Historic Structures

Plymouth Place (Cory Hotel), Denver Colorado

Date added: January 11, 2010 Categories: Colorado Hotel

This is a large three story corner commercial building, designed with Colonial Revival Style details in I898 by prominent Denver architects Marean and Norton. The construction of the building at the three way intersection of Broadway, Sixteenth Street and Sixteenth Avenue caused considerable controversy as it blocked the vista up Sixteenth Street, the major business street, to the State Capitol Building. An early city plan had proposed cutting Sixteenth Street through this site to the Capitol.

Plymouth Place (later renamed the Plymouth Hotel, and still later, the Cory Hotel), extended 125* along Broadway and 125' along Sixteenth Avenue and was three stories. It was built to accomodate stores, office or dwelling rooms, and a ballroom. The first floor contained nine shops; three along 16th Avenue and six along Broadway. A photo taken sometime shortly after 1906 shows a drug store at the corner and along Broadway a sight-seeing agency, the hotel entry and a western auto supply store. The second floor was designed "to be divided up into rooms arranged so they can be occupied either as offices or dwelling rooms, except the ballroom, 53' x 66' in size, running through two stories, the second and third."

The third floor had rooms for offices or living rooms. Entrance to the building proper was on Sixteenth Avenue with an entrance on Broadway leading to the ballroom.

The most significant feature of the building was the ballroom. Plans called for the ballroom to be "the most complete and perfectly appointed ballroom in the city, fitted up with parlors and dressing rooms, and in connection...a banquet room and a kitchen on the first floor...This ballroom was to be decorated in Moorish style, the electric lights being placed in the ceiling along the decorations. It was to have a gallery extending all around the room with Moorish arches extending towards the ball room. The wood work was to be finished in white enamel and special attention...given to the floor.

It is not clear if the room was decorated precisely as intended, but the ballroom was put to use almost immediately for society affairs. The ballroom was intended for the exclusive use of the Capitol Hill 400, the most prestigious social group in Denver. Society columns were filled with the activities of Kassler Hall, the Plymouth Place ballroom. The Times, December 15, 1898, reported: "The Whitehead Fete poudre of last evening was the quaintest, prettiest and most artistic private ball ever given in the city...The interior of Kassler Hall was admirably suited to the affair, with its delicate coloring and renaissance ornamentation shown effectively under myriads of lights...Dancing...continued till 11:30, when a supper was served on the balcony."

The building was clearly a speculative venture with its shops and rental rooms. This must not have been a successful development because by 1906 the building was advertised as a hotel catering to "the best class of patronage (Illustrated Industrial Souvenir, 1905)." The ballroom either did not receive enough bookings or the income from a hotel deemed more important because the ballroom was removed at this time. In the 1906 remodeling, the hotel lobby was put in near the center of the Broadway facade where shops had originally been located. Access to the second and third floors was through this lobby. Originally there were two street-facing entrances to the second and thid floors. One, located on Sixteenth Avenue gave entry to the rental rooms. The location of this former entry is defined by the decorative lintels of the windows directly above which are similar to those of the corner windows. The other entry faced Broadway and led to the ballroom.

In 1935, $3500.00 was spent remodeling and installing bathrooms. The original hotel plan had short hallways, opening off the main corridor, which served each two rooms. These hallways were filled in with bathrooms, and entrances were installed along the main corridor. The stores and hotel lobby fronts were faced in this remodeling with imitation black marble and white imitation marble accent.

Two other remodelings are of interest. In 1959, the lobby of the hotel was extensively remodeled. In 1970, The Realty Rascals Inc. leased the corner space and spent $600,000.00 installling Leo's Place restaurant and elaborately decorating it with architectural antiques. This was one of the most popular restaurants amongst the Denver business community.

Sometime after 1979 the building was demolished along with others on the block and replaced with a new "transit development".