In honor of Larimer Square’s Quinguagenary, we wanted to highlight two of the unusual folks that once called the area home, Count Henri Murat and his wife, Countess Katrina. They were wealthy immigrants who made an impact on the history of Denver. The Count’s family roots started in France and the Countess was born in Heidelsheim, which is located in Baden, Germany. She married twice and Henry was her second husband.
A small snippet about their lives was previously published in the Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine (Vol. 51, p. 83). It paints the Count as a flamboyant figure who went through his family’s money like most craft brew fans go through a pint. When he and the Countess traveled to Denver in the 1850s, they helped establish the El Dorado Hotel and a small barber shop. Historians say that they were the first businesses of their kind to become established in the area of Larimer Square.
According to the Palmer Lake Historical Society’s records, many famous figures from American History called on the Murats over the course of their business’ lifespan. Among them were former U.S. Vice-President Schuyler Colfax and Horace Greeley. The intriguing couple also reputedly had very good relations with the city’s common folk.
The Countess, by all historical accounts, was a resilient woman with a deep love for American patriotism. She outlived the Count and later worked with a Sioux Indian (Wapolah) to create the area’s first, patriotic flag. The DAR historians claim that it was made from a French petticoat belonging to Mrs. Murat and muslin purchased in Denver.
Over the years, others have claimed that the flag was made from the woman’s underwear. Nonetheless, the flag and the woman who helped make it remain a vital part of Downtown Denver’s history. As for the Countess, she passed away in 1910. Both she and her husband were eventually buried in Riverside Cemetery, where they obviously remain.
To learn more about the people who helped make the history of Denver so unforgettable, please contact us for a Denver Microbrew Tour. We’ll show you were the El Dorado Hotel’s patrons likely drank in Larimer Square before heading back to their rooms for the night.