Nestled in downtown Denver’s heart, Larimer Square is a testament to the city’s rich history and enduring charm. With its cobblestone streets, Victorian architecture, and vibrant atmosphere, this historic district has evolved from its humble beginnings to become a thriving hub of culture, commerce, and community.
The story of Larimer Square dates back to the mid-19th century when William Larimer, Jr. founded Denver City in 1858. Larimer envisioned the square as a commercial center, and it quickly became a bustling area with shops, saloons, and hotels. The square’s early years were marked by rapid growth, driven by the Colorado Gold Rush and the expanding railroad network—however, economic fluctuations and urban development challenges followed in the subsequent decades.
In the 1960s, Larimer Square faced potential demolition as the city considered modernizing the area. Fortunately, visionary preservationists like Dana Crawford recognized the value of the historic architecture and spearheaded a movement to save the square. Their efforts led to Larimer Square’s designation as Denver’s first historic district, ensuring its protection and revitalization.
Today, Larimer Square stands as a harmonious blend of past and present. The meticulously preserved buildings house an array of boutiques, restaurants, galleries, and entertainment venues, offering visitors a unique experience. The square’s historic charm is enhanced by the presence of gas lamps, vintage signage, and charming courtyards, creating an ambiance that transports visitors to a bygone era.
Larimer Square’s journey from a dusty frontier outpost to a cultural hotspot is a testament to the enduring spirit of preservation and community. As Denver grows and changes, Larimer Square remains an anchor, reminding residents and visitors of the city’s storied past.
Throughout the year, Larimer Square hosts various events celebrating its heritage, from summer concerts to holiday festivals. The annual “Denver Chalk Art Festival” attracts artists and spectators alike, adorning the streets with vibrant chalk masterpieces.