Tramway Building and the Denver Tramway Strike of 1920
This eight-story building was completed in 1911 for the Denver Tramway Company. Now home to a boutique hotel, the building once stood in the center of one of Colorado's most significant labor conflicts. The building still bears the scars of that conflict in the form of bullet holes fired by participants and police in the 1920 Tramway Strike.
Backstory and Context
Within days, the strikebreakers and armed guards hired by company officials clashed with striking workers. The violence escalated quickly, leading to the death of seven men and severe injuries for another fifty. In response, the mayor and governor placed the city of Denver under military control. Two hundred and fifty soldiers occupied the city while the Tramway company replaced almost two-thirds of their workforce with strikebreakers. The company was aided by city leaders and a press that generally favored the company over the unionized workers, as well as a public that feared a union victory might lead to higher streetcar fares.
Neither the union nor the original Tramway company survived the strike, although the company was able to recover following bankruptcy proceedings that included the decision of city leaders to permit fare increases.