This is really stretching my memory. I was somewhere under ten years old. The time was before 1950. Streetcars were stopped in 1950. However, I remember riding streetcars in Denver. Those yellow painted wooden streetcars that would lumber down the middle of the street and many times when going around the corner the electrical power source would disengage from the main line and the streetcar driver would be required to disembark from the streetcar, go to the back and move the power line to the overhead line so that the streetcar could move on.
We lived just east of the Barnum area near First Ave and Federal Blvd. In those days Barnum was the place that Barnum and Bailey Circus stayed during the winter months. That is how Barnum was named. I don’t ever remember when the circus was staying there. Maybe I just don’t know what I was looking at. I do remember sometimes a religious revival would be in the area and you could see the large canvas tent from the road. Maybe they rented the tent from the circus for the revival. I was under ten years old, I am lucky I remembered the canvas tents and revival.
I do remember going downtown with my mother on the streetcar. There was a route that went to the Barnum area from downtown Denver. This was before checkbooks and all of the conveniences we have now. Once a month my mother would take the streetcar downtown to pay all the bills. They were paid in cash and a receipt was vitally important in those days. If you could not generate a receipt, you had no proof of payment.
We would catch the streetcar somewhere near Grove Street. This was the end of the line and a large circle would be made and the streetcar would start the return trip to downtown Denver. If I remember correctly it would go for a period of time on Knox Court and then follow the gulley near 14th Avenue to downtown Denver. For a period of time I believe it went east on Colfax Avenue. The route ended at “The Loop”. This was near 15th or 16th and Blake St. Many of the routes ended up there and would then turn around and take the designated route they were assigned. At the Loop there was a flower shop, meat market and other ones I don’t remember.
We would start walking up 16th Street and stop at American Furniture to make a payment on the furniture. I don’t know whether Jake Jabs was involved in American Furniture at that time or he came at a later date. Following that we stopped at Industrial Federal Savings to make the payment on the house. My parents had a house built in 1941 and paid $5400.00 for that house. It is hard to imagine paying that for a house knowing what the prices of a house are now.
Next was Mountain Bell to pay for that new modern convenience the telephone. Everyone had a party line in those days. It was either two parties or four parties. We had a two party line. At least with a two party line we did not have to listen for different rings. How spoiled we are these days.
Public Service was the next stop. Remember Reddy Kilowatt? There he was in the showroom, waiting to collect your money for the gas and lite bill. I remember this building at night. They had lights embedded in the outside walls and they would be on at night. Reddy Kilowatt was ready to sell you all the electricity you needed.
It was getting near lunch time and our mother would treat us to lunch at Woolworth’s at 16th and Champa St. That place would be jammed packed for lunch. Many times we had to wait for a seat to eat. If we were really good we would get a small bag of Cashew nuts to take home with us. To this day I still like Cashew nuts. Woolworth’s is gone. W.T. Grants and Neisner’s are gone. Denver Dry Goods Company has disappeared. Many names I grew up with have just disappeared.
After lunch we would walk back to The Loop and get on that old wooden yellow painted streetcar and return to the Barnum area. What do I distinctly remember about the trips to downtown Denver on those slow lumbering noisy streetcars? I remember the bell. I can still hear the bell in my head. Ding! Ding!