The History of The Denver Press Club
The Denver Press Club is one of the oldest clubs of its type in the United States. The club was founded in 1884 and has been in continuous operation since 1905. The first official Denver Press Club meeting was held in 1884, when 40 newspaper men held an organizational meeting at the old St. James Hotel on Curtis Street. In June of 1905 a group of enthusiastic journalists met at another hotel, The Albany, to resuscitate the Denver Press Club, and it has been in operation ever since.
Today, the club's 450 members represent print and broadcast media, advertising and public relations, and an assortment of other professions. The club has a packed calendar of social, educational and charitable events ranging from press conferences and seminars to our annual Clam Bake.
The highlight of the club's calendar is the Damon Runyon Award, presented to a person or persons whose career has embodied the style and verve of the legendary DPC alumnus. Proceeds from the event benefit the club's scholarship fund and building maintenance.
Rich in history and tradition, club members have included the likes of Runyon, Eugene Field, Gene Fowler, Frederick G. Bonfils, Palmer Hoyt, Lowell Thomas, William Barrett, Burns Mantle, H. Allen Smith, Lee Taylor Casey, Paul Conrad, Pat Oliphant, Thomas Hornsby Ferril, Carl Akers, Starr Yelland, Stormy Rottman, Greg Lopez, Bob Palmer, Gene Amole, Sam Lusky, and Don Kinney. The club has played host to poets, presidents, writers, celebrities and visiting journalists. Ginger Rogers learned to play poker here. Carl Sandburg stopped in for dinner. Woodrow Wilson paid a call.
The club building was designed by architects Merrill H. Hoyt and Burnham Hoyt, the latter of whom also designed the Denver Public Library and Red Rocks Amphitheater. The structure was built in 1925 by Francis Kirchof for $50,000. In 1986, the club building was honored by receiving recognition as a historic landmark by the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission.
One of the few Press Clubs that maintains its own building, the structure has excellent facilities for serving both its members and the community at large. In addition to complete meal and bar service on its main level, the club offers a large meeting and banquet facility on the second floor. The basement contains a billiards room that attracts many an animated match, and a card room where regular poker games have been held since the day the club opened. The card room is named for the late Herndon Davis, a Colorado artist and Press Club regular best remembered for his internationally-known painting of "The Face On The Bar Room Floor" at the Teller House in Central City. The room is dominated by a Davis mural produced in 1945 which depicts an allegorical Denver newsroom in which the best-known newspaper men and women of the time are pictured plying their trade. The two side wings of the mural have portraits of other well-known personalities who were local newsmakers of that era.
There is a legend that when the club moved to its current Glenarm Place location, four determined poker players, refusing to interrupt their game, were placed in the moving van along with the furniture.