By Anne E. Silber
I was born in Denver in 1933, and by 1938 I was making trips downtown with my mother to Daniels & Fisher Department Store.
Every trip to Daniels & Fisher was exciting in those days. The store was not far from the notorious honky-tonk area, which was still infamous in the ‘30s. My father's business occupied the old Lincoln Ballroom on Larimer Street , formerly the most elegant dance hall of the 1880s.
Daniels & Fisher was a magical place with marble floors, decorative columns, beautiful chandeliers, and a clock tower with an elevator you could ride to the top to view the city from its dizzying height. When the store was built, the tower was the tallest west of the Mississippi.
The most impressive feature of the Daniels & Fisher store, though, was not the 20-story tower or its view of the distant mountains. From a child's perspective, those looked rather small. It was Carl Sandell, the doorman at D&F's entrance for more than 40 years, who made every child's eyes grow big. He was 7' 3" tall.
In his elegant uniform, Carl opened doors, assisted customers, and pointed out parking spaces at a time when automobile traffic was growing tremendously. After we parked, I would run ahead of mother to where Carl was standing, and tilt my head backward to look up into his face. He always had the kindest smile for children, and never failed to bend and shake a small hand, or even pick a child up.
The flavor of Denver in those days was definitely Old West. But Carl stood out as a symbol of gentility making inroads into our bustling city. He was a cherished part of Denver history, and I will never forget him.
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