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Daniels & Fisher: 1910

Daniels & Fisher: 1910

Denver c. 1910. "Daniels & Fisher Stores Co., 16th and Arapahoe." View full size.


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My memory of D & F

In 1956, I was home on Navy Christmas leave and was shopping at Woolworth's for a gift for my evil stepmother. I saw a young woman who I recognized from High School and we started a conversation that continued in the coffee shop at Daniels & Fisher.

She is standing next to me now as I am writing this.

I'm just wondering

how they got rid of the rest of the building without damaging or destroying the tower. Some good engineering there!

Tall Tales of the Tower

Here are a couple of fun facts about the Daniels & Fisher Tower...

1. It was modeled on the Campanile in the Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy. The funny thing is, the D & F Tower is actually older than the Campanile. The original Campanile collapsed in 1902, the D & F Tower went up in 1910 and the Campanile wasn't rebuilt until 1912.

2. To emphasize the scale of the tower, which was the tallest building between St. Louis and the West Coast for decades, the owners of the store hired 7-foot, 5-inch Carl Sandell as a doorman. He held that post from 1911 until the store closed in 1958.

The Daniels & Fisher Department Store merged with the May Company to form May D&F. It absorbed the Denver Dry Goods Company. In turn, May D&F was absorbed by Foley's, then Foley's was absorbed by Macy's. Sic transit gloria mundi.

An Obvious Copy of the Metropolitan Life Tower

The tower is a very obvious copy of the recently completed Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower in New York, designed by Napoleon Le Brun & Sons and built 1907-1909. At 700 feet in height, the Metropolitan Tower was then the tallest building in the world, having wrested that title from the Singer Tower (1906-1908), also in New York. The Met Life Tower is clearly modeled on the Campanile (Bell Tower) of San Marco in Venice, a famous feature of that city's celebrated Piazza San Marco. Although Le Brun & Sons (really Pierre Le Brun, as his father Napoleon was already dead by then) was widely criticized for such literal copying, it should be noted that when the Met Life Tower was designed, the Venice landmark lay in ruins; it had collapsed in a heap of bricks in 1902, and it was not rebuilt (exactly "as it was, where it was," but this time with an elevator) until 1912. So both the New York and Denver copies could be considered honest homages to the then absent Campanile.

Now I want to go to Denver for the cabaret!

From the website:
Hear those bells tolling? That’s the D&F Tower (Daniels & Fisher), one of 16th Street’s most distinctive buildings. When it was completed in 1910, this was the highest building west of the Mississippi River. It is modeled after The Campanile (St. Mark’s Bell Tower) in the Piazza San Marco in Venice, and its four clocks (one for each side) are a whopping 16-feet high. So, if you’re caught without a watch, just look up. The Tower was built to house one of Denver's largest early 19th century department stores. Today, the basement of the D&F Tower has been renovated into Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret, an entertainment venue.

Mostly still there.

And standing proudly:

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