lightning at Denver’s first Christmas celebration.
Rike Wootten owned three buildings on Larimer street. These were the targets of Dana Crawford’s first attempt to buy property on Larimer street. She approached Rike about the possibility of purchasing the Sussex building, the Kettle building and the now named Wootten building. Wootten owned the buildings for about $50,000. He agreed to half ownership of the building for 6,250 shares of Larimer Square Inc. In a Rotary Club newsletter article in 2015 it reveals that Larimer Square would have never happened had it not been for this match up. Rike Wootten continued a successful career in investment banking and as president of the Colorado Symphony Association.
The 1903 Sanborn maps shows 1416 Larimer as a picture frame factory. Next door, at 1422, there was a mission in the basement. In the rear there was a carpentry shop. The buildings in the rear, along with the rear part of the Kettle building, are now gone. In their place a sunken restaurant space was built. At first it was the Café Promenade. A very popular watering hole in Larimer Square. The night club, Lime, took over the space in the recent past. Now it is the Milk & Honey Restaurant.
In my early Larimer Square brochure it shows six businesses in the building. Facing Larimer street there was a bookstore, The Footnote. Next door was a flower shop called the Flower Stall. In the rear of the building was Poor Richard’s leather craft, Geppetto’s wood carving, Blue Bottle Tree stained glass and The Printery which sold prints and graphics. The buildings at that time had arches which increased the sidewalk space. The arches have since been filled in with traditional store fronts and glass.
The arched front of the building from the original Larimer Square. From David Eitemiller’s book on Larimer Square.
Here is a picture of the rear of the Wootten Building. It shows The Printery. Geppetto’s wood carving shop was on the second floor. The third sign is for the Café Promenade. The story of the restaurant is told in Mike McPhee’s book on Dana Crawford, 50 Years Saving the Soul of a City. Larimer Square continues the tradition of great restaurants.
The Wootten building now is home to one of my favorite stores, San Francisco based Goorin Brother’s hat store. It has been there since 2010. Next door is Wyoming based Mountain Khakis, a life style clothing store which opened at this location early this year, (2017). I think these are the type of stores that will sustain Larimer Square as a shopping location serving locals and tourists.
By the way…..
I stopped in at the Starbucks on Larimer this past Saturday morning after a very cold photo shoot. The manager, Haley Jesseman, let me in on a very important tid-bit. Since the Cherry Creek Starbucks gave up their original location, the Larimer Store takes the title of being the oldest Starbucks location in Colorado. They have been on Larimer Square since 1993. For me, the original store in Pikes Market, Seattle, does not boast its history loud enough. I will certainly let everyone know Larimer Square’s contribution to the caffeination of our state.
By the way…..
I have read articles that place the first post office on Larimer Street anywhere from the corner of 14th to the Sussex building. I will leave this clue as to the real location. Now, where was J. Douglas & Bro.? I hope a little more research will unveil the answer.
Additions, comments or corrections are welcomed.
Happy New Year, JOE S