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China Place Restaurant (Valentine Diner)
Delivered already assembled by a manufacturer in Wichita, Kansas, this tiny, enameled steel diner served hamburgers before sundown on the day it was installed. The fare changed in 1978, when Mr. and Mrs. Albert Chan renamed the diner, but the original logo, a heart pierced by an arrow, can still be found just inside the door.
The diner epitomizes East Colfax Avenue, which calls itself “America's Longest Main Street.” The venerable and varied commercial strip, faded since its glory days as U.S. 40, is the metropolitan area's principal east–west artery and Aurora's first main street. In Aurora, buildings on East Colfax include Denver's oldest country and western nightclub, The Zanza Bar, and the adjacent Cactus Motel. The two-story Victorian brick Cottonwood Motel (1898), 9200 East Colfax Avenue, built as a hotel for trolley line workers, is senior among many motels on East Colfax.
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