Sixteenth Street Mall

Year Listed: 2009
County: Denver County
Construction Date: 1982
Threat When Listed: Demolition
Status: IN PROGRESS
 

The mall was designed by the internationally renowned architectural firm I.M. Pei & Partners of New York. The main features of I.M. Pei’s design include polychromatic patterned granite pavers, wide sidewalks and a central tree lined corridor. The mall opened on October 4, 1982 and, on that day, it attracted over 200,000 people. Today the Mall is rated as the top visitor attraction in the metropolitan area. Its free shuttles serve an average of 55,000 commuters and tourists per day.

Pedestrian and vehicular traffic creates considerable wear and tear that jeopardizes the original design and materials. Concern over the future of the Mall arose in mid-2008 because the Regional Transportation District (RTD) expressed interest in removing the pedestrian median and replacing the intricate pattern of granite pavers in order to address recurring and expensive maintenance concerns. The proposals, if implemented, will destroy key aspects of the original I. M. Pei design. In May of 2008 a panel of experts from the Urban Land Institute advised Denver to fix, not change, the 16th Street Mall. They declared the Mall “public art of the highest international quality.”

The Downtown Denver Partnership spearheaded efforts to develop a rehabilitation and treatment plan for the Sixteenth Street Mall, with support from Colorado Preservation, Inc. and a number of organizations including, RTD, the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, City and County of Denver, and Historic Denver, Inc.  The recommended alternative work plan seeks to rehabilitate rather than replace the distinctive granite pavers that define the Mall and utilize an improved system of installing the pavers to minimize movement caused by heavy bus traffic.  Instead of removing the pavers as planned, the city began the process of turning over and reusing the existing stones.

Additional Links:

Historic Denver, Inc’s Efforts to Save the 16th Street Mall

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Featured Project

4 Bar 4 Ranch

Homesteaded in 1895 by Dick McQueary to provide a stop for the Georgetown Stage Line, the 320-acre 4 Bar 4 Ranch has strong ties to Grand County and Colorado's heritage. The Georgetown Stage Line traveled on the road through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch from Idaho Springs to Hot Sulphur Springs over Berthoud Pass. In 1895 a roadhouse and stage stop were constructed on the ranch. The hotel and barn were constructed using trees from the Ranch property, and the hotel remained open for travelers coming over Berthoud Pass by horseback and wagon until 1913. With the coming of the automobile, the roadway over Berthoud Pass and through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch was considered an integral part of the Trans-Continental “Midland Trail” highway. Following the closing of the stage line, the ranch continued to host travelers until 1912 or 1913 when it was purchased and converted into a Ford Motor Company . Ford vehicles were sold here until 1917, when Harry Larkin purchased the ranch site. Today emergency efforts are underway to ensure it survives through the winter. Donations are in need. To learn more, contact Jennifer Orrigo Charles at jorrigocharlges@coloradopreservation.org.

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