The Oxford Hotel in Denver, Colorado was built at the height of the silver bonanza in 1891. The historic hotel is one the the few remaining 19th century hotels in Denver. The exterior is classic and rather plain, but the interior is extravagant and elegant.
The bartender in the Cruise Room of the Oxford Hotel told the story of a man walking into the bar wearing an old post office uniform. The man took a seat at the bar and ordered a beer. The bartender told the man “that will be $4.25.” The man commented about how he remembered when beers were inexpensive.
The man sipped his beer and was heard to mutter, “The children, I have to get the gifts to the children.” The man finished his drink and left the premises.
The bartender picked up the empty beer bottle and found it was still full. Even though the bartender and several witnesses had seen the man drinking from the beer bottle.
Research revealed the story of a postal worker from the early 1900’s. The postal worker was on the way to Central City, which was about 35 miles away. The postman was delivering Christmas presents to the children. The postal worker never showed up. People reported seeing him without presents. Many townspeople assumed that the postal worker had sold the presents and disappeared with the pocketed money.
In the following spring, the postal worker’s decomposed body was found on the way to Central City. All of the Christmas gifts were still in his possession.
It seems that the spirit of the postal worker may have recreated his final drink of beer at the Cruise Bar.
History of The Oxford Hotel in Denver, Colorado
The rugged frontier town of Denver became a boom town after the railroad arrived in 1870. By 1890 Denver was the third largest city in the west, following San Francisco and Omaha.
Adolph Zang, of Zang Brewery, was a local brewery owner who saw the need for a first class hotel near Union Station. Zang Brewery was the biggest prohibition producer in the Rocky Mountains. Adolph Zang was the son of a German immigrant. Adolph Zang’s accomplishments went beyond beinga brewery owner and hotel owner. He was instrumental in establishing the Capital Insurance Company, The American National Bank (Originally the German Bank & Trus)t, the Cosmopolitan Hotel and White City (later named Lakeside Amusement Park).
The Oxford Hotel opened to rave reviews in 1891. . The Oxford Hotel had the latest in the technology of the era, including its own power plant, steam heating, electric and gas lighting. The “vertical railway’ or elevator, carried guests to the upper stories for a bird’s eye view of the booming metropolis of Denver.
The Exterior of The Oxford Hotel is simple compared to the elaborate interior. The interior of The Oxford Hotel was filled with fine oak furniture, frescoed walls, stained glass accents and silver chandeliers. The Oxford Hotel survived the Silver Panic of 1893, while many of Denver’s businesses, including banks, railroads and mines, collapsed.
During the Turn of the Century, The Oxford enjoyed a period of prosperity and had to turn guests away. Ads for The Oxford, Circa 1912, read “Just through the Welcome Arch. The Real Hub of Denver. Fire Proof, European Plan, Absolutely Modern. Rooms $1.00, $1.50 and $2.00 a day.”
Adolph Zang passed away in 1916. The Zang Mansion and the Oxford Hotel are Historical Landmarks in Denver, CO. The Zang Brewery Restaurant still stands at the site of the original Zang Brewery.
During World War II The Oxford was filled with military troops who came in by rail and arrived at Union Station. Mothers of local servicemen came to the hotel to serve coffee, donuts and hot turkey sandwiches to the soldiers around the clock.
After World War II Denver enjoyed another boom period. Denver emerged as a center for tourism, government and business.
In 1979 The Oxford was purchased by Charles Callaway, who closed the hotel for restoration. Many of the outstanding features of the early years were uncovered above false ceilings, behind closets and in the alcoves of the hotel’s basement. The Oxford had a restoration that recreated many of the decorative features. The hotels original blue prints were found and used to return the hotel to its original Victorian splendor. Chandeliers were stripped of paint and found to be sterling silver. The famous Cruise Room was returned to its Art Deco style. The restoration took three years and cost over $12 million dollars.
The Oxford Hotel is a historic hotel that has been selected by Hemispheres Magazine as one of “Colorado’s Most Romantic Hotels” and “50 Best Hotels in the World. The Oxford Hotel is designated a Historic Hotel of America. The luxurious hotel features fine amenities including: historic martini bar, complimentary fitness center, full service salon, full service spa and more
The historic hotel is located in a area of Denver that is brimming with art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, clubs and entertainment.