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The 90-year-old Govnr's Park palm tree has a new home thanks to Craigslist and a ‘plant facilitator’

If you've been to Govnr's Park, you've seen that random palm tree in the middle of the bar. Now that it's closed, that plant needs a new home -- and as usual, the people of Denver came through.

A 90-year-old palm tree will find a new home under a golden disco ball – not to mention a multitude of new plant friends -- thanks to a saga that involved the closing remnants of a fern bar, a desperate bar owner who believed Craigslist was possibly his only hope, and a plant facilitator sitting in bed scrolling through Facebook.  

The 25-foot palm tree was first gifted to Govnr’s Park off 7th Ave. and Logan St. when it opened in 1976. It was a gift from Pete Coors himself, and even after Gov’s transitioned from a “fern bar” to one with more of a sports focus, that towering palm tree remained … that is, until November, when it closed after 42 years.

But, luckily for that decades-old vestige of the tropics inside a Denver sports bar, Eric Hyatt – who took over the space – wasn’t about to let that palm tree simply die.

“We’re looking to find it a new home, and a new home in Denver,” Hyatt said.

He co-owns nearby Angelo’s Taverna, and is working to renovate the space where Gov’s once resided. Since it’s winter – and Colorado’s climate isn’t conducive to palm trees anyway – he needed to find a new home for the tropical plant he inherited.

Hyatt said he called the Denver Botanic Gardens, but they already had their own similar palm tree. The zoo didn’t return his call and so, he did what many have done in equally-desperate situations: offer it up for free on Craigslist.

Free 25' indoor palm!
The kobelini palm has lived in Governors Park Tavern for 30 years. It needs a new home! Botanic Gardens already has one.
In AMAZING health.
Cared for professionally.
Whomever wants it is responsible for removing the palm.
A piece of Denver History.

“I got 20 calls and emails the first day,” Hyatt said. “I had some people coming out to look for it, but they wouldn’t show up. I was a little disheartened.”

Luckily though, the plant-loving community of Denver wasn’t going to give up. And that’s how a man named Rooney learned about a geriatric tree in need.  

Rooney, a plant enthusiast and “facilitator,” was lying in bed one morning when he found himself tagged on Facebook about the effort to rescue the tree.

“I was laying in bed,” he said. “It was about 5:45 a.m. I was curled up with my dog. My partner had gone to bed.”

Rooney said he had an epiphany. He had recently gone to Bang Up to the Elephant – Denver’s equivalent of a Florida beach bar – and knew it might be a fit.

Enter Kevin Delk. He owns Bang Up to the Elephant off 13th Avenue and Pearl Street, and had actually been dreaming of a tree to go under the restaurant’s golden disco ball.

One day, he got a call from Rooney.

“It was lunchtime. He calls and says, ‘I have this tree. I thought of you guys,’” Delk said. “I think he really understood the vibe of this place.”

And this happy ending will be a little happier, thanks to the power of companionship. The Gov’s Park tree had been all alone inside the Denver sports bar during its final years, but now, it will be accompanied by the other plants of Bang Up to the Elephant.

“I think this tree’s gonna be right at home, making friends with all these other creatures that are kinda needing company,” Delk said.