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Denver Walking Tour: Downtown History and Architecture
Item 11 of 19

The Miller Building at 1401 Larimer, once was home to Gahan’s Saloon. Gahan's Saloon was a legendary watering hole and poker hall for politicians, policemen and city hall reporters. In 1916, when Colorado passed prohibition, Gahan’s became Gahan’s “Soft Drink Parlor.” The name was a cover for the speakeasy operating out of the basement. Now, it is the location for Ted's Montana Grill. The Montana restaurant chain is a for-profit endeavor that allocates funds to prevent the extinction of bison.

  • The Miller Building

The Miller Building sits at the corner of 14th and Larimer. It is a surviving second-generation building. Much of the area was destroyed in a fire in 1863. Currently it houses Ted’s Montana Grill, however it was home to a successful speakeasy during prohibition.

The current building was constructed in 1889. It is located in the historic Larimer Square, the area which is the site of the first settlement of Denver. In 1863, there was a great fire in the square. Many of the original structures were made of wood. This spurred a mandate that all buildings be constructed of stone afterwards. The building touts a late Victorian style with red brick.

Gahan’s Saloon operated here until 1936. Irish immigrant and Denver Councilman, William Gahan owned the saloon. He also ran a saloon on 39th & High St. In the early 1900s, the Irish population owned 10% of the bars in Denver. Irish influence in the political and policing sectors helped saloons thrive. It also helped that Gahan’s was located across from the old City Hall. Many politicians, social, and business leaders frequented there. In 1913, William Gahan passed, and left the saloon to his son.

In 1916, the saloon changed names to Gahan’s Soft Drink Parlor. The name was changed due to the prohibition going into effect in Colorado on New Year's Day that year. However, the saloon soda fountain maintained a basement speakeasy. Gahan's became the most notorious speakeasy in Denver, where even the civil servants of the town went without ratting on the establishments secret business. Gahan’s survived prohibition, while 400 other Denver establishments closed. This was due in large part to political sway due to those high profile customers Gahan's received.

The current occupant of the location, Ted's Montana's Grill, is part of a restaurant chain with a cause and goal or preserving 19th century saloon lifestyle. They also have a commitment to sustainability and enviromentally friendly products and men options.

Larimer Street #13, Miller Building & Euclid Hall, Denver History Blog. November 20th 2017. Accessed July 22nd 2020.

Larimer Square Historic Walk Tour, Larimer Square. Accessed July 22nd 2020.

Larimer Square Historic District, History of Colorado. Accessed July 25th 2020.

Our Story, Ted's Montana Grill. Accessed December 3rd 2020.

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