Historic Colorado photos: Charles Lillybridge was active in Denver in the early 1900s

Though History Colorado collections hold nearly 2,000 of Charles Lillybridge’s images, his work is characterized as “less known.”

Outdoor portrait of a group of men and women at possibly Creation Park (Red Rocks) near Morrison (Jefferson County), Colorado. A few of the women hold bunches of greenery and wear decorated hats. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.1616 DPLY)history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
A group of men stand near a vertical tubular boiler and a steam engine at a construction site in Denver, Colorado. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.497 DPLY) history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
A group of men stand near a vertical tubular boiler and a steam engine at a construction site in Denver, Colorado. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.497 DPLY)

Photographer Charles Lillybridge was active in Denver in the early 1900s, capturing images of regular Denverites during that time. Though History Colorado and the Denver Public Library’s Western History collections hold nearly 2,000 of Lillybridge’s images, his work is characterized by local researcher Randal Metz as “less known.”

Men pose in City Park, in Denver, Colorado, by United States flags and bentwood chairs during a Fourth of July festival. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.52 DPLY) history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
Men pose in City Park, in Denver, Colorado, by United States flags and bentwood chairs during a Fourth of July festival. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.52 DPLY)

“It’s probable,” wrote Metz for the Denver Public Library, that many of Lillybridge’s photos “were never printed, sitting in boxed obscurity for a 100 years, and that these faces are being seen for the first time in a century.”

PREVIOUSLY IN THE HISTORIC COLORADO PHOTO SERIES: Donald Kemp | Sandra Dallas | Harry Mellon Rhoads | Charles Lillybridge
A man is baptized by two men in the South Platte River in Denver, Colorado. A woman stands nearby and watches. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.1297 DPLY) history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
A man is baptized by two men in the South Platte River in Denver, Colorado. A woman stands nearby and watches. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.1297 DPLY)

Lillybridge’s work shows scenes from the city’s early life. Kids and adults on the way to work, people being baptized in the South Platte, and posing for portraits. A post by History Colorado points out that Denver’s affinity for biking to work began much earlier than expected, and is revealed in Lillybridge’s documentation.

Outdoor portrait of men and women in a canoe at City Park Lake in Denver, Colorado; costume includes swimming suits and a flowered hat. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.417 DPLY) history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
Outdoor portrait of men and women in a canoe at City Park Lake in Denver, Colorado; costume includes swimming suits and a flowered hat. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.417 DPLY)

We’ve selected some picks of the massive litter. If you’d like to browse to excess, visit the DPL’s digitized Western History Collection.

Outdoor portrait of a group of men and women at possibly Creation Park (Red Rocks) near Morrison (Jefferson County), Colorado. A few of the women hold bunches of greenery and wear decorated hats. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.1616 DPLY) history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
Outdoor portrait of a group of men and women at possibly Creation Park (Red Rocks) near Morrison (Jefferson County), Colorado. A few of the women hold bunches of greenery and wear decorated hats. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.1616 DPLY)
View of the Denver Public Library at West Colfax Avenue and Bannock Street in Denver, Colorado. A man with an umbrella stands underneath an arc lamp streetlight. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.911 DPLY) history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
View of the Denver Public Library at West Colfax Avenue and Bannock Street in Denver, Colorado. A man with an umbrella stands underneath an arc lamp streetlight. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.911 DPLY)
A group of men pose near possibly a blacksmith's shop in Denver, Colorado. Two men are on horseback and other men wear long aprons. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.1379 DPLY) history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
A group of men pose near possibly a blacksmith’s shop in Denver, Colorado. Two men are on horseback and other men wear long aprons. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.1379 DPLY)
A group of men stand and sit on the sidewalk near a grocery store in Denver, Colorado. One man holds a briefcase. A sign on the awning reads: "Confectionery & Grocery". Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.1641 DPLY) history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
A group of men stand and sit on the sidewalk near a grocery store in Denver, Colorado. One man holds a briefcase. A sign on the awning reads: “Confectionery & Grocery”. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.1641 DPLY)
Men and women pose near two bicycles in City Park, Denver, Colorado. A gazebo with an angel statue is nearby. The pavilion is in the distance. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.1626 DPLY) history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
Men and women pose near two bicycles in City Park, Denver, Colorado. A gazebo with an angel statue is nearby. The pavilion is in the distance. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.1626 DPLY)
View of brick houses, with shingle imbrication, covered porches, and arched windows, in Denver, Colorado. Address by a United States flag reads: "2025." Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.783 DPLY) history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
View of brick houses, with shingle imbrication, covered porches, and arched windows, in Denver, Colorado. Address by a United States flag reads: “2025.” Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.783 DPLY)
A paperboy poses on his bicycle near the Alameda Avenue bridge over Archer Canal in Denver, Colorado. The bridge over the South Platte River is in the distance. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.1610 DPLY) history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
A paperboy poses on his bicycle near the Alameda Avenue bridge over Archer Canal in Denver, Colorado. The bridge over the South Platte River is in the distance. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.1610 DPLY)
View of Alameda Avenue underpass construction in Denver, Colorado; shows men, railroad tracks, concrete forms, and houses. Circa 1910. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.778 DPLY) history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
View of Alameda Avenue underpass construction in Denver, Colorado; shows men, railroad tracks, concrete forms, and houses. Circa 1910. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.778 DPLY)
View of streetcar number 126, in Denver, Colorado, at (possibly) the turnaround wye at the end of the Valverde Line at South Lipan Street and West Alameda Avenue; shows a man in a conductor uniform, a boy is to the side. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.1 DPLY) history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
View of streetcar number 126, in Denver, Colorado, at (possibly) the turnaround wye at the end of the Valverde Line at South Lipan Street and West Alameda Avenue; shows a man in a conductor uniform, a boy is to the side. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.1 DPLY)
Nighttime view, facing west, of Stout Street in Denver, Colorado. Illuminated signs include: "A. T. Lewis & S[on]". Other signs read: "The Dutch Mill" and "The M[ay]". Between 1910 and 1920. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.529 DPLY) history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
Nighttime view, facing west, of Stout Street in Denver, Colorado. Illuminated signs include: “A. T. Lewis & S[on]”. Other signs read: “The Dutch Mill” and “The M[ay]”. Between 1910 and 1920. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.529 DPLY)
View of a smokestack, hoists, and industrial buildings in Denver, Colorado; lettering reads: "Meadow Gold Butter." Between 1910 and 1925. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.654 DPLY) history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
View of a smokestack, hoists, and industrial buildings in Denver, Colorado; lettering reads: “Meadow Gold Butter.” Between 1910 and 1925. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.654 DPLY)
Interior view of City Park Pavilion, in Denver, Colorado; shows a man and woman, wire chairs, a soda fountain, ceiling fan, wall clock, and glass display cases. Between 1910 and 1925. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.473 DPLY) history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
Interior view of City Park Pavilion, in Denver, Colorado; shows a man and woman, wire chairs, a soda fountain, ceiling fan, wall clock, and glass display cases. Between 1910 and 1925. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.473 DPLY)
Men, women, and children pose outdoors near a dairy store in Denver, Colorado. A sign on the building reads: "Englewood Creamery Orders Placed". Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.906 DPLY) history colorado; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
Men, women, and children pose outdoors near a dairy store in Denver, Colorado. A sign on the building reads: “Englewood Creamery Orders Placed”. Between 1904 and 1915. (Charles Lillybridge/History Colorado/90.152.906 DPLY)
PREVIOUSLY IN THE HISTORIC COLORADO PHOTO SERIES: Donald Kemp | Sandra Dallas | Harry Mellon Rhoads | Charles Lillybridge

Kevin Beaty

Author: Kevin Beaty

Kevin Beaty is a media producer with experience in a variety of settings spanning Hollywood film sets to international backpack journalism expeditions. He is on a never-ending quest to meld artful imagery, functional design and intimate storytelling. His biggest struggle in any given moment is whether to shoot stills or video.