Place

Rossonian Hotel

corner entrance façade of a three-story store front building on the corner of an intersection
Rossonian Hotel

Photograph by Nancy Lyons, courtesy of Colorado State Historic Preservation Office

Quick Facts
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1995, The Rossonian Hotel was one of the most important jazz clubs between St. Louis and Los Angeles from the late 1930’s to the early 1960’s. Jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, George Shearing, and Dinah Washington stayed at the Rossonian Hotel and entertained at the Rossonian Lounge between major engagements in Denver or enroute to other cities. These major African American entertainers were denied lodging in most Denver hotels due to the racial segregation practices of the period. The Rossonian Hotel welcomed the entertainers who not only stayed in the hotel but performed in the main floor Rossonian Lounge. These shows were often staged after the performers finished their scheduled commitments at the same Denver hotels who were unwilling to offer them lodging. The Rossonian did not discriminate and welcomed a mixed clientele of music lovers who enjoyed popular jazz by black and white musicians in the same venue.

In addition to housing nationally recognized performers, the Rossonian building and site at the intersection of Welton, Washington, and 27th, was locally a physical, social, and commercial center of the Five Points community, the primary Black community of Denver since the 1920’s. Denver’s Five Points neighborhood is one of city’s oldest African American neighborhoods as the 1920’s saw a transition to a Black majority in the Five Points area which has continued to the present.

Between 1930-1950, a separate Black culture in Five Points coalesced, developing a strong sense of community and cultural identity, a largely self-contained community with services and commercial establishments catering to African Americans as well as other ethnic groups in the area. This culture centered along the neighborhood’s "Mainstreet" between 22nd and 29th Streets. As the jazz phenomenon of the late 1930’s spread in popularity across the county, the loose and rhythmic music was alive and bopping in Five Points-and the Rossonian was the place for jazz in Denver.

Link to Rossonian Hotel File

Last updated: August 10, 2021