DENVER — Back in 1995, people were acutely aware of both life before Denver International Airport and the “Macarena” (which came out that year).
While DIA is now just a part of life in the Mile High City, back then, the new airport was a huge deal. It replaced Stapleton International Airport, which was only 15 minutes from downtown, and introduced people to a new area 25 miles away on the boundary of the Eastern Plains.
There was the new facility, and there was also the ensuing controversy. DIA was way over budget … in part because of a baggage system that was caught on camera spitting out luggage during a media preview day.
In honor of our coverage of DIA’s 25th anniversary (check out stories on 9NEWS at 9 and 10 p.m. all this week), here’s a trip down memory lane to how our station covered DIA 25 years ago.
RELATED: Outdoor patio areas coming to DIA
A traveler’s guide by Adele Arakawa
The amazing thing about former 9NEWS Anchor (and forever legend) Adele Arakawa is how she never really ages.
She was tasked with helping people get to and from DIA and produced some pretty great videos back before parking was $20 a day.
She also was kind enough to teach people how to navigate the concourses.
And help people get to the new airport.
She also had the most genuine opinions about DIA’s art, which has since sparked numerous conspiracy theories.
Unrelated, but related: It might feel like second nature to get to DIA now, but back in the day, 9NEWS actually used a huge model of Pena Boulevard to explain how, exactly, folks can get to and from the airport.
Stapleton International Airport used to be a thing
Before its air traffic control tower became a Punch Bowl Social, Stapleton International Airport was the main way to get to and from Denver.
After all, with a convenient location near Quebec Street and Interstate 70, it was actually close to the city.
Its facilities might have been a big outdated, but if this video's any proof, people loved it all the same.
And, since it was close to an urban area, people could actually make a day out of watching planes take off and land.
Of course, that came with problems. Folks in the Park Hill neighborhood were pretty excited when they no longer had jets flying over their houses.
The final flyover at Stapleton was the end of an era for many.
Except for one dude from Brazil, who did not get the memo that Stapleton was closing and found himself sleeping on an empty concourse.
A huge lead-up to the big day
Like we said: DIA was overbudget and behind schedule. So, when the state-of-the-art facility opened, people were pretty excited to see it.
Travelers especially loved the brand spanking new trains.
Like we said though: there were problems with that luggage system (it's still not in use). Case in point?
RELATED: Next Question: Has there been any effort to resurrect DIA’s failed ‘baggage system from hell?’
Besides this, opening up a brand new airport took a lot of work from a lot of people.
But when it finally happened, it was pretty cool.
Finally: Since this story is about 1995, here's a lady rollerblading at the airport. We don't know why or what's really been going on (that's been lost to time), but we can say it's pretty cool.