By Aimee Maravi
Between the Pulitzers, Heartland Emmys, and others, the Denver Press Club has no shortage of honors on its walls. But for its 150th birthday this Wednesday, the DPC will receive a new one: a plaque from the National Register of Historic Places.
As early as 1867 when the club started there was no building. Reporters and other newspaper people met in the basement of Wolfe Londoner, the club’s first president. They later met in rented hotels before the members decided to build the now famous Denver Press Club building in 1925.
Burnham F. Hoyt and Merrill H. Hoyt designed the new building, a Tudor Revivalist design that looks like an old English tavern inside. And it proved to be a lasting piece of Denver architecture that survived the Great Depression and escaped the Denver skyline renewal plan that destroyed much of the downtown area.
The club’s members also saw a number of changes, from the 1930s with just 69 members to its heyday in the mid-1950s when the press club comprised more than 1,225 men. At one point, the club even had a burial site to help members properly bury their loved ones if they couldn’t afford it.
In the mid-1960s, according to historycolorado.org, the club finally relaxed its membership rules for men only. This happened long after the association first considered and ultimately refused to allow women to join in 1948.
These days the club is enjoying its status as the oldest known continuously operating press club in the United States. And they celebrate all of this history and perseverance on Wednesday.
The anniversary celebration begins at 6.30 p.m. with an inauguration ceremony at 7 p.m. In addition, US Representative Diana DeGette, a Denver Democrat, and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock will share their views on the club’s history and the role of journalism. Please visit the club’s website for full details.
Aimee Maravi is a Denverite high school summer intern.