Another piece of Colfax history demolished
BY BREE DAVIES | @CocoDavies
SAY GOODBYE TO THE RAMADA INN
At this point, I think my affection for Colfax and all its weirdness might border on unhealthy. I mean, I have a tattoo memorializing Smiley’s, the laundromat where I used to run a side hustle getting perm solution out of towels for a hair salon (called Flamingo Junction, of all things). And today I find myself writing yet another goodbye to a random commercial outpost on the strip. This time, the Ramada Inn.
If you wanna feel sad about it with me for a moment, past City Cast Denver guest and artist/documentarian of Denver, Karl Christian Krumpholz, posted this depressing video of the hotel being torn down over the weekend:
Did I ever stay at the Ramada Inn? No. But I sure did drink there. And I’m not talking about drinking there during arguably its most memorable hotel bar iteration, Tiki Boyd’s. Back then it was run by Boyd Rice, a fixture of the Denver modernism scene and noted racist (who is still up to his boring, old tricks, peddling Nazi merch on the internet somewhere I won’t link to).
No, no. I’m thinking of a few years before that time, in the early 2000s. In this particularly fond memory, a blizzard had hit Denver. Stuck in Cap Hill after a concert at the Bluebird, I was snowed in at my ex-boyfriend’s apartment for days, and a random, nameless restaurant in the Ramada was one of the only places in the neighborhood that was open and offering food (and booze, of course).
I don’t remember what the restaurant was called, or even what we ate – but I know we survived on whatever was left of their menu and got smashed in the process. It was one of those glorious Colorado moments where time stops because the weather forces it to. We were snowed in and the Ramada’s restaurant was there for us.
Years later, I ended up working in an office across the street from the Ramada (above the Irish Snug, RIP) and watched its comings and goings all day long. Between the hotel and Paul’s Liquors across the street, there was plenty of Colfax action to be seen. If I miss anything about working outside the home, it’s the people-watching. And Colfax people-watching is unparalleled: guys wearing bathrobes in public; couples fighting, then making up, then entering the hotel; adults buying booze for teens around the corner from the liquor store.
The thing about the Ramada Inn is, it wasn’t always a bland, tan box on Colfax. Back in the middle of the last century, it was known as the Heart O’ Denver Hotel, painted bright colors and sporting some actual architectural charm. It looked like a place I really wanted to stay, kind of like the Royal Palace Motel up the road at Colfax and Colorado Boulevard, which used to have an outdoor glass elevator that I found to be the epitome of “fancy” as a kid.
While I don’t think there will be much of a collective outcry over the loss of a pretty nondescript hotel on Colfax, there’s something sad about a place disappearing that holds memories. It will be replaced and forgotten, and rightfully so. Cities change. Buildings disappear. But my memory of a random man wearing multiple gold chains and sunglasses after dark filming himself walking out of the Ramada Inn on Colfax like it was the Four Seasons will last forever.
TODAY ON THE POD
Ski traffic sucks. But is widening I-70 really going to help?
You know that spot on I-70 on the way into the mountains? That spot where it goes from three lanes to two, and there’s always traffic? Well, it’s called Floyd Hill, and last week the Colorado Department of Transportation kicked off a new $700 million effort to fix it. But is their plan really going to address the root problem? Host Bree Davies talks to Colorado Sun environment reporter Michael Booth about why our elected leaders are so eager to cheer on the project and how CDOT is planning to mitigate the climate impact.
OTHER ODDS AND ENDS
🚦 What’s up with traffic? For I-25 commuters, maybe you noticed a change of pace on the highway this week from Ridgegate Parkway to University Boulevard. That’s because CDOT activated three new sets of metered traffic lights stationed at highway on-ramps on Monday as part of its Smart 25 Pilot Project to decongest I-25 rush hour traffic.
🚗 Denver considers “safe parking”: The city’s department of housing stability is looking for a service provider to manage a “safe parking program” that will allow unhoused individuals to shelter safely in their cars at a designated city-sanctioned site. An informational meeting about the program will be held virtually on Friday, March 4, at 10:30am.
⛺ Aurora makes a controversial move: It appears increasingly likely that Aurora will soon enact a ban on homeless encampments. In the final hours of Monday’s city council meeting, the ordinance passed 6-5 along party lines with Mayor Mike Coffman (who proposed the ban) breaking the tie as the 6th vote in favor. Opponents point to Denver, arguing that downtown’s camping ban, which has been in place for nearly 10 years, has caused more harm than good.
- 🔎 A closer look: Officials dispersing camps will be required to give occupants a 72-hour notice and direct them to a local shelter or safe space with room and facilities to accommodate them. Failure to comply means occupants could be arrested or receive a fine of up to $2,650.
🏛️ A gift for Denver’s first Black mayor: The city of Denver will honor former Mayor Wellington Webb with a bronze statue in his likeness to be unveiled next month in the atrium of the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building. Webb himself is commissioning a wall to be displayed with the statue that will list the name of every staff member who worked with him during his tenure from 1991 to 2003.
🗳️ Know what you’re voting for: This election season, the city is debuting SearchLight Denver, a custom software that will help voters more easily figure out where money for certain politicians or ballot measures is coming from.
🦅 Season 3 of “The Real Eagles of Standley Lake”: For the last two summers, a family of bald eagles living at Standley Lake has captivated quarantined Coloradans. Their saga, as captured on the city’s live eagle cam, included one eagle (officially known as F420, but whom some people have decided to call Jolene) stealing the mate (known as Dad) from another eagle (called Mom). With Mom out of the picture, Dad and Jolene had an eaglet together, which tragically died when their nest collapsed last summer. But apparently the couple is expecting again, with a due date sometime next month!