Lincoln/Broadway Self-Guided Walking Tour

Stop 6:  Masonic Building - 350 S Broadway (Stay on East Side) - Looking at Alaska Place / Goodheart Building

Topic: How Broadway's streetcars contributed to the rapid development of South Denver. Location of old Montgomery Wards building.

Click on the link below to listen to read the content below:

Stop 6 - Story.m4a

“On Christmas in 1889, the new Broadway Trolley made its maiden voyage and the City of Denver, the town of "South Denver", and Englewood became more interconnected than ever before. This expansion of the trolley system allowed new residents to easily travel from their homes to downtown Denver and other commercial districts. 

“By the early 1890s, there were three different street railway companies with routes within walking distance of South Lincoln, the Denver Tramway Company, the Denver Circle Railroad, and the Metropolitan Railroad, which provided easy access to Denver and other surrounding areas and spurred the growth of development along South Lincoln and Broadway ”

“These railway companies built streetcar lines that allowed the footprint of the city to grow larger. “Once they built a line, they would build a tightly knitted street grid along the line. Not just houses — stores, schools, doctors’ offices, and grocery stores. The streetcar system led to flourishing, compact neighborhood hubs like South Pearl Street — where people could walk to their daily needs, or take transit to destinations further “

“By the 1900’s , a rail supply yard and streetcar depot was built on South Broadway between Bannock and Alaska place. It was conveniently located on the Broadway shopping strip and easy access to the rest of the neighborhood to walk to. At the start of their life the streetcars would charge 5 cents to ride, and by their end they charged 10 cents. Up until the 1940s, up to 90% of travel to and from Baker and West Wash Park was by the streetcars! The walkability of Broadway and Lincoln St. made it so it was easy and safe to access Broadway shops for whatever you needed.”⁸

“The 1920 streetcar strike in Denver contributed to the ultimate demise of the system. Squeezed by inflation, in 1917 trainmen considered forming a union, an idea that they abandoned after winning pay increases that brought top wages to thirty-four cents per hour. Spiraling inflation quickly washed away those gains. In 1918, the War Labor Board suggested pay increases to forty-eight cents an hour for all trainmen with more than one year of service. To fund such wages, the company asked for higher fares, and the City Council sanctioned a penny increase to six cents per ride in September 1918.”

“In a bid for votes, Dewey C. Bailey, the new mayor, promised that he would reduce fares back to five cents. Bailey was elected and the city council followed his lead. On July 5, 1919 the city forced the company to roll back fares. In response, the company reduced trainmen’s top wages to thirty-four cents an hour, laid off hundreds, and reduced service. The Denver Tramway strike started August 2nd 1919. A convoy of twelve large automobiles carried the 150 strikebreakers to the Tramway’s South Denver barns in the 400 block of South Broadway, Ingraham recalled that, “missiles began to fly … stones, rocks, and everything but gunshots.”  Once inside the barns, strike breakers ordered that all unarmed strikebreakers be given guns. As the days wore on, thousands of footsore Denver commuters grew impatient with the seemingly ineffective strike. On August 5th, a Mob stormed the Denver Post and throughout the next 30 hours, seven people died making it the deadliest strike in Colorado’s history. At the conclusion of the strike, more than 700 strikers lost their jobs. Commander Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood would later say that arming the strikebreakers had been "a colossal blunder.” In the aftermath of the strike, the Denver Tramway Company filed for bankruptcy which began the demise of the streetcar system. By 1950, all tracks were removed and routes were converted to electric buses.”⁸

Has anyone ever walked by this building and wondered why there is a heart on that chimney stack? The building across the street was originally built in 1901 by Luke Goodheart who lived at 550 South Lincoln Street. The Goodhearts were well known in the neighborhood and loved by all. He established the Broadway Laundry and Towel Supply Company. Some workers insisted the place was haunted possibly by a ghost of a woman who had been killed in a laundry vat in the 1930’s on the 2nd floor.  The 2nd floor had also been a boxing ring and some say that at night it sounded as if old fashioned laundry equipment was grinding away.

Click on the link below to hear the destination of the next stop:

New Recording 25.m4a

South Broadway Yards at Alaska Place -  Denver Public Library Special Collections  Call Number: X-27882 -  

Tramway cars parked at DTC South Broadway Station at Alaska Place / S. Broadway (Near Dakota ave.)  - 1900-1905  Denver Public Library Special Collections  Call Number: X-18317 - 

1948 - View of Broadway - Streetcars and through traffic .

Denver Public Library Special Collections  Call Number: X-22526 - “1st & Broadway off-street parking” 1948 

View of Broadway in 1941 -  Denver Public Library Special Collections  Call Number: X-24682 - “Broadway 1941” 

Denver Public Library Special Collections  Call Number: CHS-L184 - “Transportation - Trolleys- Car #119 showing motorman and conductor on South Pearl Route” Https:// 

Photos Shown: