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The Equitable Building was originally home to the Equitable Assurance Company of New York, who established their western office in Denver in 1892. The foundation of this location signaled Denver’s growing maturity and its transition from a boom and bust mining town to a more stable, fully fledged city. The building was designed by Boston architecture firm Andrews, Jacques, and Rantoul, who also designed the nearby Boston Building. The building is an Italian Renaissance Revival style, with Colorado granite on the lower two floors and brick on the upper stories. It uses terra cotta ornamentation throughout the façade. With a floor plan in the shape of a pair of back to back Es, and numerous Es depicted in the molding and decoration on the exterior, the building continues to pay homage to the company that built it. The interior of the building sports a marble floor and columns, a barrel-vaulted mosaic ceiling, Tiffany stained glass windows, and bronze stair rails.

Along with the Boston Building (1890), it shifted Denver’s Central Business District towards 17th Street, which became the “Wall Street of the West.” The Equitable was a hub for the financial, political, and legal offices of Denver’s elite. When the Colorado State Capitol was built in 1893-4, the Equitable Building housed the state executive offices. In 1896, David Moffat moved the First National Bank of Denver to the building. Mary Lathrop, the first woman to try a case before the Colorado Supreme Court and one of the two women first accepted to the American Bar Association in 1918, had her offices at the Equitable, along with other prominent Denver lawyers. As a result, the Equitable Law Library was one of the most extensive law libraries west of the Mississippi.

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Equitable Building, David Moffat, Mary Lathrop

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