1810 California Street,
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The Shubert brothers, James, Sam and Lee, ran a huge theater empire from their offices in New York, and their Shubert Theater opened in Denver in 1913. The name was changed to the Denham Theater shortly after its opening.
Originally a stage theater, productions starred the likes of Alice Brady, Gladys George, Mary Boland, Otis Skinner, Marjorie Rambeau, and the famous comedy team of Olson and Johnson. The Wilkes Players, the theater’s own stock company, leased the theater for the first twenty years. The Denham Theater had its own orchestra and musicals, plays and vaudeville routines were a mainstay for many years.
The theater was entirely fireproof, built of steel, concrete and brick, and seated over 1,660 persons, 200 of those in boxes three tiers high. The interior was finished in shades of blue and gold, with row after row of plush seats. The theater replaced one of Denver’s Victorian mansions at the site. In 1930 The Denham was converted to a motion picture theater.
In its earliest days, the six-story building contained offices for mining, lumber, oil and railroad companies, along with the central offices for the Crown Hill Cemetery Association.
In 1951 the Denham Theater was given a major overhaul. The boxes were torn out, the blue and gold were replaced with red and chartreuse, and the lobby and facade were completely modernized. New seating was installed along with a new sound system. In the process, much of its former charm was lost forever. But it thrived for the next two decades with first-run features such as “Ben Hur” and “Cleopatra” with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. It closed its doors for good in 1974, and the building has been replaced with a parking garage.
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