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During the Colorado gold rush, in 1858, a party of Georgians, led by Green Russell settled at the cross of present-day Speer Boulevard and Larimer Street. Their encampment was named Auraria. A second group arrived and called their settlement St. Charles. However, many members of the settlement went back to Kansas for the winter to fill up on provisions and to register their township. During their absence, a group led by General William H. Larimer Jr. staked the claim for himself and renamed the town Denver, after the Kansas territorial governor, James Denver. The main street of Denver was accordingly called Larimer Street. General Larimer and his son built the first log cabin on main street, equipped with doors made from coffin lids and “glass” windows from glazed, semi-transparent material. Soon, Denver grew to a town of 25 buildings and was becoming a rival to the neighboring Auraria. However, the rivalry came to a close when the two towns united into one city, Denver.

The city block that emerged as Larimer Square was the heart of Denver and housed the city’s first dry goods store, bookstore, bank and even the first post office. During the “Skyline Urban Renewal Project” many of the original structures of Larimer were modernized and replaced. But with collected effort, Larimer Square was declared Colorado’s first historic district back in 1971.

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Story Site #314 Larimer Square

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