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—Photograph by Raul J. Garcia

School Colors

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Face paint, foam-wrapped mascots, expletive-laced cheers—college football is underway, and so are the raucous displays of school pride we’ve come to expect every fall. But at the corner of Sherman Street and 17th Avenue downtown sits a quieter, more refined homage to higher education: the University Club of Denver’s College Room, which contains 115 stained-glass college seals donated by the private social club’s members throughout the past century. (If you don’t belong to the club, the only way to see the display up close is as the guest of a member.) The first three—Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, alma maters of some of the club’s founders—were installed in the elegant dining space, designed by early member and prolific Denver architect Temple Hoyne Buell, in 1923. Among our favorites: a University of Denver seal that is believed to have been created two years before the school developed an official version in 1925; a tribute to the Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Colorado State University); and a mysterious “College of Hard Knocks” emblem added in the late ’40s that features a black eye, a bulging bicep, a bloody nose, and a bit of Latin text. Loose translation: “Don’t let the bastards keep you down.” Maybe this hallowed hall has something in common with the tailgate lot after all.

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