By Aimee Maravi
Between the Pulitzers, Heartland Emmys and more, the Denver Press Club has no shortage of honors on its walls. But for its 150th birthday this Wednesday, the DPC will get a new one: a National Register of Historic Places plaque.
Back in 1867, when the club began, there was no building. Reporters and other newspapermen started out meeting in the basement of Wolfe Londoner, the club’s first president. Later they met in rented hotels before members decided to build the Denver Press Club building we know today in 1925.
Burnham F. Hoyt and Merrill H. Hoyt designed the new building, a Tudor Revivalist design that looks like an old English tavern on the inside. And it proved to be a lasting piece of Denver architecture, surviving the Great Depression and escaping the Denver Urban Skyline renewal plan that demolished much of downtown.
The members of the club also lived through a number of changes, from the 1930s, when there were only 69 members, to its heyday in the mid 1950s when more than 1,225 men were members of the press club. At one point, the club even owned a burial plot to help members give their loved ones a proper burial if they couldn’t afford it.
In the mid 1960s, the club finally relaxed its male-only membership rules, according to historycolorado.org. This came long after the club first considered — and ultimately rejected — allowing women to join in 1948.
These days, the club enjoys its status as oldest known continuously operating press club in the United States. And they’re celebrating all this history and perseverance on Wednesday.
The anniversary celebration will start at 6:30 p.m. with a dedication ceremony at 7 p.m. There will also be remarks from U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, a Denver Democrat, and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on the history of the club and the role of journalism. Full details are available at the club’s website.
Aimee Maravi is Denverite’s high school summer intern.