Historic Structures

Hotel Metropole & Broadway Theater, Denver Colorado

Date added: January 17, 2010 Categories: Colorado Theater Hotel Richardsonian Romanesque

The Metropole was a significant 1890's luxury hotel, designed by an unrenowned architect from Chicago, Colonel J.W, Wood. It is distinguished by its Richardsonian Romanesque revival west facade and grand and theatrical presence in the streetscape.

Built in 1891, it was boasted by the Colorado Graphic as one of the first "fireproof" hotels in the country, employing hollow clay fired tile units for all partitions, floors, ceilings, and walls. Part of the hotel was the Broadway Theatre (heralded by the Colorado Graphic as the first fireproof theatre in the West), an ornate vaudeville showhouse, whose interior was decorated in East Indian themes. The Metropole was recognized as one of the three grand hotels in Denver at the turn of the century, along with the Windsor Hotel and Brown Palace Hotel.

In numerous newspaper accounts of the times, it is apparent that building fires were a paranoia of the 1890's public, especially in hotels. It is for this reason, it seems, that much energy and promotional "hype" was expended by the hotel owners and management to assure the public of Metropole's absolute state of being fireproof. Technically it was not completely "fireproof", in that the all steel and ornamental iron structure was exposed. The innovative use of hollow clay fired tile units for all partitions, floors, ceilings and walls was, however, a major step in increasing public safety.