Historic Denver Magnets

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We collaborated with the Denver Public Libraries to print these exclusive, limited edition, and one-of-a-kind magnets of the jazz scene in Historic Denver! 

  • The Rossonian: From the late 1920s through the 1950s the Rossonian Hotel was a focal point in the Five Points community and its lounge was the most esteemed jazz club between Kansas City and Los Angeles. This Beaux-Arts style flatiron building opened on Welton Street in 1912 as the Baxter Hotel and was renamed the Rossonian after its manager A.W.L. Ross in 1929. The club hosted jazz luminaries such as Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington (who spent an entire summer there), Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday, and launched the career of important Denver-based musicians including bassist Charles Burrell and pianist Charlotte Cowens. The Rossonian Hotel offered accommodations for Black performers at a time when they were prevented from staying in hotels downtown. Following the lifting of segregationist housing covenants in the 1960s, residents began to move away from Five Points, which led to the hotel’s decline and multiple changes in its ownership. The building has been largely inactive since the late 1980s, though it has functioned intermittently as a studio space for artists and is currently scheduled for redevelopment.

Photograph by Tom Noel, 1999

Courtesy the The Denver Public Library, Special Collections.

  • El Chapultepec: The history of El Chapultepec began after the ratification of the 21st amendment, officially repealing prohibition in the United States. Sitting on the corner of 20th & Market since 1933, El Chapultepec played a massive part in creating the thriving Denver jazz scene. This venue's history with jazz began when Jerry Krantz, the original owner's son-in-law, took over and transitioned the establishment from a Mexican Restaurant and Bar into the well-known live jazz venue it became. Krantz created the alluring atmosphere because he did not charge a cover fee, allowing jazz lovers to come in and enjoy the music for free. El Chapultepec thrived because it understood the importance of putting music, the most important factor of a venue, above all else. El Chapultepec is one of the most, if not the most, well-respected and loved jazz venues in Colorado.

Photograph by Tom Noel, 1994

Courtesy the The Denver Public Library, Special Collections.

  • Escoolites ClubThis photograph of teenage jazz bandstand players was taken in the late 1960s during activities associated with Denver’s Escoolites Drill Team. Organized in 1954 by Beulah and Theodore Adams, the Escoolites was an all-girls exhibition drill team that operated until the late 1990s. The Escoolites’ mission was to teach young Black women, ages seven to seventeen, spiritual and ethical principles as well as precision drilling.
Photograph by Burnis McCloud, circa 1965–1970.
Image courtesy of the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, a branch of the Denver Public Library