Federal Garage Building, Denver, CO
The garage at 2101 Welton Street is a federally-owned garage that was constructed in 1947 in the Mid-
Century Modern/Vernacular Style. The one-and-one-half-story structure faces southeast and has a gross
square footage of 12,096 feet. The exterior faade for the southeast, southwest and northwest elevations
are brick, laid in a common bond pattern. The northeast elevation is covered in stucco. The structure of
the walls is primarily CMU. Asphalt shingles cover the barrel arch roof, as well as the small pent eaves at
the roofl ine. Although there have been some alterations, and some sections of the building have been
renovated, the historic integrity of this mid-twentieth-century building remains.
The main, southeast, elevation along Welton Street has a large garage door opening in the center, with
two pedestrian fl ush metal doors on either side. The larger original opening has been fi lled in with brick,
laid in a running bond pattern, and a smaller, metal coiling gate has been added in the center with a
metal surround and steel extenders so that the historic cornice remains mostly intact. Painted historic
metal corner guards remain in situ at the original larger opening. Two sets of windows fl ank the doorways
on either side. Each set is comprised of three sections containing six panes per window, in a four-overtwo
hopper style, for a total number of 18 panes per set. Security screens are welded over the industrial
sash on each window. Each window set has a loose steel lintel between the window opening and the
brick course above as well as a brick on edge window sill treatment. Between each window set is a brick
pilaster. These pilasters are present on both the southeast and southwest elevations. Besides framing the
window openings, they also delineate the original opening widths for the gates and create bays on each
There is a belt course and a corbeled cornice above the windows. Above the cornice there is a stepped
parapet roof, with two small pent eaves covered with asphalt shingles, one on each side. At the pent eave
locations, there are original applied gutters that each connect to an original downspout at the south and
east ends. The center parapet has a soldier course above the cornice and a stone cap on top. At each
end of this elevation, small plywood boards are nailed to the corner pilasters. The board on the east
pilaster has been painted over while the south corner board has had layers removed.
The southwest elevation is eight bays wide. The bay on the far west side does not have any
fenestrations, and appears to have been that way since construction. The next bay has three sets of
windows, each in a four-over-two, metal hopper style. The windows have metal screens and brick sills.
There is a garage door opening in the next bay, with a modern, metal pull down gate. The next four
bays have metal hopper windows, matching the ones in the second bay. The fi rst metal hopper window
has a modern, metal pedestrian door below it. The two bays on the east end of the elevation have large
patches of brick that have been painted orange. There is a belt course that runs above the windows and
doors for the entire length of the building, and a corbeled brick cornice. Like the southeast elevation, the
parapet roof has a small pent eave covered with asphalt shingles.
The northwest elevation faces the back of the Federal Garage Building at 2106 California Street. In the
center of the elevation there is a large garage door opening that has been fi lled in with concrete block.
Two sets of windows fl ank the doorway on either side. Each set is comprised of three sections containing
six panes per window, in a four-over-two hopper style, for a total of number of eighteen panes per set.
There is a modern, metal pedestrian door under the windows on the north side of the elevation. The
lights in these windows have been replaced by a metal vent, covered by a metal screen. Utility equipment
has been mounted on the wall at this end. Under the next set of windows, large patches of brick have
been painted orange. The northeast elevation of the garage has no fenestrations at all and is clad with
The interior of the Federal Garage Building is a large rectangle with several offi ce and storage rooms in
the corners. A recently renovated offi ce space, restrooms and garage is located in the west corner. A
newer mechanical space has been installed adjacent to the non-historic garage and life safety upgrades
have been added throughout. The historic administrative rooms at the south and east corners are onestory
tall, triangular shaped, and have walls made of concrete block. Additional, non-historic storage
rooms extend along the walls from the south and east corners with gypsum board interior walls. The
fl oors in some of the non-historic rooms have been replaced with modern fl ooring and fl uorescent lighting
is throughout. All of the original windows have been covered over on the interior with gypsum board,
except for the north set of windows on the northwest elevation that are used for mechanical ventilation
and are covered by metal louvers.
2012 National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form: Federal Garage Building. Created for
the GSA, Rocky Mountain Region 8, Lakewood, CO.
The Federal Garage Building at Welton Street was constructed in 1947 as an expansion of the Federal Garage Building at 2106 California Street, owned by the Denver-Colorado Springs-Pueblo (Motorway). The Motorway was created in 1926 as a subsidiary bus company of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. The Railroad was established in 1870 by William Jackson Palmer, who wanted a means of connecting Denver with the resort town he had recently founded, Colorado Springs (Massengill 2004). For several decades, the railroad remained extremely successful. At the turn of the century, however, railroad companies were experiencing a decline in demand as trolleys, buses and automobiles were becoming a more popular method of transportation throughout the United States. The Welton Street Federal Garage Building played an important role in the development of transportation as it was used for bus storage and maintenance of the Denver-Colorado Springs-Pueblo (Motorway).
The Federal Garage Building is located at the corner of 21st and Welton Streets, in the Five Points neighborhood of Denver. This area was an important location for both Denver-Colorado Springs-Pueblo (Motorway) garages. In the 1880s, Five Points was a prosperous industrial and commercial center, with many transportation developments as well. Although it reminded many residents of the slums in the east, in 1881, the Five Points name came to be used because the signs on the front of the streetcars werent big enough to hold all of the street names (Mauck 2001:17). In 1871, the Denver Horse Railroad Company made its first connection to Five Points. By 1886, the city had over 150 miles of track for its first electric rail line, several running through Five Points, creating Denvers first street car suburb.
During the nineteenth century, this culturally and economically diverse neighborhood was a mix of European immigrants, recently freed African American slaves, and other United States residents who saw an opportunity for prosperity in gold and railroads out West. One important Five Points resident was Williams M. Hastings, a clerk for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (Mauck 2001:18).
In the years following the establishment of the Motorway, a significant number of bus routes were added. Although the motorway originally only extended as far south as Pueblo, the Southern Colorado Motorway was purchased in 1929, creating more routes from Pueblo to Walsenburg, Canyon City and La Junta. With this route structure, Motorway would operate into the late 50s when, due to the American Buslines drivers strike, American was put on notice by the Wyoming commission that unless they operated the certificates in Wyoming they would loose [sic] them and the routes were turned over [sic] to Motorway as their northern division (Hobijn n.d.).
Throughout the 1930s, the Denver-Colorado Springs-Pueblo (Motorway) continued to flourish. At first the bus operations served as branch line feeders to the railroad, but by 1935, Rio Grande Motorway duplicated the parent railroads rail service and served every sizeable city in Colorado and extending it westward to Salt Lake City, a route that was obtained when Southern Kansas Stage Lines sold its Pueblo-Grand Junction-Salt Lake City route to the Rio Grande (Hobijn n.d.). The Motorway became part of the Trailways Association in 1936, with Missouri Pacific and Western Pacific Railroads as shareholders in the company. Trailways National Bus System brought these independent motorcoach companies together as a strategically coordinated North American motorcoach scheduled route (intercity) passenger transport system (Trailways Transportation System 2011).
The DCSP Motorways first garage on California Street was expanded in 1938 when the company purchased lots 11 and 12 from Florence Dorman in 1938 (Denver County Deed Book 5199:277). By the 1940s, the Denver-Colorado Springs-Pueblo (Motorway) was transporting about 1500 passengers per day. Further expansion was inevitable. On November 1, 1940, the Motorway expanded their property again by purchasing adjacent lots 17-20 from Earl M. Howland for ten dollars and other valuables (Denver County Deed Book 5199:277). By March of the following year, the Denver-Colorado Springs-Pueblo (Motorway) obtained a permit to demolish a two-story brick dwelling (Building Permit No. 1339). On March 9, 1945 the Denver-Colorado Springs-Pueblo (Motorway) applied for a permit to build the garage at 2101 Welton Street (Building Permit No. 2296).
In 1948, Transcontinental Bus System purchased the bus operations of the Denver & Rio Grande
Western Railroad, which included an interest in the Denver-Colorado Springs-Pueblo (Motorway) (Linsky 2005). The remaining portion of the company was sold in 1960 to Continental Trailways. According to the Rocky Mountain News, Continental Trailways announced Thursday it had become full owner of the Denver- Colorado Springs-Pueblo (Motorway) and a majority stockholder in Denver-Salt Lake-Pacific Stages. Continental, officially Transcontinental Bus System, bought the remaining 50 percent of the stock of the D-CSP line from American Buslines, Inc. and acquired one-third of the stock of D-CS-P, officials said (Anonymous 1960).
The Federal Garage Building and its surrounding lots were sold to Four States Realty Co., Inc. in
November 1961 (Denver County Deed Book 5436:185). On October 20, 1967, Four States Realty Co. conveyed lots 11-20 to A. Bergman & Co., Inc. for ten dollars. A. Bergman & Co. owned the property for six days before selling it to its current owners, the United States of America. The company exchanged the property in Denver for property in Arapahoe County, Colorado (Denver County Deed Book 9802:620). In 2005, the garage was used by the FBI as a drive in/drive out crime laboratory. In 2010, the FBI released the space so it could be used as a leased build-to-suit facility.
The Federal Garage Building has had minor alterations since its original construction in 1947. Despite the changes that have been made, the historic integrity of the building remains. The garage is significant as it played an important role in the development of transportation in Colorado and other western states throughout the twentieth century.
1960 Continental Buys State Bus Line. Rocky Mountain News. May 27, 1960:66.
n.d. Jons Trailways History Corner. Accessed via the Internet on April 23, 2012 at
Denver Public Library
2012 Western History and Genealogy. Copyright Denver Public Library Online. Updated
April 30, 2012.
Linsky, Dennis M.
2005 Intercity Bus Notes Yahoo group forum for Friends of Kerrville Bus Company
Website. Posted June 12, 2005. Accessed via the Internet on December 6, 2011 at
Website Copyright Yahoo! Inc. 2012.
2004 Downtown Littleton Historical Landmarks. Accessed via the Internet on April 23, 2012
Mauck, Laura M.
2001 Five Points Neighborhood of Denver. Chicago, IL: Arcadia Publishing.
Sanborn Map Company
1943 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Denver, Colorado. New York: Sanborn Map Company.
Trailways Transportation System
2011 Trailways History. Accessed via the Internet on April 23, 2012 at
United States Geological Survey
1965 Englewood, CO Quadrangle. 7.5 minute series. Topography by photogrammetric methods from aerial photographs taken 1964. Field checked 1965. Denver, CO: United States Geological Survey.
1994 Commerce City, CO Quadrangle. 7.5 minute series. Compiled from aerial photographs taken 1964. Field checked 1965. Revised from aerial photographs taken in 1988 and other sources. Edited 1994. Denver, CO: United States Geological Survey.
2012 National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form: Federal Garage Building. Created for the GSA, Rocky Mountain Region 8, Lakewood, CO.