The Barth Hotel, 1514 17th Street
The Barth Hotel started life as a warehouse, not a hotel. Moritz Barth hired architect Frederick Carl Eberley, (1844-1915), in 1882, to construct the Union Warehouse. It was used as warehouse for the Union Liquor Wholesale Company. The name “union” appears to have come from the proximity to Union Station. Moritz Barth started his fortunes with a shoe business and poured his money into real estate.
The architect, Frederick Eberley, seems to have a penchant for the liquor trade. He designed parts of the Tivoli Brewery. The house he lived in at 1739 East 29th Avenue is called the Schulz-Neef House. Schultz was associated with the German American Bank. Neef owned the Neef Brewery. Add to this, the Union Liquor Warehouse.
Eberley also seemed to touch financial doom. When Irving Marcus bought the building in 1926, now converted to a hotel, he didn’t hold it very long. He went broke in the 1929 depression. Neef closed his brewery when probation came to Colorado in 1916.
In the late 1880’s the Union Warehouse was converted to a 100 room hotel. It was called the Union Hotel. Then before the turn of the last century it was renamed the New Union Hotel. In 1905 the name was changed to the Elk Hotel. In 1930-31 the hotel was bought by the son of Moritz Barth, M. Allen Barth. It was christened the Barth Hotel.
The hotel business was not foreign to the Barth Family. M. Allen’s mother, and Moritz’s wife, Georgia Anna, owned the 200 room Roosevelt Hotel at 18th and California. Nor was M. Allen just a inn keeper. He graduated from Harvard, earned a law degree at Denver University and was a 33 Degree Mason.
Georgia Anna Barth died in 1928. M. Allen moved to Florida and passed away in 1963. In 1980 the hotel was purchased for $600,000 by Senior Housing Options as an alternative choice for those displaced by the lack of downtown housing. It is now home to 62 residents after $1.3 million renovation.
For many years phases like “downhill slide”, “slow decline”, and “seedy reputation” were used to describe the Barth and the surrounding area. Now, the revitalization of the area is on a stellar trajectory. The Market Street Transit Station has been removed and is being redeveloped. The Barth Hotel is just across the street from the development. A block away, on Market street, there is a historic row of buildings called the Market Center.
This is the second part of this post. I was lacking clear photos of last week’s subject, the St. Elmo Hotel, and this week’s subject, the Barth Hotel. Like many Sunday mornings, I take advantage of the light traffic and photograph buildings. I took photos of the hotels. But then noticed that the street in front of the Market Center was being bulldozed. The Market Center is the nice row of old buildings between 16th and 17th on Market.
I finished my photo shoot and went home to trade my camera for my metal detector. I missed the chance two years ago to search in front the Tivoli Student Union when the lawn on the east front was redone. I didn’t want to miss another chance to treasure hunt an old Denver street. After searching for a couple of hours, I had little to show for my efforts. But, what I found, was satisfying. I found an old horse shoe. I only found one coin, a post 1959 Lincoln Head penny. I did find plenty of construction materials and a part of a wheel or piece of machinery. It was fun and different way to enjoy history.
The diggings on Market Street.
Found treasure… I really had my heart set on a $20 gold coin.
I got the luck, just not the money.
The Union Warehouse, also called the Union Hotel, the New Union Hotel, the Elk Hotel and the Barth Hotel.
The sign for the Elk Hotel, still in the pavement for travelers walking up 17th Street to the hotel.
If you haven’t seen it, this the new sculpture on the side of the Maven Hotel. It is located in the entrance to the pedestrian friendly alley in the rear of the hotel. The alley looks great. My only complaint is the same as Larimer Square. When you are taking pictures at 8:00 A.M. the music seems too loud. I think the hotel guests could hear the music piped into the alley. Below is a picture of the walkway. Its Great!!
To wrap things up, Tamara Hoffman asked what is the architectural term for the angled entryway into the St. Elmo Hotel. I did some research and found two terms. The first one calls it a chamfer. A second source calls it a bevel. Does anyone have any other information?
For long time Denver residents, TV reporter Reynalda Muse and her husband, city attorney, Daniel Muse, lived at 1739 East 29th Avenue, the Schulz-Neef house. This is the house Eberly lived in.
Additions, comments and corrections are welcomed.
Thanks, JOE S
Dear Joe S,
Thank you for your nice article, “The Union Warehouse – Barth Hotel 1514 17th Street,” with mention of my great grandfather Moritz Barth, his wife, Georgia Anna Barth, and their son, my grandfather, Moritz Allen Barth.
With my sincere appreciation,
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