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Phil Goodstein’s Walking Tours

2017 Spring Schedule

 

Monday, May 1:  Red Star over Denver, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

May 1 is May Day.  The Mile High City has had a turbulent radical history.  Discover this cloaked part of Denver, dating from the time it was seemingly the center of the international anarchist conspiracy in the 1880s to the impact of the IWW to the 1960s and beyond.  free event is at City Stacks, a combination bookstore and coffeehouse, 1743 Wazee Street.

 

Saturday, May 6:  South Broadway, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

Meet in front of First Avenue Presbyterian Church at the southwest corner of First Avenue and Acoma Street—it also has a sign “City Church of Denver.”  (Acoma Street is one block west of Broadway.)  The cost is $20.00.

 

Sunday, May 7: The Ghosts of Cheesman Park, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

Meet at the wooden gazebo near the equivalent of 12th Avenue and Gilpin Street.  It is directly south of the RTD bus stop on the 12th Avenue loop in the park.  Gilpin Street is the 1700 east block.  Park in the park, east bound, on the 12th Avenue loop to the east of the RTD stop.  The cost is $20.00.

 

Saturday, May 13:  Hilltop, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

Meet at the sundial at Second Avenue and Cherry Street in the center of Cranmer Park.  Enter the park on either First Avenue or Third Avenue at Clermont Street, the road five blocks east of Colorado Boulevard.  The cost is $20.00.

 

Sunday, May 14:  A Walk along Monaco Street Parkway, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

Gather near the bus stop bench along 10th Avenue in the medium of Monaco Street Parkway.  The cost is $20.00.

 

Saturday, May 20:  Ghost Walk, 7:00 pm–9:00 pm

Meet at the statue of the Indian on the east lawn of the Capitol along Grant Street between 14th and Colfax avenues.  The cost is $25.00.

 

Sunday, May 28:  Five Points/San Rafael, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

Meet at the entry of Whittier School at the southeast corner of 25th Avenue and Downing Street.  The cost is $20.00.

 

Monday, June 5:  Denver’s Destiny, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

Where is Denver headed?  The city is in a crazy building boom.  Vintage buildings continually disappear.  Developers and the media endlessly slobber about LoDo, Rhino, Hi-Lo, and numerous other cute names.  So what is going on?  How does development impact residents>  This is a free talk at City Stacks, 1743 Wazee Street.

 

Wednesday, June 7: Potter Highlands, 6:30 pm–8:30 pm

Meet at the Lumber Baron Inn at the northeast corner of West 37th Avenue and Bryant Street.  (Bryant is four blocks east of Federal Boulevard)  The cost is $20 per person.

 

Wednesday, June 14: University Park, 6:30 pm–8:30 pm

Meet at the south side of Chamberlin Observatory.  It is in Observatory Park, the block bordered by Fillmore and Milwaukee streets between Warren and Iliff avenues.  The cost is $20 per person.

 

Saturday, June 17:  Ghost Walk, 7:00 pm–9:00 pm

Meet at the statue of the Indian on the east lawn of the Capitol along Grant Street between 14th and Colfax avenues.  The cost is $25.00.

 

Wednesday, June 21: South of the Country Club, 6:30 pm–8:30 pm

Meet in front of Steele School on the east side of the South Marion Street Parkway between Alameda Avenue and Dakota Avenue.  (Marion Street is one block east of Downing Street.)  The cost is $20 per person.

 

Saturday, June 24:  The Seamy Side of Denver, 5:00 pm–7:15 pm

The event gathers in City Stacks, a combination bookstore and coffeehouse, 1743 Wazee Street.  The cost is $25.00.

 

Phil Goodstein, The Denver Civic Center: The Heart of the Mile High City.  Denver: New Social Publications, 2016.  ISBN 0–9860748–2–9.  vi + 478 pp.  Illustrations.  Index.  $24.95.

 

One hundred years ago, Robert Speer triumphantly returned as mayor of Denver.  A prime project was completing the Civic Center.  This was an initiative Speer had launched on first taking office in 1904.  In the middle of the city, he announced, Denver must have a majestic park.  Adjacent to the Capitol, the Civic Center was to be the heart of the Mile High administration and civic life.  He encountered numerous roadblocks in making it a reality.

By the time Speer became mayor, Denver had burgeoned as a metropolis with more than 100,000 residents.  As it had boomed since the Pikes Peak Gold Rush of 1858–59, newly wealthy individuals advertised their affluence by erecting opulent mansions.  Many were in and around what became the Civic Center.

Already in the 1860s, 14th Street had started to emerge as Denver’s address of distinction.  Connecting the future Larimer Square with what became the Civic Center, it was where leading bankers, politicians, and members of high society lived.  The original home of the University of Denver was at 14th and Arapahoe streets while many medical faceless were nearby.  Included was an early home of the University of Colorado School of Medicine at 13th and Welton streets.

The Civic Center proper is in Evans Addition, land pre-empted by Colorado Governor John Evans in 1864 to the south of Colfax Avenue and west of Broadway.  In passing, The Denver Civic Center explains why the diagonal street pattern of downtown ends at Colfax and who the street’s namesake, Schuyler Colfax, was.

Land usages rapidly changed during Denver’s first 50 years.  As Capitol Hill overwhelmed Evans Addition and 14th Street in the early 20th century as the city’s elite neighborhood, the land near the Civic Center was increasingly an industrial and commercial district.  Broadway north of Cherry Creek emerged as the city’s premier site to buy a prestigious new car.  Numerous apartments and residential hotels filled the area.

All the while, the Capitol dominates the hill east of Broadway.  Its construction and the various monuments in and about it, including in the Civic Center proper, are among the themes of the book.  In passing, The Denver Civic Center tells about the tunnel system under the Capitol, complete with the folklore that a couple of floating heads are stashed beneath the seat of the state government.

In the 1970s, the area in and around the Civic Center started emerged as the Golden Triangle.  This increasingly became the popular name for the spread encompassed by West Colfax Avenue, Speer Boulevard, and Broadway.  Besides being the heart of Denver’s cultural district with the Denver Art Museum and the main branch of the Denver Public Library, it came to be the home of elite residential towers.  In passing, the volume notes the Golden Triangle has also been the home of Denver television with the studios of channels 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, and 31 being in and around the section.

The Silver Triangle emerged in the early 1980s as a mirror of the Golden Triangle.  Generally, this is the section bordered by West Colfax Avenue to Speer Boulevard to about Champa Street to 15th Street.  The Denver Civic Centerlooks at the landmark buildings there, relating how the Colorado Convention Center emerged and contemporary efforts to transform 14th Street into Ambassador Street.

Author Phil Goodstein is a Denver native who has churned out more than 20 volumes about the Mile High City.  Not only has he seen to it that the volume is very well illustrated but, as is his wont, he emphasizes history from the bottom up.  He explores controversies over the use of the Civic Center while emphasizing the way the different hopes and perspectives of various classes and economic interests have shaped the community.  In a word, The Denver Civic Center is not just a history of the land in and around the Civic Center, but it is a profile of Denver as a whole.  It is must reading for anybody seeking to grasp the nature of the Mile High City.