2401 Welton St., Denver
HOURS: Mon.–Tues. noon–8 p.m., Wed. and Fri. 10 a.m.–6 p.m.,
Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
The Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library represents a lot of firsts for African Americans in Denver . The idea for a library focusing on all aspects of African American histories from Denver and beyond came from the city’s first black mayor, Wellington E. Webb, and his wife, Wilma Webb.
Opened in 2003, the library was intended to be part of a broad revitalization of the Five Points neighborhood and a gateway to the businesses on Welton Street. Five Points was historically a thriving African American neighborhood with great jazz clubs, soul food restaurants, and other businesses.
The library is named after Omar Blair, the first African American to head the Denver School Board, and Elvin Caldwell, Denver’s first black city councilman.
The 1st floor of the building is a typical lending library, but the 2nd and 3rd floors are more of a museum that tells of African Americans who came to the West and why, with artifacts on display. Visitors can sit in a replica barber shop and hear the story of how the shop’s owner and his family fled a life of slavery and ended up in Denver . Or hear the music that rocked Five Points in its heyday. The library also has rotating art exhibits by contemporary African American artists.