Moffat Station Evolution

Moffatt Station

We’re all familiar with Union Station and its resurgence to the forefront of Denver’s urban lifestyle. Union Station is the darling of LoDo and one of the city’s most iconic landmarks which has been transformed from a sleepy reception hall to an incredible tapestry of restaurants, nightlife and people watching.

What many fail to realize is that Riverfront is home to a special piece of railroad history, as well. Moffat Station, now an integral part of the Balfour Senior Living Community, was the physical representation of perseverance and determination of one man that was echoed by an entire community during Denver’s infancy.

In 1862, the United States passed the Pacific Railroad Acts, a series of land grants and government bonds issued to railroad companies designed to stimulate the expansion of the transcontinental railroad across the United States. While Denverites and local businessman were keen on increasing the economic vitality of Denver, the Rocky Mountains proved a formidable opponent to the city’s growth. Treacherous mountain passes and harsh winters made travel difficult thus resulting in the decision of many railroad companies, including Union Pacific, to opt for a safer route through Cheyenne. 

Through the unwavering fortitude of Denver’s prominent politicians and businessmen, Denver succeeded in constructing a rail line connecting Kansas (Kansas Pacific Line) to Cheyenne (Denver Pacific Line) via the city solidifying Denver’s placement along the nation’s busiest trade routes which proved instrumental in further bolstering the city during the silver boom.

David Moffat, a local businessman and financier who was influential in securing Denver’s future with the construction of the Denver Pacific Line, endeavored to construct another rail line that would connect Salt Lake City with Denver. In 1902, along with financial support of additional investors, Moffat began constructing the Denver, Northwestern and Pacific Railway. Having been priced out of Union Station, Moffat hired local architect, Edwin Moorman to create a new reception terminal for his latest project.

Completed in the summer of 1906, Moffat Station was the central hub for the Moffat Line and remained so until 1947 when The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad company purchased the railway and the station. While Moffat’s dream of connecting Salt Lake City to Denver were never realized, his pioneering attitude and unequivocal vision is embodied in the magnificent Georgian Revival architectural style.

Today, the luxurious Balfour Senior Living Community envelops the former Moffat Station which underwent a one-million dollar renovation issuing new purpose to the former transportation depot. Moffat Station is an integral component to the Balfour Community and projects a sense of irony and tradition inherent to Denver’s citizens. Who would’ve thought opening a rival train depot to combat Union Station was a good idea, but then again, a senior living community in downtown Denver? I think both ideas are brilliant and I love that they are right at home in Riverfront Park.

What do you think?

Adam Moore

Mile Hi Modern
LIV | Sotheby’s International Realty
Mobile: 303.956.8069
255 Clayton Street, Unit 100
Denver, CO 80206

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