When The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa opened its doors on Aug. 12, 1892, it was the tallest building in Denver and the city’s first steel-frame building. Known for its unusual triangular shape, the hotel was also lauded for its eight-story atrium, the first hotel atrium in the world, which is topped with a (still-in-existence) stained glass roof.
Ohio businessman Henry Brown arrived in Denver in 1860, and knew just what he was doing when he donated 10 acres of land to the city to build its new capitol building. As his surrounding lots grew in popularity and value, Brown sold them off and built Henry C. Brown’s Palace Hotel (now The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa) in four years at a cost of $2 million. Three hundred Knights Templar dedicated the hotel Aug. 12, 1892.
Over the past 125 years, some changes have been made to the historic hotel, such as moving the grand entrance from its original location on Broadway to Tremont Street, when Broadway became busy as more people began driving cars. In the 1930s, the hotel’s eighth and ninth floors were transformed into Art Deco-style permanent residences called the Skyline Apartments, essentially an early experiment in mixed-use space where tenants lived into the 1980s. Today, these floors house the Top of the Brown Guestrooms and Royal Suites, and the Deco aesthetics remain.
In addition to its notable architecture, The Brown Palace has lived up to its early motto, “Where the World Registers,” welcoming royalty, U.S. presidents and celebrities over the past century. The Beatles stayed at the hotel before their performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre during their British Invasion in 1964 (drawing a crowd of 5,000 outside the hotel);…