From Trolleys to Theatre…

Hotel Teatro occupies a downtown building originally built in 1911 as the Denver Tramway Building. This site was the first location of the Evans Mansion, home of John Evans, Colorado’s second territorial governor. John Evans’ oldest son, W. G. Evans, became president of the Denver Tramway Company and retained 2 of Denver’s up-and-coming architects, William E. and Arthur A. Fisher, to design an 8-story office tower and adjacent 3-story car barn.

The building’s design incorporated a modern steel skeleton, Chicago-style office space, and a traditional Renaissance Revival-style edifice of glazed red brick and glazed white terra cotta. The style carried into the lobby, where the use of Tennessee light pink marble flooring and Vermont green marble base combined beautifully with white Arizona marble wainscoting. The elegance of the original décor is seen today in the entrance to our boutique hotel in downtown Denver, as careful attention was paid to preserve this exquisite, historic detail.

After World War II, transportation by streetcar became obsolete in downtown Denver. As a result, The University of Colorado at Denver (CU Denver) purchased the Tramway Building to serve as the nucleus of its downtown campus. The school faculty moved into the Tramway offices, and the area where trolleys once parked was converted into classrooms.

By the late 80’s, CU Denver moved all of its facilities across Cherry Creek to the Auraria Campus. In 1991, Denver Center for the Performing Arts purchased the car barn portion of the Tramway Building for its offices, a workshop, and a storage area. The tower portion of the Tramway Building stood vacant for several years.

In 1997, Astonbridge Partners and David Owen Tyrba Architects began the process of restoring the Tramway Building into the exquisite Hotel Teatro. The proximity of our Denver Hotel to the Denver Performing Arts Complex inspired our name “Teatro,” which means “theatre” in Italian.