Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Warehouse Row - Wynkoop Street

One of the problems I had with the original LA Warehouse district layout was the scenery. There were three key structures for the layout; The Walnut Building and the two buildings that created the curved entrance to the railroad alley. The restrictions on the layout size and the location of the staging cassette meant that a lot of compromises would have to be made with these three buildings and while that was okay the rest of the layout was made up of rather uninteresting brick buildings, none of which even featured loading docks. While I like the brick canyon feel it was going to be a rather low walled canyon in this case since none of them were more than two stories high. Good for operations but not so much fun from the building perspective.

This time around I'm even more interested in the photographic aspects of the layout and I still want to establish that brick canyon feel specifically for B&W pictures. Denver's Warehouse Row on Wynkoop Street in lower downtown (Lodo) features warehouse as tall as six stories on both sides of the street. While the space is still pretty restrictive in width I think I can pull off that brick canyon feel more effectively with these taller elements. Denver has the added bonus of being in love with viaducts so the area has some natural endpoints; the 16th street viaduct on the north, the 14th street (Speer) viaduct on the south and the 15th street viaduct right in the middle, effectively dividing the area into two "scenes". There are definitely some things to overcome but the tall buildings combined with some a dawn to dusk lighting sequence offers some real opportunities for photography.

Here are a couple of shots of the area I have managed to dig up:

The Spratlen & Anderson Wholesale Grocers Warehouse, at this time I believe it was occupied by the Davis Brothers Wholesale Drug Company. That's the 15th street viaduct separating the 1400 block from the 1500 block. It was built in 1968 which makes that the earliest date for the railroad equipment. This is D&RGW territory. Denver Public Library, Department of Western History call # Z-10895

This is in the 1500 block of Wynkoop looking South. The huge washed out structure on the left is the Postal Annex which takes up the entire block. On my version I would replace it with the original warehouses that stood there originally. The buildings on the left are all part of the Morey Mercantile Company although by this date it had been sold. Note that at this time the 15th St. Viaduct is missing. Cornell Library from the 1960 President's Railroad Commission #5003pb63f117

The 1400 block of Wynkoop from the 14th Street (Spear) Viaduct. Weicker Transfer and Storage on the left the Volker and Spratlen-Anderson buildings on the right. Cherry Creek has cement walls and is crossed by a Warren Truss bridge. Note the trucks parked behind the boxcar effectively blocking it in. There is another boxcar in front of the Volker building's unusual loading dock. Cornell Library from the 1960 President's Railroad Commission 

The Kennicott-Patterson Warehouse which occupied a good portion of the west side of the 1500 block of Wynkoop. The six story portion is the original building, the rest of the massive complex is an addition. Picture is taken from the 16th street Viaduct. Denver Public Library Western History Collection call # MCC-3700

Now rail served businesses on the west side of the 1500 block of Wynkoop. Note the signage on the side of the Kennicott building appears to have at least two layers of painted signs at this point. Denver Public Library Western History Collection call # MCC-1701


  1. Great stuff Kris!! I remember going down there with my dad in the early 70's. It was skid row by then. Not a place to be at night.

    1. I ended up in the area a couple of times after making a few wrong turns. Didn't want to get out of the car! It has certainly changed a lot!