Convention Annoyances (1908)

The Democratic National Convention, Denver 1908: The More Things Change…

In the “more things change, the more they stay the same” department, The Denver Post of July 6, 1908, wrote: “If a man intends to get to Denver from any point in the near West he looks over the time table and then allows twenty-four hours for luck.” Train travel was obviously no more dependable than today’s airline schedules.

With a population of 200,000, Denver was the commercial center of the Rocky Mountain region, and the city wanted to put itself on the map so that more commercial enterprises would come their way. The newly built convention hall was part of what landed Denver the Democratic commitment, and both the press and the delegates admired it for its cool, spacious interior and formal exterior. Built at a cost of $550,000, the auditorium seated 12,000 people. Denver’s government had also had built a “Welcome” arch to greet the delegates as they emerged from Union Station. It was made of bronze-coated steel that illuminated by hundreds of lights, and The landmark stood at the foot of Seventeenth Street for 23 years until it was torn down in 1931.

But 24 hours before the convention was to start, The Denver Post noted problems: “It is almost impossible to get a telephone connection within twenty minutes. The food supply ran out at about 9 o’clock this morning, and all this afternoon they have been diluting coffee and handling dried peaches to people who wanted cantaloupe or grape fruit.”

Denver’s DNC Past

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