Wake-Up Call: Hold your horses!

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One of the last vestiges of Fred Kummer's reign as a Denver hotelier disappeared yesterday. The two mammoth horse sculptures that had reared their ugly heads in the lobby of the former Adam's Mark Hotel for years were hauled out of the building (and not easily -- they each weigh 2,500 pounds).

Now if the new owners of what's become the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel could just get rid of those anorexic ballerinas in front of the building...

That awful art piece was supposed to be our consolation prize for Kummer demolishing the I.M. Pei-designed hyperbolic paraboloid, the mid-century monument that graced Zeckendorf Plaza on16th Street long before the mall came along. But back in 1995, the city declined to recognize the building as a landmark, paving the way for Kummer to wipe it off the map. A more mobile piece of art, a paraboloid-inspired sculpture by Richard Vincent, also disappeared, as I reported in "The Art of the Deal." And Kummer didn't just get to erase a big piece of history; he also collected $25 million in public financing to do his deal here.

Last week, the Landmark Preservation Commission made some history when it showed a backbone and recommended that two Hornbein and White-designed buildings on the old campus of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center be recognized as historic -- and yesterday the Blueprint Denver committee voted to send the landmark application on to the full Denver City Council in early January.

Councilmembers should quit horsing around with history and recognize these buildings as the landmarks they are.

But I won't argue if they give the ballerinas the boot.-- Patricia Calhoun

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