Friendly former residents heartily approve of the renovations.
An undesirable spirit felt unwelcome.
While definitely not an upscale, boutique establishment, the historic 1911 Newhouse Hotel, designed by Arthur H. O’Brien, has been described as an eclectic, antique inn with plenty of 1911 era charm in its current restoration. It is made up of three rectangular, three story, red brick wings, which make up three distinct connecting sides, two of which run parallel to each other, with long sides that stretch back for 1/2 a block. The back side of the rectangle is another three story building that connects these two sides.
The fourth side of the rectangle is the front of the building that sits on Grant Street. It not only connects the two sides of the hotel in front, but also features a unique, slightly funky historic sign on top: “The Newhouse Hotel”, a relic from the 1940s.
The outside brickwork on the front ends of the two parallel three story brick structures. is very high end quality for 1911 artistic standards, with lovely dentils along the top.
The other first floor spaces in the other buildings are home to the lobby and sitting area, a dining area, laundry, and other areas of interest.
The second and third floors, of all of the hotel’s three floored buildings, have a variety of seventy rooms available, some with private baths, and others with a communal bathroom down the hall. While they do rent some rooms to visitors, most rooms are filled with short and long term residents who have business or work in Denver. The Newhouse serves the same clientele types as it did when it opened in 1911.
As of 2013, the new owners and the hotel’s newly hired general manager, Rustin Waller, worked together to do restore and renovate the hotel. Since 2015, they have been able to attract tourists visiting Denver as well as business people, and people looking for an extended stay.
This review on YELP gives the flavor of The Newhouse:
4.0 star rating 8/6/2015
“I love this place. The staff are very helpful and my room was immaculate. It is right across from the capitol building and close to everything. It has an “Overlook Hotel” vibe about it, but I like that sort of thing. Very eclectic and different. It seems that the management are putting in much effort to restore it to its former charm. Historic old haunted hotel.”
The first buildings built along East Colfax Avenue Corridor were apartments and big mansions, from 1880-1892, when the area was an up and coming residential part of Denver. An economic downturn from 1893-1920 led to the development of commercial structures. Mansions all over Denver were turned into apartment buildings (similar to what happened with the Lumber Baron Mansion, in another part of Denver, much later in the 20th Century).
Other commercial developments had a hard time getting a foothold here, because neighboring property owners protested. In 1910, Denver stepped in and made it much easier to build commercial business structures. One source reported, “Denver adopted an ordinance allowing construction of commercial buildings on Colfax Avenue without the consent of other property owners on the block. This resulted in a boom of commercial developments, such as the Mammoth Skating Rink, and the cessation of residential development.”
This opened the door for hotels, restaurants and stores to be built.
The Newhouse Hotel started out as The Hess Hotel, attracting both regular folks and those who could afford pricier amenities like the private bathroom suites. Because it was so close to the Colorado State Capitol buildings, people with business there could conveniently stay at this establishment, an easy walk to state meetings at the Colorado State Capitol. People on business trips to Denver also found it convenient to stay at the Newhouse Hotel. Day workers with jobs in Denver also liked to stay in the hotel.
The Hess also got into the selling of sex business, a practice of many hotels in the western states, who viewed prostitution as an amenity they could offer.
During Prohibition, The Hess Hotel broadened its business model and became a speakeasy as well. Urban legend states that there were tunnels between the Capitol buildings and The Hess, which were probably bricked up at least by the beginning of World War 2, when the government ordered brothels to close to keep the morale of the soldiers up.
During World War 2, The Hess Hotel changed its name to The Newhouse Hotel because of local anti-German sentiment. The German owner wanted to stay in business in Denver.
After World War 2, the middle and upper middle classes moved into new homes built during Denver’s in the suburbs. City residents sold their homes to developers who built high-density apartments. Renters and the underclass were the ones left in this area. The city of Denver did open this door when they passed rules earlier in the century that favored commercial development, not wanting to listen to the homeowners anymore.
As time marched on, predictably, the area around the Capitol became a down and out zone where drugs, addicts, the mentally ill, the homeless, parolees, and of course prostitutes lived and carried on their business.
The state had bought up many old mansions for a song and turned them into apartments, and housed recently released mentally ill people in them. The once proud Newhouse Hotel became a low rent flophouse, and later a place where Colorado State Corrections sent paroled sex offenders. It was steady income if you were an owner, but it came at the cost of adding to the perception of the hotel’s “creepy” reputation.
Denver’s urban renewal efforts had the unintended consequence of pushing out the poor who came to live along the East Colfax Corridor. Businesses also took a hit when Interstate 70 was finished, depriving them of drive-through tourist dollars. Yikes.
In 2009, The Newhouse Hotel was luckily one of those historic buildings that survived the tear-down and build something new mentality of the mid-20th century. The East Colfax Avenue Corridor district was given protection, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and looked after by The United States Department of the Interior. This also meant that restoration funds could be made available.
Up to the time when the Newhouse was sold to its current owner, drug deals were made in front of and around it, and it was a favorite place for members of the underclass to loiter. The hotel wound up with a bad reputation, yet still had some of its 1911 charm, and good structural bones.
In 2013, it was bought by the Dikeou Investments Corporation, which had plans to renovate and restore it.
After phasing out current sex offenders who lived there in a timely manner, and working with the Denver Police Department to be sure no more of them could move in, Dikeou cleaned up and renovated the lobby and the rooms. As they cleaned up, they evicted people for being dirty. From August of 2013 through December of 2013, word got out on the street that nothing illegal would be tolerated at the The Newhouse Hotel by the new management.
Dikeou manager Rustin Walker, armed with a licensed firearm and mace, told the homeless and the drug dealers to move on and not to loiter around the perimeter of the hotel. After a few fights and resistance, people complied. A fence was put up around the hotel property, and much better lighting was installed. The Newhouse now enjoys a respectable long and short stay clientele and residents. It is also a moneymaker!
Apparently, some of its former residents, now in spirit form, are also enjoying the efforts of the owners and manager to clean things up, and restore this historic hotel.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
When a fixer-upper opportunity is renovated, improved and restored, the transformation can act like an environmental trigger to bring back the spirits of former residents, owners, and folks with an attachment to the place, for a visit or stay.
Prostitution is a risky line of work, where the possibility of losing your life is a reality.
The apparition of a prostitute has been seen, still working, trying to lure men into a room.
When a person is killed on the job as consequence of their behavior, sometimes they stay to try to undo the event, and continue to do what they were doing. Sometimes they don’t want to admit to themselves that they had a role in their own death. They may even think they are still alive.
The prostitute mentioned above may have been killed trying to steal money out of the wallets of her customers.
Other spirits who may have died from drug overdoses or as a consequence of their chosen lifestyles, may also be still hanging out in the places they last called home. However, since no negative energy has detected, then perhaps not.
Female Entity Deborah
She was described as being “vivacious”, and liked to wear the outfits of a prostitute; short shorts and a revealing top. She has appeared in solid form, looking like a live person.
It is said that for many years she has tried to seduce and lure men looking for paid sexual recreation, appearing as a realistic-looking lady of the night. While her men didn’t get any “action”, Deborah did steal their wallets. It is said that they woke up without their money in the alley behind the hotel.
Other former residents now in spirit form:
Residents and staff have had many experiences with former spirit residents over the years, describing them as being friendly and willing to share their old rooms.
Current staff, residents and visitors also report many experiences in areas of the hotel besides the rooms.
Probably so. The friendly spirits remain and are accepted by the staff and manager as part of the hotel. Nothing negative or unhappy has been felt.
The entity of Deborah, who may not have known that she was dead, may have gotten the message that people in her line of work are no longer welcome at the Newhouse Hotel and floated off to haunt somewhere else. She watched as the manager evicted the types of people she preyed upon. Her usual clients are gone and the residents who live here now are not interested in paid sexual recreation.
Several sources report that staff say that they have had many experiences with friendly spirits, probably in the common areas, and the rooms themselves. I can see how spirit residents are enjoying the newly restored lobby and sitting room!
No hard evidence that might have been caught has been shared with the public. Paranormal groups probably haven’t been allowed to investigate because the hotel is full with paying residents. Plus, as the hotel’s spirit visitors are benign, friendly, and happy souls, the owners don’t want to rock the spectral boat by allowing researchers (who can sometimes be rude) in for investigations.
1128 Grant Street
Denver, CO 80203
The Newhouse Hotel is just east of the Colorado State Capitol building.
The Hotel’s far left building sits on the southeast corner of East Colfax and Grant Street.
East Colfax Avenue is called the East Colfax Corridor, since it runs all the way through Denver.