Discovering Denver’s history and unique characters

Historic Denver offers its annual walking tours with in-person, phone and virtual options

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Denver’s past includes a multitude of creative self-starters. Some became self-made millionaires, and others were not quite as fortunate.

“They’re all interesting characters,” said Diane Travis, a retired architect who serves as a docent for Historic Denver’s Walking Tours. “The West was populated by people who were willing to work hard for what their future would be.”

In July, Historic Denver kicked off its seasonal Walking Tours, offering tours of LoDo, Capitol Hill, Historic 16th Street and Larimer Square which includes exclusive access to the Daniels & Fisher Tower. The tours will be offered through the fall.

“Each of the tours is custom,” said Travis. She added that some tour attendees are most interested in the history, others want to learn about the architecture and still others want to hear about Denver’s fascinating people from the past. But most attendees want a combination of all three, Travis said.

Traditionally, the walking tours can host up to 20 people, but this year, the tours have been reformatted for social distancing. Participants now have three options to choose from to attend a tour. They are in-person guided tours, Dial-a-Docent and virtual.

An in-person guided tour is available for private groups of no more than five with advanced registration. Masks are required for the duration of the tour for all participants and guides.

Dial-a-Docent allows attendees to connect live via phone with one of Historic Denver’s trained guides while exploring the city on their own. Attendees are provided a map, and the guide will share insider stories along the way, point out architectural details, relate significant historical facts and answer questions.

The current virtual tour being offered is the Women’s Suffrage Tour. This tour is hosted on Zoom, and includes a combination of photographs and video with an expert who discusses the important people and architecture in Denver during the women’s suffrage movement.

“You may have walked by a building and always wondered what it was,” said Alison Salutz, director of community programs for Historic Denver. “The tours are a fun way to learn more about your city.”

People enjoy hearing the stories of the people who lived here “and how they contributed to Denver becoming the city it is today,” Salutz said.

Historic Denver’s tours attract tourists and longtime residents alike, she added.

“They feel like they know the city, but always walk away with new information,” Salutz said. “When we stop and take a closer look, we discover so many neat things.”

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