Denver Promises New High As IAFC Conference City

Denver Promises New High As IAFC Conference City

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Mile-high Denver looks like this from an even higher altitude. Long dark building at left center is the Currigan Exhibition Center where IAFC Annual Conference will be held.

photo Courtesy Convention and Visitors Bureau of Denver & Colorado.

Mile-high Denver, one of America’s unique cities, will provide the setting for the 104th conference of the International Association of Fire Chiefs which will be held from September 25 to 29. Chief Myrle K. Wise, who is also president of the IAFC, will be the host chief and promises an outstanding conference for all who visit his favorite city.

Denver was founded by a handful of gold-seekers in 1858, nourished to maturity by a rapidly growing Rocky Mountain empire, and is today a fivecounty metropolitan area of more than 1,100,000 population. Her history is rich in fact and folklore shaped by a cast of colorful characters whose names include “Buffalo Bill” Cody, “Baby Doe” Tabor, and the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown.

Following a wild and raucous beginning where her livelihood was based on a “strike-it-rich-or-bust” economy, Denver is now the market center of the Rocky Mountain region. It is also the capital city of Colorado.

The 13th step on the west side of the capitol is marked by a plaque exactly one mile (5280 feet) above sea level. Known as the “Mile High City,” her rarified air and low humidity combine to give the city a unique climate. The sun shines in Denver an average of 310 days a year. Summers are warm and balmy, while infrequent winter snows melt quickly under the warm sun. Golf and tennis are year-round sports even in the dead of winter when ski buffs are enjoying Colorado’s famous powder snow a short 60 miles away.

IAFC conference and exhibits will be in the Currigan Exhibition Center.

The front range of the Colorado Rockies is a 30-minute drive from downtown Denver. Hunting, fishing, hiking and camping are but a few of the activities to explore. Denverites are proud of a city-owned mountain parks system covering 20,000 acres of scenic grandeur. This gigantic playground includes a score of developed picnic areas, Buffalo Bill’s grave and museum on Lookout Mountain; the Red Rocks Theatre, celebrated natural open-air theater that seats 10,000 persons; Echo Lake, located on North America’s highest mountain road to lofty Mount Evans, and if you look closely, you are likely to see a herd of buffalo from time to time grazing near the roadside in Genesee Park.

Denver is a clean city. Residential areas are well-spaced and beautifully landscaped. There are more than 100 named parks in the metropolitan area and 26 miles of parkways within the city limits.

The State Capitol and Denver’s City Hall face each other across the Civic Center, a three-block green mall rich in tradition. Here a study of the city produces a unique contrast where the best and most colorful of the old has been carefully preserved to blend with the sophistication of the 20th century. The dome atop the State Capitol is coated with gold leaf, a tribute to past mining glories. On a perimeter surrounding the capitol is the Colorado State Museum, a one-million volume public library, a new $5.5 million art museum, and the United States Mint.

Old town restored

Downtown Denver, her gleaming new skyscrapers framed against the Colorado Rockies, is a careful blend of western conservatism and 20th century reality. A new convention hall which will hold the conference and exhibits and Denver’s tallest building (Brooks Towers) were completed in 1969 in the lower and older section of downtown. Here at the heart of the city’s beginning on Larimer Street, Denver’s first, is a private urban renewal project that has caught the fancy of Denverites and visitors alike. Larimer Square encompasses Larimer Street from 14th to 15th Streets. Most of the buildings have been restored to their original state, and now a fascinating lot of interesting shops, restaurants and night spots intermingle among courtyards and gaslights.

Conference hosts are Denver Chief Myrle Wise and Mrs. Wise. It is the first time that the host chief also will preside over the conference as the IAFC president

Denver Fire Department photo.

Cowboy and Indian statues dominate the foreground in this photo of the Colorado State Capitol, which is in the downtown section of Denver

Photo Courtesy Convention and Visitors Bureau of Denver & Colorado.

The Mile High City prides itself on a well-rounded cultural program. The Denver Symphony offers weekly concerts. Bonfils Civic Theatre and several new professional and semiprofessional groups are active with exciting and varied fare. Meanwhile, a half-dozen major entrepreneurs keep Denver’s City Auditorium Theatre alive with a variety of Broadway musicals and productions.

Wide range of restaurants

A night on the town in Denver can be exciting and need not be expensive. Most restaurants serve Colorado steaks, prime beef, and of course, fresh Rocky Mountain trout. There are specialty houses featuring all the popular foreign dishes. The decor ranges from the Old West to a foothills setting looking out at the vast panorama of the Continental Divide. Entertainment is keyed to the lively set and, because of the short driving distances from one end of town to the other, many places can be visited in an evening.

Denver is a town where sport, both spectator or participant, reigns supreme. Once one is acclimated, the clear milehigh air encourages activity and one finds a new zest for life.

A sightseer’s delight

Denver’s location is the central fact of its life and character. The city is nestled at the foot of the majestic front range of the Rocky Mountains and more than anything else, it serves as the gateway to adventure in this beautiful vacationland.

A number of one-day trips into and along the mountains lend themselves to the city. No trip to Denver would be complete without seeing the U. S. Air Force Academy, already the state’s number one attraction. The academy is located between Denver and Colorado Springs and a trip there leaves plenty of time to travel to the summit of Pikes Peak, see the beautiful Garden of the Gods, and visit the many attractions in the area.

For unsurpassed scenery and panorama, a trip to Estes Park, through Rocky Mountain National Park and back to Denver via Berthoud Pass is a must. The trip covers 215 miles and crosses the Continental Divide over Trail Ridge Road, an 11-mile stretch above timberline (11,000 feet).

Central City, where gold was first discovered in Colorado, and a trip to Mount Evans (14,260 feet) on the world’s highest auto highway is a third suggested tour. Historic Central City was once known as “the richest square mile on earth.” Each summer the elegant old opera house comes to life for a season of opera featuring internationally known artists.

At the time of this writing, the program hasn’t been firmed up. But Chief Wise has prepared a present-from-the-president for the ladies. The present is a continuing trip in a double-decker bus that will stop at points of interest in Denver, including the U. S. Mint, the art museum and the home of the Unsinkable Molly Brown. Ladies can stop off where they want, stay as long as they want and pick up the bus whenever they want. The tour will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Evelyn Wise will host a unique punch and cookies reception for the ladies at the headquarters hotel on Sunday, September 25.

What to wear

Fall days in Denver can be delightfully warm and sunny. Basic wardrobe items should include lightweight woolen or knitted dresses, sweaters and skirts, a suit and a topcoat. For a stay in the mountains, heavier clothing is in order. The wise traveler will carry a warm jacket, ski pants or jeans, sweaters, woolen socks and gloves and sturdy boots.

How to get there

Travelers to Denver can take their choice—air, train or auto. If they choose to fly, there is an airline serving Stapleton International Airport (a short haul from downtown Denver) from practically all points on the compass— lines that include TWA, American, United, Continental, Texas International, Braniff, Frontier and Western. Amtrak has trains running from coast to coast through Denver, but arrangements must be made “as far in advance as possible.” For drivers, Interstate 25 and 70 cut through the center of Denver.

The IAFC expects a heavy registration for this 104th conference. Those who haven’t already made reservations had better do it now. There are only some 3000 rooms committed to the IAFC and the choice hotels are going fast.

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