Curtis to California, 24th to 33rd
Did you know…between 1870 and 1893 the population of Denver grew more quickly than any other city in the United States, increasing from 4,800 to 107,000? At the heart of this growth was Curtis Park, located just northeast of downtown.
The first streetcar line in the area was constructed in 1871 and began at 7th and Larimer and followed Champa up to 27th Avenue. Initially desolate and unpaved, by 1879 new construction lined the streetcar route. Many of the new residents of the Curtis Park were immigrants of varied economic status, and diversity thrived in the area.
As early as the 1890’s, however, many residents of Curtis Park who could afford to do so relocated to Capitol Hill which was considered the new, fashionable neighborhood and became home to many prominent Denverites.
By the early 1920’s, many of the properties in the neighborhood had been divided into multi-unit dwellings. Economically the neighborhood became more lower-middle class and blue collar.
During WWII, many Japanese-Americans came to Curtis Park. Reverend Seijiro Uemura, of Japanese Methodist Church, persuaded Colorado Governor Ralph Carr to provide a place for those sent to internment camps elsewhere in the US. Between 1942 and 1943, thousands came to the neighborhood.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Curtis Park, like many of the urban neighborhoods of Denver, was deteriorating and many residents left for other areas. However, by the mid-1970’s, new residents began to be drawn to the unique homes in the area.
Architecturally, Curtis Park contains a variety of melded together styles with the Queen Anne influence being predominant. The Italianate style is found more often in Curtis Park than in any other neighborhood in Denver. Many homes were built by individuals lacking formal architectural training which is reflected in the eclectic blend of architectural styles seen in many homes in the area.
A large part of the Curtis Park neighborhood was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 which led to continued interest in renovations and revitalization. With approximately 500 late 19th century homes in the neighborhood, Curtis Park provides an interesting look at Denver’s past as well as a glance to the future.