Diner Now Urban Oasis and Car Repair Shop Turned Brewery Among Buildings to be Honored by Historic Denver

Tom’s Starlight's spaceship-style roof, considered one of the country’s best examples of Googie-style architecture, is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Historic Denver has announced the recipients of its 2023 annual awards given to projects and people preserving key buildings in Denver. Preservation award recipients include buildings that are not only historic, but also provide affordable housing, showcase adaptive reuse and/or have a presence that is distinctively Denver.

Historic Denver’s 53rd Annual Awards Dinner & Gala will be held Thursday, November 2, 2023, at The Brown Palace Hotel at 321 17th Street in downtown Denver. Historic Denver’s largest fundraiser of the year is one of a few events granted the rare privilege of taking over the grand Atrium Lobby during the event cocktail portion.

“Historic buildings are part of our cultural fabric,” said President & CEO John Deffenbaugh. “We advocate for the places that matter to Denverites and celebrate those who preserve them in a way that is compatible with growth, affordability, sustainability and inclusivity.”

St. Francis Warren Residences

These 48 dormitory-style units of affordable housing were created from the 1909 Warren United Methodist Church and built to serve extremely low-income individuals who earn at or below 30% AMI. They were designed by Shopworks Architecture and constructed by Taylor Kohrs for St. Francis Center, an organization providing permanent housing and other services to those experiencing homelessness across the Denver metropolitan area.

Tom’s Starlight  

After two decades of the all-night eatery Tom’s Diner, this 1967 former White Spot was reborn in 2022 as cocktail bar and lounge Tom’s Starlight. The building’s spaceship-style roof, considered one of the country’s best examples of Googie-style architecture, is now on the National Register of Historic Places and under easement from the Colorado Historical Foundation, which protects it against demolition in perpetuity. Among the most intact buildings on East Colfax, the reimagined Tom’s Starlight pays homage to the past. From the astroturf patio to the Tiki head sculptures and walnut-covered bar, 1960s Palm Springs vibes abound, while the modern contemporary style evokes a space remixed for the present and future.

York Street Yards 

York Street Yards is a 32-acre site located in the Clayton neighborhood in the former home of the historic Denver Medical Depot. Built in 1942 for the Army as a storage and distribution center for medical supplies during World War II, the nearly 500,000 square foot urban business campus now houses an electric car service center, e-bike retailer, and a brewery, among others. Developed by ScanlanKemperBard (SKB) with Tryba Architects and Hyder Construction, main components of the multi-year phased project include renovations of the red brick and timber buildings originally designed by Temple Hoyne Buell, new construction, and creating a “cut-through” in one of the buildings to link Denver Parks & Recreation’s 39th Avenue Greenway to the campus.

Raíces Brewing Company

A 6000-square-foot bow truss building that once housed a car repair facility was turned into an open concept taproom in Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood. Located on the 3.2 acre mixed-use STEAM on the Platte, Raíces, Spanish for “roots,” was created to provide a Latino-centered space in the craft brewing industry for those from across the Americas. Developed by Urban Ventures and White Construction (core and shell work), other partners include Built Construction (interior construction), Chord Design Studio (interior design), and Arete Inspired Architecture, which specializes in adaptive reuse spaces for craft alcohol and food and beverage manufacturing.

Historic Berkeley Regis

Historic Berkeley Regis formed in 2016 to focus on the historic assets located in the Berkeley Regis neighborhood of Northwest Denver. In February 2020, the group successfully found a preservation-minded buyer to purchase the Howard Berkeley Park Chapel and prevent its demolition. The historic chapel, designed by Denver architect J. Roger Musick, was designated a Denver landmark in July 2020.

2023 Historic Denver Individual Honorees

 Jerry Glick
Keystone Award – Jerry Glick

Jerry Glick first formed real-estate investment and development company Columbia Group in 1973. By the mid-1980s, he was working on adaptive reuse projects ranging from office space to affordable housing to some of Denver’s first lofts. Many recognizable projects bear his influence, including the Studebaker Building at 15th and Blake streets, Silver Square Lofts at 3377 Blake St., and the Rocky Mountain Seed Co. annex at 1321 15th St. He was a vocal supporter of the Lower Downtown Historic District at a time when many others didn’t initially understand the need for historic districts. A lifelong entrepreneur and philanthropist, Glick is active in both business and community organizations.

 Elbra M. Wedgeworth
Ann Love Award – Hon. Elbra M. Wedgeworth

With a career in public service spanning more than 30 years, the Honorable Elbra M. Wedgeworth held positions in all three branches of Denver’s city government — Auditor’s Office, Denver City Council, and Mayor’s Office — and at Denver Health and Hospital Authority, where she launched the Denver Health Foundation and spearheaded a bond initiative leading to the construction of the Denver Health Outpatient Medical Center. A lifetime advocate for historic buildings, Wedgeworth served nine terms as president and chair of the Denver Union Station Project Authority, which oversaw the $500 million Denver Union Station Project that included the adaptive re-use of Denver’s historic Union Station building.

 Gertie Grant
Molly Brown Award – Gertie Grant

After saving 50 unwanted trees and giving them to neighbors, Gertie Grant inadvertently launched what would become the Denver Digs Trees program from her garage in 1983. The tree distribution program later combined forces with The Park People, who offered to sponsor half the cost of the trees planted in the right of way. The program continued growing from there, thanks to bond initiatives and to Grant, who became the first Denver Digs Trees staff member in 1991. Thanks to Grant, Denver residents have now received more than 60,000 trees.

For tickets, visit Historic Denver Gala Tickets and for and sponsorship information, contact

Related Posts

Scroll to Top