How do you pronounce Wynkoop? It depends

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Ryan Warner/CPR News
WINE-koop or WIN-koop? Pedestrians walk past Wynkoop street in Denver on October 27, 2021.

Vicki Bamford, of Denver, volunteers for an environmental non-profit in Lower Downtown Denver. Sometimes she answers the phones. Inevitably someone asks for the office’s address. But Bamford is never quite sure how to pronounce the street name, Wynkoop.

“I’ve heard it pronounced both WINE-koop and WIN-koop,” she told Colorado Wonders.

A clue to the proper pronunciation of the street hides in plain sight or — more accurately, in plain earshot. When it’s safe for pedestrians to cross, a recording from the crosswalk signal pierces through the sounds of LoDo construction and traffic: “WINE-koop! Walk sign is on to cross WINE-koop Street!”

The street is indeed pronounced as if it had the word “wine” in it. “It's named after the man, Edward Wanshear Wynkoop,” said public historian Sam Bock of History Colorado.
“Ned, as he was known to his friends, was widely known as one of the founders of Denver.” 

That is the story of the street. But there is a longstanding and high-profile business in the neighborhood that uses a different pronunciation. The founders of Colorado’s first brewpub, Wynkoop Brewing Company, “didn’t want to talk about wine. They serve beer,” Bock explained. So “if you’re talking about the brewery, it’s WIN-koop.” Co-founder John Hickenlooper, now a U.S. Senator, told 9News there was an unsuccessful petition to change the street name to “Beercoop.” “I think,” said Bock. “That might be just one step too far.”

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