Denver in Denver County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Barney Ford Building
— Lower Downtown Walking Tour —
The significance of 1514 Blake St. lies in its connection to the remarkable life of black pioneer Barney Ford. Ford was born a slave on January 22, 1822 in Stafford, Virginia, but escaped to Chicago, where he worked with the underground railroad helping other slaves flee to freedom. It was in Chicago that he chose his name from a steam locomotive, the Launcelot Ford, becoming Barney Launcelot Ford. An active civil rights and civic leader, a prominent politician, and an ardent supporter for the admission of Colorado to the Union as a free state with suffrage for all men, Ford as also a brilliant businessman. This building is the site of Ford's first Denver restaurant, which he rented, then purchased from E. A. Rice for $673 on March 24, 1862. The original structure was destroyed in the great fire of 1863, which wiped out Denver's business district, but Ford borrowed $9,000 from the Kountze Brothers Bank (later the Colorado National Bank) and opened the People's Restaurant on August 16, 1863. Ford had a barber shop and hair salon in the basement and a saloon on the second floor. Ford also constructed and owned the Inter-Ocean Hotels
Erected by Lower Downtown Historic District.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans • Industry & Commerce.
Location. 39° 44.985′ N, 104° 59.995′ W. Marker is in Denver, Colorado, in Denver County. Marker is on Blake Street. Marker is mounted at eye-level, directly on the subject building, just right of the entrance. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1514 Blake Street, Denver CO 80202, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Constitution Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); 15th / Wazee Street (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sugar Building (about 500 feet away); Henry Lee Building (about 600 feet away); Denver City (about 600 feet away); Larimer Street (about 600 feet away); Spratlen-Anderson Building (about 700 feet away); The Edbrooke Lofts (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Denver.
Regarding Barney Ford Building.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Barney Lancelot Ford
Also see . . .
1. Barney Ford: Colorado Pioneer.
Barney was born in Virginia, the son of a white plantation owner and Phoebe, an enslaved worker. His mother made sure that he learned how to read and write, unusual for most people in those days, and extremely rare for slaves. It is said that the day after his mother’s funeral, he was sold off. Census records suggest that he spent time in both South Carolina and Georgia. His last slaveowner rented him out to a cotton boat, perhaps to be a cook or steward. In 1848, when the boat docked in Quincy, Illinois, Barney walked away, and with the help of the Underground Railroad, he went to Chicago. In 1860, Ford got the gold bug and headed west for Colorado, which was still part of the Kansas Territory. Ford’s gold plans fell through, and by the 1860 Census, he was in the new village of Denver, working as a barber. (Submitted on June 11, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Barney L. Ford Building.
The building at 1514 Blake Street was one of the earliest commercial successes for Barney L. Ford, a pivotal black leader in the early history of Colorado. Ford was a black pioneer, businessman, civic leader and politician who actively (Submitted on June 11, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. Barney Lancelot Ford (1822-1902) Pioneer. Activist. Agent of Change.
By the 1870's, Ford was worth over $250,000. He used his wealth to help African Americans. He gave money, food, and jobs to newly freed slaves. Although Barney Ford was wealthy, he fought for the rights of African Americans all of his life. In 1964, a hill in Breckenridge, Colorado was named the "Barney Ford Hill" in his honor. In 1973, a new Denver Public School building was named in honor of Barney L. Ford. Today a stained glass portrait of Barney L. Ford is on display in the Colorado State Capitol building in Denver. (Submitted on June 11, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 14, 2018. It was originally submitted on June 10, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 210 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on June 10, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 11, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.