The Denver Broncos: Getting Back To Our Roots

Denver Broncos through the yearsIn 1959, Bob Howsam and Lamar Hunt met for the first time in the lobby of The Brown Palace Hotel to discuss the new football league that Hunt was forming.

It was here that Howsam agreed to own the Denver franchise in what would eventually become the American Football League. From only four franchises, the AFL grew to the point of merger with the NFL and the game football as it is known today. It was a royal beginning for the Denver Broncos!

Denver Broncos at The BrownAmong those who helped to lay the Broncos foundation include iconic ball players including Frank Bernardi, Chuck Gavin, Gene Mingo and Bob Stransky as well as assistant coach Dale Dodrill. So what does Gene Mingo remember most about his tenure with the Broncos? “The Broncos gave me my first chance,” he recalls in a past interview with The Denver Post. Mingo is responsible for the first punt return for a touchdown in the American Football League when he played for the Broncos in 1960. That same touchdown won the first-ever American Football League game, as the Broncos defeated the Boston Patriots (now the New England Patriots) 13-10.

This Sunday, January 19 at 1:00 p.m. MST, the Denver Broncos will once again face off against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.  Sunday’s game marks the fourth post-season match-up between New England and Denver since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

If Sunday’s game is the last primetime showdown between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, it will certainly be one to remember as these football powerhouses faceoff for the right to play in Super Bowl XLVIII.

A $2 Million Dream

History is something that The Brown Palace does not lack. After 4 years of construction, $1.6 million in design and $400,000 more in furnishings for the hotel, it is was and continues to be one of the most magnificent hotels in the world. In 1892 The Brown Palace was fitted with the following furnishings:

  • The furniture was solid white mahogany, antique oak, and cherry wood.
  • The chairs and sofas were covered in silk.
  • The carpets were Axminster, Wilton, and Brussels.
  • The curtains were made of Irish Point, Cluny, and Brussels.
  • The china consisted of Haviland, Limoges, and Royal Doulton.
  • The silver was Reed and Barton.

Each of the 400 rooms in The Brown boasted these furnishings and were evenly divided by price: 100 at $3 a night, 100 at $4 a night, 100 at $4.50 a night, and 100 at $5 a night. In each of these rooms guests were provided with their own fireplace and were given kindling and coal per request.

But the grand spectacle of The Brown Palace was the 300-mile panorama of the Rocky Mountains that awaited each guest who stepped foot into the 8th floor dining room. The room was two stories high, with stained glass in fruit designs above each window and onyx wainscoting.

This spectacular design was finished just in time for The Brown to host its first guests ever, the 25th Triennial Conclave of Knights Templar, on August 12, 1892. These guests were treated to a formal banquet which entailed a 7-course meal at $10 a plate and over 227 wines, mineral waters, and champagne.