Elephant Corral, Denver, CO

While the origins of the name are murky, some people believe it comes from the old saying “Seeing the Elephant”, which was a gold rush slogan. Located in Lower Downtown (LoDo) Denver, this marker commemorates a hotel and stable for emigrant families and their animals (no elephants were recorded having been boarded here). It also functioned as a trading post, bar, stockyard and brothel.

People from around the world came to Denver trying to get rich off of gold, including people from the Northeast, Midwest and foreigners from around the world. And, these people needed a place to stay. The original proprietors were said to gather people up from the train station and bring them to the establishment.

Located in the Denver and Auraria settlement, the Elephant Corral was the largest building in the settlement at 32 feet wide and 100 feet long. Started by Charles Blake and Andrew Williams, they eventually sold it to Robert Teats, who made the property even larger and officially named it the Elephant Corral.

Historical Marker Text

Immediately north east of this point and covering much of Block 18 East Denver stood the famous Elephant Corral camp ground, immigrant headquarters and stock yards of pioneer Denver. Begun early in 1859 by Black & Williams with their Denver House, the first hotel in Denver City. Horace Greeley was a guest here and addressed the pioneers June 6, 1859. During the 1860s the corral was surrounded by an eight-foot wall having loopholes for Indian defense.

Location: 39.748597° N, 105.001822° W

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