When we moved Amélie Company into our new space at 2601 Blake Street in 2009, we knew the building harbored a special energy. The enthusiasm level of our team went through the roof, our clients ooohed and aaahed and prospects were duly impressed. Originally built in 1910 as a paint and varnish manufacturing plant, the building had also served as a chocolate factory and catering kitchen over the years. After a complete remodel – getting “down to the studs,” removing layers of grease and grime, cinder blocks from the grand windows – we came to know the bones of this place and appreciate the bold, solid and swell, red brick.
And it piqued our curiosity. Who was here before us? What did it look like in the early 20th century? We went about digging up old archives, visiting the Denver Public Library’s Western History & Genealogy department and getting the building listed on the Historical register. Ultimately, we discovered that it was originally the Joseph A. McMurtry building, and that it used to look like this:
Then, just the other day, I stumbled upon this article. Seeing the author’s name and Colorado connection, I shot out an email to see if there was any relation. Sure enough! Jeannette’s husband is the grandson of the building’s original namesake. But the parallels did not stop there: Jeanette works in advertising and speaks specifically about “behavior marketing;” we discovered we have friends in common; and we’ll be skiing the same slopes in the very near future. Below: me and Jeannette McMurtry.
This photo is my favorite: it shows the paint and varnish mixers in the exact same space where our team is set up today. The parallel between the work they did then and the work we’re doing now is extraordinary. Pouring over colors, commercial art, mixed media. It all seemed like a wonderful coincidence or an inevitable course set by history.