Riverfront Area - Denver, Colorado 


Riverfront Area
 Denver, Colorado

I will be reasonably broad in describing this area of Lower Downtown, mostly large fields, punctuated by a trio of viaducts that were just behind Union Station and stretched west to the Platte River. The area I photographed lay mostly in the middle near Moffat Station and the 15th and 16th Street Viaducts. All of the activity of 1890's - 1920's was gone; the railroads were mostly silent, and fields were void of any buildings from the past.

The 16th Street Viaduct spanned the Platte River and Valley into and out of Downtown Denver's northwest side. It carried traffic on the viaduct only, and was quiet and still on the ground below. A few hobos wandered the area and sometimes hung out under the viaducts for rest and shade.  Other movement included an occasional wanderer and always, the little animals of the fields - Meadowlarks, mice, rabbits and pigeons - again.

The railroad line ran directly in the middle of the valley in the opposite direction of the viaducts. Trains would rumble through and vibrate the ground; the noise and smell of their diesel engines completed the scene. Moffat Train Station was on 15th Street between Delgany Street and what is now, Little Raven Street. Moffat Station, built in the 1890's would serve some rail use, but ultimately succumb to other forces and fade out of prominence. It had 12 marvelous "metal globes" perched on the roof.  An apple tree on the buildings' west side provided me with limbs to the roof,
and a rare apple in the fall season. It was the little things like that I enjoyed in this forgotten land.

The viaducts were strong, made of steel and concrete. A modest metal staircase near Moffat Station, rising from the ground to a viaduct bus stop, added insult to injury. The viaducts were already deteriorating and the need to bring transportation into the area at ground level would soon end the era of their use.  Moffat Station is still hanging on empty, and those metal globes are stored or stolen.

- Kim Allen




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ęCopyright 1983 Kim Allen Denver Photo Archives