Thomas Washington Bean was a pioneer businessman who was considered one of the most successful men in Denver.
Born in Louisville, Kentucky on December 17, 1885, Bean arrived in Denver in 1911, on the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. He found worked as a dining car steward and enjoyed living in the area so much, he decided to make it his permanent home. Bean would go on to accomplish a lot of “firsts” during his lifetime.
Bean was the first African American to operate a taxicab service in Denver and he was the first African American to serve on the Denver Board of Adjustment Zoning, from 1957 until 1980. Bean understood the housing needs of the Denver minority community, and this allowed him to successfully devote his life and work to providing homes and living accommodations for low-income families. He was a builder and manager of both the Hildreth Hotel, which he acquired at 21st and Arapahoe Streets, and renamed the Bean Hotel.
Bean personally developed and arranged to finance for African Americans to purchase or rent homes when available resources were non-existent for minorities during the time. The Bean Hotel provided a 30-room capacity. Thomas Washington Bean died on July 10, 1987.