Postcard of Arapahoe Street between 16th and 15th Streets, 1911, featuring two spectacular (and now sadly demolished) Denver landmarks — the Post Office/Customs House building in front and the Mining Exchange in the back. Between is the headquarters of the H.H. Tammen Curio Company. Founded by Harry Heye Tammen in 1861, the company made postcards, Western souvenirs, and “Native American” art. As one biography of Tammen explains:
“His moccasins never came from the wigwams of aboriginal manufacturers, but were sewn and beaded by gentle old ladies of the city, who wished to earn pin-money.
“You might purchase War Cloud’s baby-bonnet for five dollars, or the pugnacious millinery of Sitting Bull for fifty dollars. He sold annually as many as eighty ‘authenticated scalps’ of foes slain by Geronimo—and goodness only knows how many times Geronimo’s own, personal scalp (concocted on the premises) was sold for a high figure.
“He sold authentic Navajo blankets that were actually manufactured out East and had schoolboys chipping arrowheads in the basement of his building. Tammen was quoted once saying, ‘Sometimes I am led to believe that our workmanship surpasses that of the Indians themselves.’”
In 1895, Tammen and his buddy Frederick Bonfils bought the Evening Post and turned it into the Denver Post. Denver had more than its share of papers at the time — some of them, like the Denver Express, little more than a daily collection of scandalous crime news and boxing scores — and Tammen and Bonfils quickly made the Post the most scandalous, vaguely factual paper of all. It wasn’t until Palmer Hoyt took over the Post in the 1940s that the newspaper actually became somewhat respectable.