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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Denver in Denver County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Barney Ford Building

1863

 

—Lower Downtown Walking Tour —

 
Barney Ford Building Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 27, 2018
1. Barney Ford Building Marker
Inscription.
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 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Denver, was the first African American to serve on a U.S. grand jury in Colorado and was nominated for the Territorial Legislature. In 1881 he was made a member of the
Barney Ford Building Marker (<i>tall view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 27, 2018
2. Barney Ford Building Marker (tall view)
Colorado Association of Pioneers. Barney Ford died in 1902 and is buried with his family at Riverside Memorial Cemetery in Denver.
 
Erected by Lower Downtown Historic District.
 
Location. 39° 44.985′ N, 104° 59.995′ W. Marker is in Denver, Colorado, in Denver County. Marker is on Blake Street. Touch for map. Marker is mounted at eye-level, directly on the subject building, just right of the entrance. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1514 Blake Street, Denver CO 80202, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Constitution Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); Clark and Gruber Mint (was about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line but has been reported missing. ); 15th / Wazee Street (about 500 feet away); Sugar Building 1906 (about 500 feet away); Henry Lee Building - 1907 (about 600 feet away); Larimer Street (about 600 feet away); Denver City (about 600 feet away); Spratlen-Anderson Building (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Denver.
 
Regarding Barney Ford Building. National Register of Historic Places (1976). Building currently houses a sushi restaurant.
 
Related markers. Click here
Barney Ford Building (<i>tall view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 27, 2018
3. Barney Ford Building (tall view)
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 fought for African American civil rights in his state. Ford played a significant role in the admission of Colorado to the Union as a
Barney Ford Building (<i>wide view; marker visible right of door</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 27, 2018
4. Barney Ford Building (wide view; marker visible right of door)
free state. A member of the Republican party, Ford was the first African American to be nominated to the Territorial Legislature. In 1865, Ford successfully lobbied the Federal government for black voting rights in Colorado, enlisting the support of Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts. (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.) 
 
Categories. Abolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansIndustry & Commerce
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 14, 2018. This page originally submitted on June 10, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 68 times since then. 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.
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