Denver Vintage
Quad River News-Jan. 23, 1984
By Bill Gladstone

The picture for this column is an early day photograph of some of the business houses in Denver. The buildings were located on the north side of the square and at the west end of the block. The building in the background is the Christian Church.
For those of you who are keeping a collection of these pictures you can turn back to one of the pictures of the Commercial Hotel and see the drug store and the bank building at the left of the picture. This picture is of a little later vintage than the hotel pictures because in the hotel pictures the post office building has not been built, or at least it does not occupy the same site as in this picture.
The four persons shown in the picture are, from left to right, Dr. Pennywell, dentist; Tom Burns, druggist; Dr. Forbis, M.D.; and Ella Brown, postoffice clerk.
All of the evidence I seem to find indicates that Denver was the first town established in what is now Worth County. There is a short history of Denver in the GENTRY-WORTH COUNTY HISTORY 1882 which may be of some interest.
"Denver is located on the East Fork of Grant River, ten miles southeast of Grant City, and is the second town in size and importance in the county. It is surrounded by a fine country, with all of the natural advantages of water, timber, building stone, etc., and will have, at no distant day, railroad facilities, connecting it to the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific, at Albany, Gentry County, and a connection also with a branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, at Grant City, which will give it an outlet to the north, east, south and west."
(NOTE: The advent of the automobile some 20 years later sure played havoc with that dream. WGG)
"During the past two years a decided improvement has marked the history of the town. Many new and tasty buildings have been erected, and among these several frame business houses, which, for capacity and design, compare favorably with those of any town in the country. The town contains about 460 people. The original town was laid out about 1849, the business houses being built around a small square or park. Its founder was one William McKnight, who purchased the town sight from William Swaim, who, although he had built a small cabin, had make no entry on the land."
"The first business house, a general store, was erected and operated by Charles W. Mattox, who was not only the first merchant in the town, but was the first physician and the first postmaster."
"Samuel Pratt has the honor of teaching the first pioneer school."
"The first hotel stood on the ground now occupied by the Christian Church, Dr. Charles W. Mattox being the proprietor." (NOTE: Old Charlie must have been the mover and the shaker of early day Denver. WGG)
"The town has a newspaper, the Denver New Era, which was established March 11,1881, by M.F. Danford, who was formerly from Ohio to Missouri, but from Grant City to Denver. He at one time edited the Grant City Star. The New Era is a seven column folio, and is issued weekly."
"Denver was called Fairview until 1871. The post office was called Grant's Hill, but during that year the name of the town and postoffice were changed to Denver, at the suggestion of W.H. Campbell, the present circuit clerk of Worth County."