February 27, 2012

Larimer Street, Denver, Colo., 1880s

Larimer at 16th Street
Denver, Colorado
circa early 1880s

(Click image to enlarge)

A fantastic view of Denver, the Queen City of the Plains when Soapy Smith arrived on the scene. A busy, bustling city ripe for his reign.

"In 1859 when Denver was established as a city, it was little more than a rough, frontier settlement at the westward edge of the Great Plains. Its mainstay was freighting to and from the growing number of mines in the Rocky Mountains, the north-south base of which lay 15 miles west. When Jeff arrived 20 years later, with a population of 35,000, Denver was the nation’s 26th largest city, and streetcars and utilities were being introduced. In 1877 Denver boasted 3 train lines while most Western cities had but one. Between 1882 and 1884, the city hosted 3 Expositions of National Mining and Industry and had become known as The Metropolis of the Territories and The Queen City of the Plains. By the mid 1880s, 6 railroad lines conveyed a steady flow of passengers to and from the depot at the northwest end of Seventeenth Street, making the mile-high city the booming business center of Colorado. Yet growth was so rapid and the pace of development so burdened that the city’s infrastructure lagged far behind. For example, main streets to and from Denver’s Union Station remained unpaved until 1891, and civil services were seriously lacking, such as an adequate police force."
Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel. pp. 58-59

Denver: (first half of the book).

Jeff Smith



  1. The image was from a stereoptican slide. Where did you find it? I have a similar shot of Larimer St. that may have been taken around the same time.

    1. It's a stereoview card in my personal collection. I forget where I found it. I've been collecting since the 1970s. There are some great shots of Larimer Street, between 14th and 18th streets. Thanks for responding!


Thank you for leaving your comment and/or question on my blog. I always read, and will answer all questions asap. Please know that they are greatly appreciated. -Jeff Smith