#TBT : This ordinance from our archives shows that #OTD in 1888, Council approved construction of the 16th Street Viaduct for the #Denver City Cable Railway Company. This viaduct would connect downtown Denver to the neighboring town of Highland with a cable car.
Highland was incorporated as a fashionable residential community near Denver in 1875. Situated on a steep hill to the North and West of downtown, and bordered on one side by the South Platte River, the town enjoyed its status as a clean, quaint haven away from Denver’s frontier town rowdiness.
Highland boasted clean well water and fresh air from its vantage point above smoky, smoggy Denver, making it a destination for tuberculosis patients seeking treatment at its many sanitariums during the turn of the 20th century. The liquor licenses in Highland were priced at such an exorbitant rate that the town didn’t have a single saloon.
Highland eventually began to suffer economically for its elevated isolation from the city. The very features that gave Highland its desirable elevation above, and separation from, Denver made it difficult to transport goods and people between the two towns. The 1888 ordinance approving the viaduct was a key measure to alleviate the financial impact of Highland’s isolation. This 1908 image shows the viaduct as it crosses the South Platte and Denver’s railyards.
In 1896, the Denver Mayor threatened to cut off access to the viaduct if Highland didn’t vote for annexation. Still suffering the financial impacts of the Silver Panic of 1893, and facing the possibility of once again being isolated from Denver’s resources, Highland voted to become part of Denver.
Looking for more historic records? Visit Denverclerkandrecorder.org.