History of the Tivoli

Historic photo of the Tivoli Brewery

The Brewery

Built in 1870 by German-born Mortz Sigi, the Tivoli Student Union was originally part of the Colorado Brewery. 

Changing with the Times

The Tivoli Student Union changed owners and names several times throughout the eighteen and nineteen hundreds, with architectural additions being made along the way. Sigi’s Brewery was founded in 1864. It was renamed the Tivoli Brewing Company after Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen in 1901 by John Good. The Tivoli Student Union remained a brewery until the 1960s.

Origin of the Name Tivoli

In 1901, the building became the Tivoli-Union brewery, named after the famous amusement park in Copenhagen.


During prohibition, the president of the company kept the brewery alive by manufacturing “Dash,” a cereal beer.

The End of a Brewery

The Tivoli-Union was producing 150,000 barrels of beer annually by the 1950s, but by 1966 it was shut down due to its failing business after a worker’s strike. The brewery closed in 1969 after the Platt River flooded it in 1965, shortly after the Occhaitio brothers purchased the facilities. 

Historic Status

In 1973 the Tivoli was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, guaranteeing the restoration and protection of the buildings and major brewing equipment.

How the Tivoli Became a Student Union

The Denver Urban Renewal Authority bought the dilapidated Tivoli with the help of federal funds and transferred ownership to the Auraria Higher Education Center.

When renovation became too costly, the state contracted private developers to restore the buildings of the Tivoli for commercial use. The buildings were brought together under a three-story atrium.        

In 1991, Auraria students voted to buy back and re-develop the Tivoli to use for educational purposes. It opened as the Tivoli Student Union in 1994.

Tivoli Today

The Tivoli re-opened as a student union/retail center in 1994 after a two-year renovation. It now serves as a defining hub of the campus.