History of Baur’s Restaurant
The story of Baur’s is one of innovation, invention, heritage and change…
Baur’s 1930The O. P. Baur Confectionary Company was founded in 1870 by German-born immigrant Otto Paul Baur. The Baur family originally settled in Pennsylvania, where Otto learned the confectionary business. In 1867 Otto found himself in Denver, where he went to work for the City Bakery, Denver’s first. He soon dreamed of owning his own business. After a number of failed attempts, in 1870 Otto opened a business in partnership with James Colwell. A bakery, confectionary and Denver’s first caterer, Colwell & Baur prospered. A few years later, Otto P. Baur became its sole owner.
By the 1890s Baur’s candies were known nationally and internationally. The company still did catering jobs too; it was a city favorite for both social and civic events. Baur’s even claims to have invented the ice cream soda—although most credit Philadelphia with popularizing the confection.
In 1891, Baur’s moved to 1512 Curtis, the spot most Coloradans fondly remember as the place for a fine treat after a day of shopping downtown. In 1918, fourteen years after Otto’s death, Baur’s expanded into the restaurant business. By 1924, Baur’s had fifteen departments and 250 employees. Still family owned, Baur’s offered fine sweets and meals—carrying on the tradition of valuing its customers, its employees and the community. The company delivered sweets to orphanages, hospitals and care homes at the holidays and served ice cream and cake in August to hundreds of children in need.
Baur’s CandyBaur’s thrived even through the Great Depression, reinventing itself and modernizing. It offered health care to its employees (a rare perk at the time), advertised on the radio and concocted new candies and marketing schemes. By the late 1940s Baur’s had four locations.
Good times were followed by challenging times, and the family sold the company in 1951 when expenses caught up with income. Baur’s stayed in business in Denver until 1970, when it closed its doors for good. Today, many recall Baur’s fondly and its legacy as a place “famous for good things to eat.”
Baur’s History was provided by Leigh Jeremias, Curator of Manuscripts and Special Collections and Alisa Zahller, Curator, Art & Design and Senior Curator for Artifacts at History Colorado. All images courtesy of History Colorado. To learn more about Baur’s, explore the History Colorado collection at h-co.org/collections or contact the History Colorado Research Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.