The Beat Generation in the Mile High State
From the AllStateBlog – April, 2013
“Beat icon Jack Kerouac used the advance money from his novel “The Town and the City” to purchase a house at 6100 W. Center Ave. in Lakewood. The home was meant to serve as new headquarters for his Eastern-living family, whom Jack moved to Colorado. But one by one, his family grew wary of their new environment and left the state for greener pastures. Kerouac stayed on for a while, researching and working on his classic novel “On the Road” before finally packing up and leaving for California.”
“He may be most remembered for his poem “Howl,” which to many solidified his standing as the Beat generation’s poet laureate. He moved to the Queen City to pursue the affections of Denver’s Neal Cassady. During this time, he lived in the Colburn Hotel and spent many evenings with Cassady drinking at Charlie Brown’s (980 Grant St., Denver), the bar at the foot of the hotel.”
“My Brother’s Bar at 15th and Platte, the oldest bar in Denver to still be serving drinks and meals in its original location. There’s no signage, but you’ll see the “B” on the shutters. This was Neal’s favorite bar, and he once wrote a letter to the owner to pay his tab when he was serving time in juvenile hall for stealing cars. The original letter is on the wall; if you ask, you can get a copy to take home.”
Cassady and Kerouac at Sonny Larson Park
Sonny Lawson Park and Ball Field at 23rd and Welton, where Cassady played as a youngster. Kerouac also watched ballgames here, among “all humanity, the lot.”
Casino Cabaret – Cassady/Kerouac Hangout
Five Points, one of Denver’s oldest historic neighborhoods and the onetime heart of the city’s African American community, where legends such as Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Nat King Cole and Dizzy Gillespie once appeared. Celebrated sites include the former Rossonian Hotel at 27th and Welton and the still-grooving Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom at 2637 Welton Street. The ballroom is in the historic Casino Cabaret, an establishment that Kerouac and Cassady would have known well.
Bob Dylan at the Satire Lounge
(From Westword 2012)
“Did you know Bob Dylan once spent a summer in Denver as a then-unknown teenager with a fake accent, sleeping on a floors and gigging at the Satire Lounge? He was nineteen at the time. It was just a year after the young Robert Zimmerman adopted his iconic stage moniker and around the time he’d discovered folk music, Woody Guthrie and the travails and romance of hobo life. There was also the obvious Kerouac mystique. Dylan, enamored of this, yearned to shed his small-town Minnesota persona and embody a new one. What better way to do this than to hitchhike out West carrying only a guitar and a suitcase?
“If Dylan made any impression on the locals here, it was not an especially positive one. Folks were annoyed by his fake Oklahoma accent, and it’s more likely Conley took pity on Dylan than admired his performance. The fact that he had subscribed completely to the hobo aesthetic (this was before “shabby chic” entered the pop lexicon) probably didn’t help, either. Dylan played just a few gigs at the Satire, opening for the Smothers Brothers, before getting kicked out.
Central City – Gilded Garter
So he moved west. This time the singer played at a now-defunct bar in Central City called the Gilded Garter, a rough, shaggy venue where the locals mostly ignored him. He was in the West alright, and in a little Front Range mining town filled with the kind of rural folks Guthrie praised in song. But he was also broke, probably homesick, and having no success in Colorado.”
Joe Cocker – Crawford, Colorado
Joe Cocker – the British recording star – lived in the Western Slope Colorado town of Crawford (population 500) for nearly two decades right up until his death: “The idea was we were going to get just a summer, drop-out place on the West Slope. But we fell in love with it. I love the seasons. And I go walking with my dogs. I’m fishing in the summer. I grow tomatoes, which is a passion of mine,” Cocker said. “So I find plenty to do.”
Shown below is the “Mad Dog Mansion” on the “Mad Dog Ranch” in Crawford – It was originally listed at $7.5 Million which was lowered later on. Joe Cocker passed away on December 22nd, 2014 in Colorado from lung cancer.