Thursday, August 21, 2008

Golden, Colorado: The Town the Coors Built

The first time I visited Golden, Colorado, it was 1973. Golden was a sleepy suburb of Denver, and I was a new college graduate on my way to San Francisco to make the scene. That was a time when Coors was a local brew-- not available in Ohio. I remember sipping Coors in a small pub and enjoying the crisp mountain air on a sunny September day.

I've been to Golden a few times since then, but on a recent trip to Colorado, I was surprised to see how much Golden had grown and developed. Golden still has a small town feel, but it is a decidedly upscale small town feel. The downtown (above) has been spiffed up with a new park along the river (bottom), several downtown condo buildings, an historic park with re-enactments (below, right), restored historic homes (below, left), lots of public art, street musicians, a few small museums, and many bustling shops and restaurants. In the top photo, you can see the river-front condos on the right and the Coors plant in the distance. Detractors would say that Golden has been gentrified. OK, yes, it's been gentrified, but as a downtowner, it was heartening to me to visit a city with a vibrant downtown full of people enjoying the interesting things to do. In honor of that day back in 1973, I sat at a sidewalk cafe with my cousin, sipped an ice cold beer, and enjoyed the clean mountain air and the views.

No comments: