Savoy at Curtis Park
SAVOY AT CURTIS PARK: VICTORIAN BUILDING WITH MANY IDENTITIES, NOW HOME TO THEATRE ARTIBUS
Which building in Curtis Park once produced potato chips?
The Savoy at Curtis Park occupies the second floor of a Victorian building. Built in the 1880s and residing in the historic Curtis Park Neighborhood, the second floor was used historically as a private social club with a dance floor/social space, lobby and lounge.
A short walk from Coors Field, adjacent to the RiNo Arts and Entertainment District, the building was renovated in 2001. In 2012, the second floor was restored to its original configuration and the maple and cherry wood floors were returned to their original luster. The room and the lounge retain their original pressed tin ceilings and both spaces are illuminated by the original nine foot windows that offer city and mountain views.
The actual building permit dates the building as having been constructed in 1889. The original owner was John Bounce and the building was part of the Story and Appleton Addition to the City of Denver. The permit states that it was a two story structure, “brick business block”, and cost $9,000 to build. A single name, “Scholtz”, is listed as the architect. The legal designation is L15 and 16, Block 48.
Sanborn Fire Insurance maps from 1890 show the 3 lower units labeled “Stores”, one of which is labeled “Drugs” and a drugstore is thought to have been in the 2700 unit.
Note: City of Denver Directories and Sanborn Fire Insurance maps indicate the property historically included the even numbered addresses between 2700 and 2708 Arapahoe St.
City Directories list Mrs. AC Terry as the occupant in 1892, but no business is identified.
Sanborn maps in 1904 show “Stores” on the 1st floor, one of which is a “Bakery” and a brick oven is identified as an outbuilding in the back. A drugstore is located in one of the lower units. The 2nd floor is listed as “Hall”, and there is evidence that the entire third floor was an open space, while the bottom levels where divided into three blocks, similar to the configuration of 2700 currently.
Note: The second floor is consistently labeled “Hall” on these maps until 1936.
From around 1900-1904, the hall was a weekly meeting place for two chapters of the Foresters of America. The Court Pride of Denver No. 4 held weekly meetings on Thursday evenings and the Court Alemannia No. 13 on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month at “27th and Arapahoe”.
The Foresters of America were fraternal and charitable organization connected to the Ancient Order of Foresters, founded in England in 1745, and introduced in the United States in 1832.
In 1904, the hall is listed for the first time by a name: Bourne Hall. We do not know the origin of the name.
The building (or probably the 2nd floor) was transferred to “The Danish Hall Association” in 1907. There is a delightful article that appeared in the Svensk-Amerikanska Western Newspaper on April 2, 1908, announcing that the Choral Society Orpheus had moved its headquarters to “The Danish Hall” where they would have an improved “exercise room” (better in “space and convenience” than the old one) for rehearsing, which would bode well for their upcoming concert. Everyone was “eager” to hear the Choral Society’s rehearsals.
From 1899-1904, Mrs. Anne Garch is listed as the proprietor of a grocery store at 2700, and Joe Minger in 1895 and Wade Noble in 1899 are listed as the owners of bakeries at 2706 Arapahoe. The next mention of an occupant is Mrs. Celia Lub, a grocer whose name consistently appears in the City Directory from 1910 until 1934 in unit 2700 Arapahoe. Several other grocers are listed in this unit: John Burdette Bush, 1935-1938; Raymond Vigar, 1939; Anthony Bongiorno, 1940-1945; and The 27th Street Grocery 1945.
Of interest, the building across from the Property is listed as a “Potato Chip Factory” during the late 1930s.
In 1930, an Auto Garage is operating to the rear of the building.
The 2706 unit is occupied by Herian Moving and Storage from 1927 until 1931.
The 2704 unit is listed as “Residential” until 1936 when it becomes occupied by the Thomas Drohan (offices). The specific type of business is not identified.
In 1941, the 2702 unit becomes a wreath factory called Evergreen Specialty and this company expands, occupying both 2700 and 2702 in 1945.
From 1948 until 1975, the 2700 unit becomes a home for Rodelle Inc, a family-owned vanilla extract company, now operated out of Fort Collins. The Rodelle family moved from Southern France to Denver in 1936. As bakers, they could not find high-quality vanilla extract for their recipes and so founded Rodelle Laboratories in 1936, moving to 2700 Arapahoe in 1948.
Illini Industries (extract-candy manufacturers) begins to occupy the 2702 unit in 1948 and is listed there until 1966.
Fire Insurance maps specify “Flavoring Extract Factory, all units” in 1974.
Note: The building addresses (2700-2008) are combined in records after 1970 and are referred to as 2700 Arapahoe St.
The property is referred to as “Residential” and a Photography studio in 1980.
It is converted into “Apartments” in 1985-1995.
In 1999, a coffee house called “The Vanilla Factory Coffee Co” is located in the building.
In 2004, several businesses are listed: Dance for Today; Grass Roots Neighborhood Development; Laura Manthey Design; Seasons Mind and Fitness; Sid LLC; Urban Roadhouse; and Vanilla Coffee Co.
In 2008, 5 Stone Advertising is listed.
In 2013, Mark Regan Salsa is listed as occupant until 2017.
The building was bought by Toe Tapping Shiva, LLC, in 2009, and the 2nd floor ballroom was re-instated.
The lower 3 units were used as a catering business (Blue Note Catering), a dance studio and an apartment.
Description courtesy of The Savoy.