Photos: Gates Rubber factory -- urban explorers' dream or urban nightmare?

gates factory thumbnail.jpg
Big photos below.
This week's feature, "Trouble in the Rubble," looks into the controversies triggered by student Eugene Elliott's effort to save what's left of the Gates Rubber Company complex on South Broadway from demolition by filing for landmark preservation status. Response to the story has been sharply divided, with some readers denouncing the site as an eyesore and toxic wasteland, while others contend that some way should be found to repurpose the remaining buildings, which have stood idle now for two decades.

There may be no consensus about what to do with the place, but one thing's clear. The plant evokes strong feelings -- and, in some cases, strong memories -- about Denver history and the company's place in it.

gates factory 1.jpg
Drew Winners
How you feel about tearing down what's left of the plant -- chiefly the warehouse, main factory, and a power plant -- probably has something to do with how you perceive the Gates legacy. And, as these photos suggest, that legacy is a messy one. It's about globalization and the long-term environmental consequences of heavy industry; about the little-told story of Denver's blue-collar workers and their contribution to the city's growth; about nostalgia for a time when America made something besides Big Macs; and also about urban blight, the financial meltdown that's kept the property in limbo for years, and the weird remnants left behind when a thriving manufacturing operation turns into a ghost town.

gates photo 2.png

gates factory 3.jpg

Page down to see more photos inside and outside the Gates Rubber factory.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

I wish they could have just made Gates into replica of the "city museum" in St. Louis instead of tearing it down, which is what is happening currently. The buildings themselves seem like the perfect mix of spooky and nostalgic to make people interested in it. If it became a "City museum" like in St. Louis I think it would be the hotspot in Denver for such a variety of ages! But I can see that the major problem is the contamination which is harmful to us, oh well I will miss its intriguing presence.


Thank you as well for covering this. Gates has a special place in my heart. My Grandfather, Father, Uncle and Aunt all worked for Gates. I grew up going to the Clinic and shopping at the grocery going to the gates picnic at Lakeside and the Gates Christmas party every year. My father died a few years after he was moved to the new location. Photographs did bring back good memories and always passing the plant brought tears to my eyes. Now being a historian of Colorado History and working on my masters in Historic Preservation, I agree that it is a very historic building and a big part of history to just tear it down. Thank you for following the events of this issue.



Veil of Darkness Paranormal Colorado

Jennifer Ann
Jennifer Ann

The neighborhoods and the people invested in that area have made their wishes known. Take a picture and tear it down.

Dan Justice
Dan Justice

not this explorer's dream, environmental nightmare

Dana Cain
Dana Cain

I always pick my seat at Breakfast King, so I can gaze out at Gates. I think of it as Denver's version of the Greek ruins. History, progress, decay. I



once again, thank you for the continued coverage of this story.

The photos really bring back some long forgotten memories.

Those buildings are as exclusive to Denver's architectural history

as the Purina plant on I-70.

I'm w/ those who would like to see it preserved.

Frank Tagader
Frank Tagader

architecturally insignificant, ugly, probably some toxic materials used in the manufacturing plant over the decades, serves no purpose, already partially demolished, not an easy transition to mixed use. Tear it down.

davebarnes topcommenter

Eugene Elliott is a scumball.

He is from Iowa.

He goes to school in <i>Boulder</i>.

He has no business telling Denver what to do.

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault