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Here's what Red Rocks used to look like before it was the world's best concert venue

Historical photos from the Denver Public Library show what Red Rocks looked like before it became Colorado's favorite place to see a show.

DENVER — Full disclosure: This post was inspired by the Denver subreddit, where folks were pumped about a photo of what Red Rocks looked like before it became ... well, Red Rocks.

This led to a search of the Denver Public Library Digital Archives, which didn't disappoint. 

For context, here's a look at what the venue looks like now (in case you haven't been ... but photos don't do it justice). 

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

And here it was back then. 

Credit: Courtesy Denver Public Library Digital Archives
Four musicians (two women and two men) pose for a photo at Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison, Colorado, near a sounding board. One man holds a cello, a woman sits at a portable piano, and two singers stand Wooden planks are on the ground in the foreground.

A little different from the EDM shows that are common now, huh? 

Some history: it all started with a guy named John Brisben Walker, who in the early 1900s started inviting musicians to perform on a temporary platform nestled between the park's two famous monoliths: Ship Rock and Creation Rock. 

Later, the manager of Denver Parks persuaded the city to buy Red Rocks and the land surrounding it for $54,133 (the deal of the century). He and the mayor got help from the federally-funded Civilian Conservation Corps and Work Projects Administration to make it happen. 

Denver architect Burnham Hoyt finished the design of the amphitheatre in 1936. 

Credit: Courtesy Denver Public Library Digital Archives
The original plans for Red Rocks.

The venue was first dedicated in 1941, and it took 12 years to ultimately finish building Red Rocks. The first Easter Sunrise service (a yearly tradition) was in 1947. 

Here's what the construction process looked like: 

Credit: Denver Public Library Digital Archives
Credit: Denver Public Library Digital Archives
Credit: Denver Public Library Digital Archives
Credit: Denver Public Library Digital Archives
Credit: Denver Public Library Digital Archives
Credit: Denver Public Library Digital Archives

Honestly, it doesn't look too much different than it does now. 

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater in Denver, Coloradon in winter

Even though the crowds were a little different, back in the day. 

Credit: Denver Public Library Digital Archives

And horses are no longer a part of Red Rocks performances. 

Credit: Denver Public Library Digital Archives

One thing that has stayed the same? Red Rocks is still one of the most beautiful places in the world. 

Credit: Denver Public Library Digital Archives
Aerial view of Red Rocks Park in Morrison (Jefferson County), Colorado. Rock formations and Mount Vernon Creek are in the valley.

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