Monday, October 4, 2010

The Aladdin Theater

I finally purchased a book that I've been wanting for quite some time called The Ghosts of Capital Hill by Phil Goldstein. Its all about the history of Denver's Capital Hill area, and especially its ghosts. I actually did a ghost tour with its author about 5 years ago that was very informative, which is how I knew about this book.

Well I was just browing through it looking at all the old pictures when one caught my eye. It was a side view of the Aladdin Theater. I had never heard of it so I read the caption and discoverred that it had previously resided on Colfax and Vine, two blocks away from where I live. Scanning the picture, I realized that in its place is the Walgreens drugstore I often frequent.

I did a little online searching and found a write up about the theater on including some photos.

The Aladdin theater opened in 1926 and was apparently one of the most oppulant theaters in Denver at that time. "The public was held in awe at what they found inside: thick, luxurious carpets in jade green, wide, plush seats, an expansive auditorium ceiling painted sky blue with hundreds of tiny, twinkling lights that looked like stars when the house lights were turned down, a completely equipped nursery, a large waiting room and an exotic smoking lounge. They found Arabian murals and decorations, and even a bubbling fountain. Everything inside was worthy of Ali Baba himself, down to the drapes and furnishings, wrought iron and blown glass hanging lanterns and standing lamps."

For over 40 years the theater stayed popular, but as most people started moving out to the suburbs the theater quit making money. It did a brief stint with live theater but as Capital Hills reputation declined, so did the theater. Even though many wanted the theater to become a historic landmark, it was slated for the wrecking ball. It met its fate in 1984 and, as mentioned above, became a Walgreens.

The Aladdin in 1984, shortly before being demolished.

Today the Capital Hill area is a popular one (My neighborhood is technically called Cheesman Park, but Capital Hill sits right next to me). It offers tons of night life options along with some of the oldest architecture in the city. Even though some still believe that it is dangerous, it is not. I have lived there for 6 years and havent had a single problem. I have never heard gun shots. There is no grafitti. Cars do not get broken into. There are 3 old theaters nearby whos business thrives on live music, not to mention all the others around the city that still opperate as movie houses and live music venues. Its sad to think that if the the Aladdin had been spared it would probably be doing really well today. The 80s were a bad time for most cities, as that seems to be when most historic buildings were demolished to make way for new crap. At least here in Denver a lot were saved and still stand today. But it wouldve been nice to have seen the Aladdin in its heyday!!

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