December 26, 2014

Inside Soapy Smith's Tivoli Club.

November 20, 1966
courtesy of Getty Images


This is a biggie for me. The Tivoli Club has always been somewhat of a mystery for my family. As the most popular and longest lasting of Soapy's saloons (1887-1895), there is little actually known about it, other than what we have in family letters and documents, and what the Denver newspapers reported.

The photograph comes from the Getty Museum and is dated NOV 20 1966. The caption for it reads "Police swarm over inside of Denver's Oldest Bar, 17th And Market Streets, after reports of burglary; Patrolman reported he found lock broken on bar's front door and saw suspect standing inside with money in pockets." (Photo By Duane Howell/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

A few years ago I came across a photo of the Tivoli Club from the outside, and looking closely, you can see the letters "ivol" of "Tivoli," the rest being blocked by patriotic banners. Next was a modern (1960s) closeup photograph of the front of the saloon, and now this inside view. Now I need to see a photo of the inside, upstairs (gaming room) and downstairs (saloon ) from the 1890s. The name of the bar was Denver's Oldest Bar, which a number of bars in Denver lay claim to, but considering the Tivoli opened in 1887, it is probable that if standing and still operating, it would have truly held the honor as all the others date after 1892.

The Tivoli Club
(there are numerous posts and they are not in order of importance)

The Tivoli Club: page 79-81, 89, 120, 124-29, 131-32, 138-39, 171-72, 176, 182-83, 185, 188, 190, 197, 247-48, 256-57, 260-64, 272-78, 283-84, 286-87, 324, 336, 338, 352, 358, 389, 420.

He was one of the most kind-hearted men that ever lived. I will venture that there is scarcely a big city in the country where you couldn’t find some man that could tell you of a good act that Jeff Smith had done him.
— R. M. Eddy
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 590.


1620: The Mayflower, with 102 passengers, arrives at New Plymouth, Massachusetts to create the Plymouth Colony, with John Carver as Governor.
1776: The British suffer a major defeat against the Colonial Army in the Battle of Trenton during the American Revolution.
1859: 173 Texas Rangers and 165 U.S. regulars attack the outlaw position held by Juan Cortina in Rio Grande City. Hand-to-hand combat forces Cortina's retreat.
1861: Confederate irregulars defeat pro-Union Indians at Chustenahlah, Indian Territory.
1862: 38 Dakota Indians are hung in Mankato, Minnesota for their part in an uprising. The mass execution is the largest in U.S. history.
1865: The coffee percolator is patented by James H. Mason.
1866: Lieutenant Colonel George Crook leads a company of the 1st Cavalry against Indians at Owyhee Creek, Idaho Territory, killing 30 and taking 7 prisoners while losing only one soldier.
1867: A detachment of Company K, 9th Cavalry, near Ft Lancaster, Texas, is attacked by Indians. Three soldiers are killed during the two days of fighting.
1869: Lieutenant Howard B. Cushing with Company F, 3rd Cavalry, from Ft Stanton, New Mexico, along with 28 citizen volunteers, attack a Mescalero Apache Indian village at the old stage stop of Pine Spring in the Guadalupe Mountains of Texas. One officer is severely wounded.
1874: The first commercial buffalo hunt is conducted in Texas by Joe McComb.
1880: Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garret deposits his prisoners, including Billy the Kid, in the Las Vegas, New Mexico, Territory jail.
1883: Soapy Smith purchases a street vendors license in Phoenix, Arizona for selling his prize package soap.
1909: Western artist Frederic Remington dies at age 48 in Connecticut.

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