Lincoln/Broadway Self-Guided Walking Tour

Stop 8:  Walking North, Turn at Cedar and Arrive at Archetype Distillery (119 S. Broadway)

Topic: Webber Theater/ Archetype Distillery and the Royal Market / The Ball Park Health Club 

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Stop 8 - Story.m4a

Movie houses became big in Denver in 1916. Pioneer Showman DeWitt C Webber chose to build his “Webber’s show” on South Broadway to rival Curtis street’s status as “movie row”. In 1916, an issue of “Moving Picture World” described his 1000 seat theater as cubist in design and constructed of ornamental stucco. It was embellished with French Doors and Bronze balconies. The interior boasted an aquarium with a background of mermaids painted on turquoise velvet and a water fountain sculptured in the form of a woman's head with water bubbling alluringly from her lips” “Even when the fancy Mayan opened just a few years later at 110 Broadway, some movie fans still preferred the Webber, because it was one of the first theaters in the city with an effective air-conditioning system” You can still see the old architecture of the theater that Archetype distillery now owns today.

In this vacant lot next to the old Webber Theatre was a building first known as the "Royal Market". In the 1920’s John C Rubright of 162 South Lincoln sponsored to build the substantial structure. It was a set of 42 stalls where small merchants could rent space. It never quite worked as Rubright had planned. It was then home of the South Denver Post office from 1920- 1940’s. The post office moved to its permanent home at cedar and south Broadway and it was designed by Louis A Simon as one in the area's last “New Deal” projects.” When it moved out in 1976, the landlord boarded up the architecturally distinguished structure. Soon after a new tenant renovated the interior into an elaborate bath house which was open 24 hours a day and called itself the “Ballpark Health Club”. Though this little dilapidated building next to Kitties South was hated by most nearby residents, the owners of the Ballpark Health Club helped create a better tomorrow for those in the LBGTQ+ community. 

The Ballpark’s legacy? Consider today’s healthcare and support to research for AIDS. The LBGTQ+ community has won much since 1983, and the Ballpark’s contribution isn’t an inflated claim. Forty years ago, the Ballpark owners and grassroots activists nationwide raised a shattering ruckus and the Ballpark was critical to the outreach. Co-owner Paul Hunter, who died of AIDS in 1991, became Mayor Federico Pena’s liaison to city departments and legal counselor to the coalition. Since 1993, his namesake award for uncommon service to the LGBTQ+ community has been given by the Colorado Human Rights Campaign to several in the community.

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Stop 9 - Introduction.m4a

Broadway on Dec. 21st, 1928

Denver Public Library Special Collections  Call Number: X-22514- “Looking South on Broadway” 

The Webber Theatre (Now Archetype Distillery) - Denver Public Library Special Collections  Call Number: Z-10221 - “Webber Theater” 

View of the Royal Market in the 1920's -  Denver Public Library Special Collections  Call Number: RH-745 - “The Royal Market” 

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