January 26, 2015

Grand Central Hotel, Denver, Colorado, 1879

Grand Central Hotel
circa 1880-82
courtesy of Denver Digital Collections

he OTHER Grand Central Hotel.

Back on December 18, 2014 I published a post on the Grand Central Hotel, which is where Soapy was first witnessed as being in Denver in 1879 as he once testified. It is also the first recorded instance in which Soapy performed the prize package soap sell racket. At the time I published the first article I did not realize that there were two locations showing the Grand Central Hotel. Because of a 1901 photograph, I originally, thought that the hotel associated with Soapy in 1879 was located on the north-east corner of Seventeenth and Blake Streets.

Close-up crop
showing the Rocky Mountain News
courtesy of Denver Digital Collections

On eBay I came across an early business card for the Grand Central Hotel, listing the address as "Lawrence and Seventeenth," three city streets south of Blake and Seventeenth. I do not believe they were operating at the same time, rather the original proprietor (Howard Chapin) closed the one at Lawrence and a new proprietor (M. D. Van Horn) opened on the s.w corner of Blake and Seventeenth. It is a matter of correcting my mistake so future researchers do not repeat the error.

Business card for the Grand Central Hotel

December 18, 2014

Grand Central Hotel: pages 34, 37, 88, 114.

A man's mistakes are his portals of discovery.
—James Joyce


1784: Founding father Benjamin Franklin expresses unhappiness in a letter to his daughter that the eagle was chosen as the symbol of America. He was in favor of using the turkey.
1802: Congress passes an act calling for a library to be established within the U.S. Capitol.
1837: Michigan became the 26th state to join the Union.
1861: Louisiana secedes from the Union prior to the Civil War.
1864: Outlaw “Whiskey” Bill Graves, a robber said to have been a member of the Henry Plummer gang, is hung by vigilantes in Fort Owen, Montana Territory.
1870: The state of Virginia is readmitted to the Union.
1875: Pinkerton operatives arrived at the Missouri farm of James-Samuel in the early hours of the morning. The west side of the family’s cabin was set on fire and a bomb was thrown into the north kitchen window. Although Dr. Samuel was able to extinguish the fire the iron orb exploded, killing his 8-year-old son, Archie, and severely mangling his wife, Zerelda’s right arm. It still is not clear if Frank and Jesse James were at the farm at the time.
1875: George F. Green patents the electric dental drill.
1876: Indian Chief Sitting Bull attacks the civilian post of Fort Pease, Montana Territory, located near the mouth of the Big Horn River.
1877: The Weatherford and Fort Worth stagecoach is robbed by the Sam Bass gang getting about $400-500 from the passengers. Soapy Smith would later witness the shooting death of Sam Bass in Round Rock, Texas.
1882: Charles Earl “Black Bart” Bowles, robs the Ukiah-Cloverdale stage six miles out of Cloverdale California. At the conclusion of the robbery he leaves behind an unusual calling card: a poem.
1883: “Big Ed” Burns, member of the Soap Gang, is arrested in Denver, Colorado.

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