Denver Double Takes

February 1997

From the 1858 Discovery of golD in Denver to the brink of the second millennium, the Mile-High City has certainly seen its fair share of change. No one has recorded Denver’s metamorphosis from fledgling frontier town to booming metropolis more poignantly than its photographers.

Joseph Collier, one of early Colorado’s best-known photographers, moved in 1871 from Aberdeen, Scotland to rough-and-tumble Central City. After six years of aiming his bulky camera at mining camps and pristine peaks, he traded those mountain scenes — many of which graced the first Colorado postcards sold in the East — for the street scenes of Denver. From his Larimer Street studio and his Grant Street home, he maintained a successful business until two years before his death in 1910.

Today, fifth-generation Denverite Grant Collier literally follows in his great-great-grandfather’s footsteps. Scouting all over the state for the exact frames his ancestor snapped years before, the 22-year-old has now reshot 30 of a planned 60 before-and-after scenes to publish in a future book documenting more than a century of change in Colorado.