History of the Tivoli

The Brewery

The first of the 12 buildings of the Tivoli Student Union was originally the Colorado Brewery, built in 1870 by German-born Mortz Sigi. 

Changing with the Times

Although it remained a brewery until the 1960s, the complex changed owners (and names) several times throughout the eighteen and nineteen hundreds, with architectural additions being made along the way. 

Origin of the Name Tivoli

In 1901 the complex 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.

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.

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.