National and State Register

Denver Tramway Powerhouse (REI - Recreational Equipment, Inc.)

Denver County

This prominent red brick building located at the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River is associated with the expansion and operation of Denver’s electric streetcar system.  The construction of the powerhouse during 1901-04 coincided with the transformation of Denver’s early streetcar network to an all electric system. 

A black and white photo of the building with a bridge on the left and the river in front.

Denver Tramway Powerhouse (REI - Recreational Equipment, Inc.) 

Following the completion of an addition in 1911, the powerhouse operated as the primary source of electricity for Denver’s streetcars until the end of the Denver Tramway Company’s streetcar service in 1950.  The brick pilaster construction and extensive sash infill of the original portion typifies early 20th century industrial architecture, while the 1911 addition reflects continued advances in structural design.  Its high interior spaces with steel roof trusses, the accommodation of traveling cranes in long narrow production bays, and the use of built-up steel framing all represent advances in industrial design and materials.