Gates Rubber Company - Demolition Diary part 3

November 28, 2013

This would be my third stop by Gates for demolition photos, after the initial walk around. 

Those stories can be found here:

Early this cold morning, I approached Gates from the west on Mississippi Avenue. The front office part of the factory has been significantly cut down in the week since I was last here.

I took my usual parking spot at the US Bank, on the southeast corner of Broadway and Mississippi, and walked to the corner.

Construction of the apartments across Broadway from Gates, continued behind a short chain link fence. Not covered by a black tarp, like the one across the street. 

Just inside the fence bordering the Gates property, I took a picture of the sign posted to create awareness of the massive demolition project fully underway. 

Walking north on Broadway, holding the camera over the wrapped up fence, I was able to snap some decent shots in the early morning light. Crews were working seven days a week to tear down the sprawling factory, but they hadn’t started work yet this morning.

Same picture from a few paces ahead. No shovel, but tree branch interference. The sun had risen over the horizon, casting a brighter yellow light on the roof structure. Even though this picture was taken less than a minute after the last one. 

With the outside walls fully peeled off, I was able to get a good look inside parts of Gates for the first time. 

Amongst the exposed would be this large set of cabinets and drawers (with the drawers and cabinet doors removed) on the second floor. I decided this was the Gates snack bar, with a depleted self-service counter. There's no way I could be wrong!

The room behind it has some weird green sign spray painted on the wall...


Gates is not great?

Granted it doesn't look so great right now.

Let's zoom back out.

The room next door to the Gates snack bar, contains this lonely left behind chair. With a pile of stuff on the seat.

Zooming out for some more perspective as to that chair's location. 

Rare vertical, but equally lazy, quick panoramic shot of this part of the front office structure.

A gap in the rubble allows a look into the first floor of the building. Not enough identifying features are left to really understand what went on in this part of the offices.

Looking slightly right of the last picture, still on the first floor. 

The destruction of the Gates buildings caused some of the trash, previously locked inside for decades, to fall out of the building. Winds in the area carried some of these lost papers out to the sidewalk, where I viewed them as free game. Anything Gates offered up in exchange for documenting it's demise, was kept for future use. Like in this story, in this format. Which I'd never imagined I'd do when I picked it up.

The first free Gates souvenir was found today:

A single page of a memo dated March 23, 1983, regarding Gates South Africa and the J-V Project. 

Doesn't mean a whole lot to me, but the fact that it had been tucked inside of Gates for over 30 years before blowing out to the street, and me, is pretty cool...

Wish they'd trim the hanging roof so I could get a better view of the fourth floor...

Behind the now cleared out structure is some of the older factory. Once again viewable from Broadway. Remaining hidden for so long, it's nice to see a lot of the windows still intact.

Shovels are not yet working this morning. Their movement has pulverized the red brick that wasn't picked up initially. Leaving a red powder around the pieces of steel that last held the offices together.

Third and fourth floors, with the structure on the roof.

I was able to shoot that picture from this angle because the security fence jutted into the Gates property at the front driveway. This would allow me to get fairly close to the next part of the factory to come falling down.

A Gates gate was closed at the driveway entrance, which was a short extension of Tennessee Avenue, crossing Broadway. 

Closer look at the broken windows on the second and third levels.

The other side of the driveway entrance. With more Gates and the power plant building on the north side of the property, behind the "Rules for Entry."

No music?

The north end of Gates, with the RTD light rail parking lot extension, in front.

Walking north up Broadway, there's a bus stop with a couple of sad, sinking benches, amongst cracked pavement and patchy vegetation. 

I wouldn't be surprised if this space didn't look pretty good, back when Gates was maintaining it.

Better shot of the north end of Gates and the RTD parking lot. Once used for rubbermakers, now it's used when an excess of people who need to ride this...

Hmmm... This gives me an idea!

Since the next phase of demolition is likely going to be in this area, and there's no barrier blocking access to the overflow lot, I could drive up and park right next to the building!

I will be doing this next week!

Really like this picture.

Ventilation shaft in the northwest corner of the bus stop. I'm assuming this was part of the Gates tunnel system that ran throughout the property. Also rumored to be tied to a network of tunnels leading up to lower downtown in Denver.

Some more of those great Gates landscaping brick half walls.

Southbound Broadway traffic can proceed!

Cool, I'm headed to my car, another block from here. Time to go do something else!

Flyer for Wu Year's Eve, attached to the electrical box at Broadway and Tennessee.

Denver's seal, at the top of the heavily vandalized kiosk that I took a picture of the week before. I'm glad this one turned out.

Hey, there's that chair!

Nice look inside at ground level.

And a great shot of the office building, and it's position against the main behind it.

Brought to you by the fine folks at:

Wish I could have zoomed out a little more, in order to get the whole logo on the shovel. The problem was, I either had to hold the camera over the covered chain link fence, or find a gap in the covering, to aim the camera through. Both answers were accomplished limitations on visibility. The reason I had to take thousands of pictures in order to do this project was because I got so many that were unusable...

My favorite block of windows at Gates...

Bye Gates! See you next weekend!


Three weeks in, I was enjoying how the Gates photography mission was going. Driving up there for pictures was particularly inspiring to me. Leading me to reflect on where I was with Wasted Quarter. 

In October 2013, I released Wasted Quarter #68: 20 Wasted Years! Summing up how Wasted Quarter evolved from a single sided xeroxed stack of paper zine, to a series of 80-100 page, saddle-stitched books, from October 1993 to October 2013. In later issues, the ones I liked the most featured stories written from a series of photographs. Those were the most fun to write. 

So I focused on collecting better source material to tell the stories I wanted to tell. It renewed interest in writing the Crapids issue of Wasted Quarter. (Which was only temporary.) But it lead to the Abandoned Englewood project, which was a great deal of fun to write, but a failure in execution.

Back in Englewood, I felt the need to drive by my old apartments at Kenyon.

Wasted Quarter issues 27 through 55 were written here, between October 1996 and October 2003.

This is important and relevant to taking pictures of Gates project, because it causes a second photo project...

The night before, Englewood High School closed it's doors to the public, with a rummage sale of fixtures and leftovers. This would give anyone who wanted to see it, a final chance to walk through the building. 

Like a moron, I knew about it and passed.

Demolition of Englewood High School would begin that Monday morning. I would document the demolition, just as I was that of Gates. And Flood Middle School as well! (My Flood Middle School story can be found here. Part One and Part Two.)

Now I'm building a library of material to draw stories from!

That don't work in my current printed format... Take them online!

While it it may have inadvertently ended Wasted Quarter, the idea behind Gates caused this blog.

And to tie all of this right back into today, while digging through the ashes of the house fire, my mom found this:

My old digital camera! Only a little melted!

This camera was used for a few issues of Wasted Quarter and some of the photos that appeared in stories here. Including some pictures of Gates were taken with this camera.

And now I have some cards to go look at...


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