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Identifier: WH19

Scope and Contents

Twenty-three small, leather-bound pocket diaries comprise the collection, which spans 1859 to 1883. The bulk of Baker's diaries contain entries made during a single calendar year. However, in several instances, Baker made diary entries for the same period of time in two different diaries. For example, entries for January and February 1871 appear both at the end of the 1870 diary and the beginning of the 1871 diary. These entries, while not exact duplicates, are very similar.

All diary entries are extremely brief, though Baker's later diaries tend to contain somewhat more detail than his earlier diaries. Diaries include financial notes relating to expenses, cash payments made, cash on hand, sales and payments received. Numerous scribbled mathematical calculations appear throughout the diaries. Additional diary entries note weather conditions, crops, planting dates and commodity prices. Limited entries reflect Baker's travels, illnesses, and contemporary events. A diary entry made in November 1864, for example, includes a brief mention of the "Indian battle" at Sand Creek.


  • April 1, 1859 - January 3, 1884


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.

Biographical / Historical

Addison Baker was born in Pompey, New York (near Rochester), March 24, 1818. He married his first cousin, Charlotte Baker (b. 1821, New York). The family moved to Racine, Wisconsin in about 1850. In 1853 Baker built the Baker House Hotel at 423 Main street. (The hotel later became the Merchant's Hotel, which was razed in 1924.)

In 1859, Baker sold his hotel, and the family moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where they lived for about a year. Traveling in two wagons, the Baker family departed Omaha on February 22, 1860 and arrived in Denver on March 15, 1860. Baker settled on land near what is now the interchange between Colfax Avenue and Interstate 25. John C. Fremont, Kit Carson and other pioneers and scouts had previously camped at the site. Eventually, Baker homesteaded and began farming 160 acres between the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. When this land was found to be within the city limits of Denver, Baker was forced into a prolonged legal battle with the city in order to validate his claim. Senator James R. Doolittle (Racine, Wisconsin) assisted Baker before the Government Land Office at Washington. Baker's farm, known locally as "Baker's Springs" provided Denver's first water supply. (On April 30, 1932, the Daughters of the American Revolution's Peace Pipe Chapter placed a bronze tablet on the 14th Street viaduct at the mouth of Cherry Creek to commemorate this fact.)

In addition to farming, Baker raised and loved horses. Denver's Daily News of Tuesday, June 15, 1880 reported that: "The stable belonging to Mr. Addison Baker was entered by horse thieves on Sunday night, and a very valuable horse stolen. The animal was branded with a letter "R" on the left shoulder. Mr. Baker has offered a reward of $50 for the horse, $100 for the horse and thief, and $200 for the dead body of the thief."

Following Addison Baker's death in Denver on January 20, 1884, his family placed a large statue of his favorite horse, a white stallion named Frank, on his grave, which is located in Denver's Riverside Cemetery. Over the years, this horse statue has often been mistakenly associated with Baker's son Nathan Addison Baker. However, Nathan A. Baker is buried at Denver's Fairmont Cemetery. Surviving probate records indicate that Baker had become a moderately wealthy man, who left a substantial estate to his heirs.


1 box ; .5 linear feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Fred Rosenstock, 1960.


The Western History/Genealogy Department has additional material related to Addison Baker including his son's personal papers :

Nathan A. Baker Papers WH20


Dennis Hagen

January 2009


Ellen Zazzarino

January 2009
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Repository

10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy
Denver CO 80204 United States