Back in time: Modern in Denver recalls the last days of Cinderella City

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All images by Ron Pollard, courtesy of Modern in Denver and the artist.
When the Cinderella City mall opened its doors in Englewood in the '60s, it was state of the art in an almost Disney-esque fashion, all light and fountains and lofty arches, with a movie theater and the quaint Cinder Alley, a tchotchke lane where the hippie kids shopped. But, like many pop-culturey things, Cin City wasn't built to last. By the '90s, not only had the poorly built structure begun to crumble away, but the mall had lost business to more up-to-date shopping centers. It's gone now, replaced by the bustling Englewood City Center and light rail stop, but during the months before it was demolished, photographer Ron Pollard (who's made more recent news for his collection of what appears to be Russian avant-garde paintings) went in and shot images of the dilapidated palace of commerce.

Modern in Denver magazine printed a spread of the photos in its Summer 2014 issue and online; here's a sample that might jog a few memories of past suburban glory, along with Amy Phare's text from the article.

See also: Ruin porn: Inside the Gates Rubber Factory


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Ken Schroeppel's DenverInfill blog keeps a close eye on the city's growth and development

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Ryan Dravitz for DenverInFill.
A city in transition: Ryan Dravitz of the DenverInfill team takes many of the site's recent shots.
Ever wonder what the plans are for a construction site that has popped up at the end of your block? Have you been curious about a new face being put on an old building downtown? For close to a decade, Ken Schroeppel has been answering these questions, documenting Denver's development progress through his blog DenverInfill and its companion, DenverUrbanism.

By day, he's an urban planner and professor of architecture and planning at the University of Colorado Denver -- but in his free time, Schroeppel and his team of contributors connect with developers, architects and an array of folks in the construction field to create a detailed database of the city's current and upcoming construction projects.

Westword spoke with Schroeppel about his long-running DenverInfill blog, how he collects his information on new buildings and the role of preservation within the development of Denver.

See also: The Denver Eye's Tom Lundin talks mid-century modern and Lakeside's Masonic roots

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The Denver Eye's Tom Lundin talks mid-century modern and Lakeside's Masonic roots

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One of architect Richard Crowther's many designs.
Tom Lundin is an accidental historian: Through blog and The Denver Eye, his Facebook page, he shares images of the Mile High City's fascinating past. Lundin's collection is a curated mix of images that tell the story of a great city, with everything from hundred-year old photos of Lakeside Amusement Park to snapshots of Colfax legend Sid King flanked by beautiful women to newspaper ads for the first King Soopers, which opened in the '40s.

Many of the photos, magazine clippings and postcards he shares are from his own collection; some are from his journeys through the archives at the Denver Public Library (which he is meticulous about crediting). Westword recently spoke with Lundin about his keen eye for Colorado-centric imagery, how he goes about sourcing the photographs and paper artifacts he displays, and what he's learned about Lakeside Amusement Park's not-so secret historical link to Freemasonry.

See also: Mary Voelz Chandler on Denver's demolition history and her updated architectural guide

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Ten huge resources for anyone who wants to build a tiny house

Categories: Architecture

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By Tammy Strobel, Creative Commons
While tiny-house enthusiasts may live small, they publish huge quantities of books and websites each year.
Paying rent in a bloated market isn't working for you? Have the piles of stuff you've hoarded in your closets finally forced you to scream: "I'm ready for a purge"? Maybe you just want to live a simple, green life? If you are ready to start thinking about building a tiny house of your own (see this week's cover story, Could Tiny Houses Solve a Big Problem in Denver?), here are some of our favorite books and websites to get you going.

See also:
This tiny house caused a big stink

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40 West Arts is capturing West Colfax's history through commercial architecture

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Courtesy of 40 West Arts.
8000 West Colfax, formerly the home of the Lakewood Theater, was built in 1950.
If you take a closer look, underneath layers of paint and decades of additions, there are gorgeous mid-century modern commercial structures along Colfax Avenue that have a story to tell. A sordid past is part of what makes the country's longest main street fascinating to some, but for Bill Marino and the non-profit 40 West Arts whose board he chairs, there's a desire to let onlookers know there is more to the avenue's colorful life than seediness.

Through a $50,000 state historical grant secured by 40 West Arts and the Lakewood-West Colfax Business Improvement District, Marino and his crew of volunteers are hard at work on a historic resources survey. Cataloging more than 500 structures along West Colfax from Sheridan Boulevard to Simms Street, the organization's building a complete picture by taking a photographic inventory as well as speaking with people who live and work in the Lakewood corridor. Marino talked with Westword about what information is being collected with the grant and how he hopes the public will soon be able to enjoy the once-buried history of this section of the fabled Colfax Avenue.

See also: Will Sid King's Crazy Horse Bar light up Denver again?

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The Metlo proves development in Denver doesn't have to be ugly and destructive

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The Broadway Plaza Motel back in the day.
I complain about the bulldozing of Denver's sometimes tacky but often unique cowtown-ish architectural history a lot. It wasn't that long ago that we weren't very cool; in my salad days of the early 2000s, I rented a sprawling two-bedroom apartment in a beautiful '40s-era building on Cheesman Park for $795. That time is gone -- which is why I am writing this from my six-foot-by-six foot room in a commune I share with five other people in a quaint joint on the west side.

I feel like I am constantly at odds with what developers seem to think will look cool in my sweet little city, but as Denver continues to grow, I understand that I cannot stand in the way of progress. Which is why I was surprised and, frankly, overjoyed to see what has been done with the old Broadway Plaza Motel at 11th and Broadway.

See also: New owner of Mayfair Center to renovate the mid-century modern shopping area


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University Park Home Tour is an open house for a good cause

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As a Denver neighborhood with a rich architectural history, University Park is home to houses of all shapes, sizes and legacies. This Sunday, May 4, five homes in the historic area will open their doors to the public for the University Park Home Tour, an afternoon event that benefits University Park Elementary. Though the neighborhood-organized tour began back in the '70s, 2014 will be the tenth year that parents from the elementary school have taken on the community-championing project.

See also: Mid-Century and Modern in Wheat Ridge Home Tour celebrates unique architecture

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Dee Williams on living small -- really small

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After being diagnosed with congestive heart failure, Dee Williams decided she needed a big change. And she accomplished it by going small. Williams built her own 84-square-foot house, where she resides in Olympia, Washington. She'll be at the Tattered Cover LoDo tonight to read from and discuss her new book about the experience, The Big Tiny: A Built-it-Myself Memoir. In advance of Williams's appearance, we spoke with the writer and activist about how living small connected her to nature and her community in new ways.

See also: Video: Tiny documents big dreams in mini-house movement

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Doors Open Denver returns -- with the Denver Architectural Foundation holding the door open

Categories: Architecture

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Zang Mansion, #61 on Doors Open Denver list.
Doors Open Denver will be back for its tenth-anniversary edition this weekend. "We've got everything the same and more of it," says event organizer Jane Potts. But one thing is different: Denver Arts & Venues has cut way back on its involvement. "The City is a sponsor again this year, but we're working to transition DOD to the Denver Architectural Foundation and its partners," explains Arts & Venues's Brian Kitts.

See also:
City closes the book on One Book, One Denver

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Cherry Creek Shopping Center welcomes a new four-story Restoration Hardware gallery store

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shopcherrycreek.com
Aerial rendering of the new four-story Restoration Hardware, which will be called RH.
The empty space at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center once occupied by Saks Fifth Avenue is slated to become a four-story Restoration Hardware gallery store, officially rebranding as "RH." The 53,000 square- foot showroom will be four times the size of the current Restoration Hardware store and feature an atrium, outdoor garden and rooftop park, as well as the brand's product lines for living, dining, bed, bath, lighting, tableware and more. The original Saks will be demolished to make way for RH, along with 38,000 square feet of additional speciality merchants.

See also: Best of Denver 2013 - Best Indoor Mall: Cherry Creek Shopping Center

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