DENVER — The Rossonian Hotel and Lounge was one of the most famous jazz clubs in the West. The 21,000-square-foot building was built in 1912 and played a significant role in the historic Five Points neighborhood.
“I think the real significance is what happened here is the jazz, the music, the people that played,” said Haroun Cowens, managing director with Five Points Development Corporation. “They stayed here and what it brought to the community where people were able to just come here, experience it and to see the livelihood of what Five Points provided.”
Jazz artists like Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton were some of the names who played in the hotel’s lounge. The Rossonian was one of the only hotels in Denver blacks could stay in from the 1920s to the 1950s.
“Billie Holiday, Cab Callaway … some of those individuals being able to play here and stay here is just significant,” Cowens said.
The Five Points Development Corporation is in a partnership with Palisade Partners and Craine Architecture to restore the historic hotel to its original uses.
“It’s going to be Chauncey Billups’ restaurant, there’s going to be hotel rooms, there’s going to be a fourth-floor lounge and a large jazz venue in the lower level,” said Craine Architecture founder and owner Dan Craine. “This building is on the national register and from day one, the whole entire development team has said we have to do this project right.”
And to do the project right, the group needs the help of the community. They’re asking for people to send them old pictures of the Rossonian to make sure the renovation is historically correct.
“The period of significance is from the 30s and the 50s but we’ll take anything,” Craine said. “Interior shots, exterior shots, we’re just trying to do our best to bring this building back to where it was."
Craine Architecture Studio director Brad Gassman said, “The history of this building goes back well over 100 years so there’s a lot we’re trying to draw from and anything that we can gather from the community beyond what we’ve already been able to gather, we’ll take advantage of.”
The group hopes to get as many pictures as they can before the end of September so they can submit their drawings to the Landmark Preservation Commission for approval.
“To bring this back to what it was, a lot of it comes back to materiality … the colors, interior materials, exterior materials, the life and spirit of the building,” Craine said.
“This is for real and I’m excited,” Cowens said. “Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve never seen this place active and for us to see it active and to see it as it was ... a hotel, a music venue, that is very special so we are all excited to be part of that.”
Email or mail photos to:
Attn: Deron Granville
2490 Welton St.
Denver, CO 80205
- Your name
- Your return address (Please indicate if you would like the photo(s) back. Unclaimed photos will be archived at the Blair Caldwell Library)
- Date of photograph
- Any significant details about the photo
SUGGESTED VIDEOS | Next with Kyle Clark