Denver's Union Station Sees New Life

From Skid Row to trendy LoDo, the revitalization of Denver's downtown continues with the grand opening of the repurposed and restored Union Station and Crawford Hotel.
Denver's Union Station, Nighttime Exterior

Denver's Union Station, Nighttime Exterior

Denver's Union Station is over 100 years old, and its historic and distinctive architecture was protected throughout the extensive redevelopment project. It houses restaurants, a hotel, and in 2016 will be accessible via the Denver International Airport.

Photo by: Ellen Jaskol

Ellen Jaskol

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Like many major cities across the United States, in the 1980s downtown Denver suffered from severe blight, and many historic structures were boarded up and abandoned. Preservationists watched in horror as close to 20 percent of the area’s structures were bulldozed for – you guessed it – parking lots. 

Snapping into action, a development authority was formed and efforts to save the remaining buildings were planned. One of those people leading the charge was preservationist Dana Crawford, who is largely responsible for seeing the city go from Skid Row to trendy LoDo, as it’s now known. Crawford led restoration of the Oxford Hotel, rehabilitated Larimer Square and took the reigns of the redevelopment and renovation of Union Station.

Denver's Union Station, Kissing Platform

Denver's Union Station, Kissing Platform

Throughout the years, many soldiers and other travelers said good-bye to loved ones on the station's platforms. The historic station is once again providing bus and rail service and in 2016 will be accessible via the Denver International Airport.

Photo by: Denver Public Library

Denver Public Library

The 125,000-square-foot train station once served as one of the nation’s busiest transportation hubs, especially during the Silver Boom and times of war. It was in the '80s that the building became not only an eyesore, but dangerous. Today, Union Station is home to restaurants and specialty shops and its crowning jewel: a 112-room boutique hotel aptly named The Crawford. 

“Dana Crawford deserves this honor. She started historic redevelopment before it was popular, she’s had her hand in so many great Denver restorations, including Larimer Square, The Oxford Hotel and now Union Station,” said Walter Isenberg, CEO and President of Sage Hospitality. “The design of The Crawford Hotel honors the great history of the train station, while providing a modern luxury that is new and exciting. It’s an amazing combination, reflective of the work Dana’s done for our city.” 

Denver's Union Station: Before and After

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Exterior

The Crawford Hotel was named in honor of preservationist Dana Crawford, who is responsible for much of the revitalization efforts of Downtown Denver as well as the nearby Oxford Hotel.

Photo By: Ellen Jaskol

Nighttime Exterior

Denver's Union Station is over 100 years old, and its historic and distinctive architecture was protected throughout the extensive redevelopment project. It houses restaurants, a hotel, and in 2016 will be accessible via the Denver International Airport.

Photo By: Ellen Jaskol

Circa 1881

This historic photo of Union Station, located in downtown Denver, was snapped around 1881 when the station opened. The original cost was around $525,000. The station just went through a complete renovation with the addition of the Crawford Hotel, which cost about $51 million alone.

Photo By: Denver Public Library

Kissing Platform

Throughout the years, many soldiers and other travelers said goodbye to loved ones on the station's platforms. The historic station is once again providing bus and rail service.

Photo By: Denver Public Library

Terminal Bar

We're pretty excited about the Terminal Bar, which is located on the East side of the Great Hall of the renovated and restored Union Station. It features the original ticket windows and a huge outdoor patio overlooking Wynkoop Street.

Photo By: Chad Chisolm

Post Fire

In 1894, Denver's Union Station caught fire and the original wooden tower was destroyed. This image was taken after the structure was repaired.

Photo By: Denver Public Library

Restoration

Named to the National Register of Historic Places, Denver Union Station expects to achieve LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The entire project was overseen by architects, designers and preservationists sensitive to the structures historic importance.

Photo By: Ellen Jaskol

Before the Renovation

The renovation and restoration was overseen by preservationists, architects and interior designers. The 100-year-old structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and is expected to achieve LEED certification from the United States Green Building Council.

Photo By: Ellen Jaskol

After the Renovation

Many of the station's original details and art deco design elements were left intact during the restoration.

Photo By: Ellen Jaskol

Grand Hall

Named to the National Register of Historic Places, Denver Union Station expects to achieve LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. In 2016, it will reopen as a transportation hub once again with train and bus service.

Photo By: Ellen Jaskol

Clock Tower

As much of the original details of the structure, like the clock, were preserved in the renovations.

Photo By: Ellen Jaskol

Classic Room

Each floor of the Crawford Hotel boasts a different theme. "Classic" guest rooms boast high ceilings and large windows and were inspired by the building’s Victorian-era beginnings, but with a modern flair.

Photo By: Ellen Jaskol

King Suite

We love the art deco and midcentury modern influences in this king suite, which include the Greek key bolster pillow and the hand-carved closet doors.

Photo By: Ellen Jaskol

Loft Bathroom

Located on the hotel's third floor in the former attic, the "loft" rooms feature exposed architectural supports and beams, vaulted ceilings and modern and eclectic elements. We love this pedestal bathtub and double vanity sink.

Photo By: Ellen Jaskol

Eclectic Decor

This suite features a repurposed steamer trunk for an end table, a leather sofa with nailhead detail and a kooky wall of jackalopes.

Photo By: Ellen Jaskol

Loft Bedroom

The eclectic loft bedroom features a leather tufted headboard and exposed brick details. There is also a "before" shot of the room to the right of the bedroom.

Photo By: Ellen Jaskol

Suite

We love the eclectic elements of this suite's bedroom like the wall of Jackalopes, the unique paneled sliding doors and the reclaimed wood headboard.

Photo By: Ellen Jaskol

Bathroom

We love the exposed architecture elements in many of the Crawford's rooms. There are unique elements in all, which include art deco, modern and eclectic influences.

Photo By: Ellen Jaskol

Because so many existing elements of the structure were used in the redevelopment and design, the project earns the distinction of “green.” Named to the National Register of Historic Places, Denver Union Station expects to achieve LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The hotel itself is an eclectic mix of styles with nods to the original beaux arts theme as well as art deco influences seen in the lighting and other architectural details. And while each room is unique, the different floors are themed: The "Pullman-style" rooms evoke train travel in its prime, offering a modern take on glamorous private sleeping cars a la The Orient Express. "Classic" guest rooms boast high ceilings and large windows and were inspired by the building’s Victorian-era beginnings, but with a modern flair.  The "loft" rooms are located in the former attic and feature exposed beams and high vaulted ceilings.

Denver's Crawford Hotel, Classic Room

Denver's Crawford Hotel, Classic Room

The rooms at the Crawford Hotel feature Art Deco and eclectic details and each one has a unique surprise waiting around the corner or adorning the walls.

Photo by: Ellen Jaskol

Ellen Jaskol

Rooms are decorated with eclectic taxidermy such as friendly jackalopes as well as prints depicting Union Station in its prime. Also on display on site are a number of objects found during the renovation. These items include train tickets, pieces of luggage and original architectural renderings. 

There are also many great dining options such as Snooze for breakfast, Pigtrain for coffee, Stoic & Genuine for fancy eats or Acme Burger & Brats for something a little more laid back. We’re personally excited about the Terminal Bar, which is located on the East side of the Great Hall of the renovated and restored Union Station. It features the original ticket windows and a huge outdoor patio overlooking Wynkoop Street.

In 2016, Union Station will be accessible to the elusive Denver International Airport, which almost tops the cocktail lounge – almost. More photos are details can be seen at The Crawford Hotel's website.

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