2018 Winter Schedule
Monday, January 8: A Road to Ruin, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm.
Denver is recklessly speeding down the highway of ever more development and sprawl. The commitment to a hideous reconstruction of I-70 is at the heart of the action. This is not simply bad policy by misguided politicians, but central to the character of the city’s leadership and grasping, narrow, philistine essence. Details will be provided at City Stacks, 1743 Wazee Street, as part of its monthly Denver history night. Goodstein especially deals with these points in Denver in Our Time and DIA and Other Scams. Information about Goodstein’s books is at capitolhillbooks.com Tours are listed at LeonardLeonard.com/neighborhoods/walkingtours and liveandlovedenver.com.
Tuesday January 9: North Side/East Side, 6:00–7:30 pm.
Neighborhoods are not separate entities, but part of a free-flowing city. Even at that, no part of town has a more distinctive entity than the North Side. In many ways, modern East Denver is the exact opposition, something of an amorphous area. How they interact is the subject of this free talk featuring Goodstein’s books The Story of Modern East Denver and North Side Story. It is at the Gardens at St. Elizabeth’s near the northeast corner of West 32nd Avenue and Eliot Street. This is the highrise. Eliot Street is one block east of Federal Boulevard.
Wednesday, January 10: Everything about Denver 6:30–9:00 pm
This is the first week of a four-part seminar on the history of Denver. The class will deal with the logic of the Denver street system and the Pikes Peak gold rush. Questions about anything dealing with the city are welcome. The class gathers at a private home at 1330 Monroe Street. (Monroe Street is four blocks west of Colorado Boulevard.) The cost is $15 per session.
Wednesday, January 17: The Growth of the Mile High City, 6:30–9:00 pm
For week two of the history of Denver the focus will be on the growth of the 19th-century city, the impact of tuberculosis, and sensational sex scandals. Included will be tales of the Tabors, Molly Brown, the coming of the railroads, and the Populist upheavals of the 1890s. The cost is $15.00 at 1330 Monroe Street.
Wednesday, January 24: An Era of Turbulence, 6:30–9:00 pm
Denver was in constant turmoil during the first third of the 20th century, complete with the Ku Klux Klan dominating the city from 1923 to 1926. Find out what happened during week three of Everything about Denver. The cost is $15.00 at 1330 Monroe Street.
Wednesday, January 31: The Rise of Modern Denver, 6:30–9:00 pm
The final session of Everything about Denver surveys the city from the end of World War II into the 21st century. Included is everything form the rise of the Denver Broncos to the story of Denver International Airport to reflections on who runs the city. The cost is $15.00 at 1330 Monroe Street.
Monday, February 5: The Insanity of Love, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm.
February is the month of fevers. None is worse than the fever of love. People endlessly pursue it even known it can produce disastrous results. As part of its monthly Denver History Night, City Stacks, 1743 Wazee Street, will host a free forum about some of the scandalous love affairs of Colorado form those of Horace and Baby Doe Tabor to Molly Brown to Big Bill and Nevada Jane Haywood. There will be passing mention to the commercial sex business and the character of past and present lower downtown. Part of the talk is drawn from Goodstein’s The Seamy Side of Denver.
Wednesday, February 21: How to Write a Book, 7:00–9:00 pm
A book does not jut happen, it grows. It is more than a compilation of its parts. A well-crafted volume requires an excellent editor, publisher, and printer. Goodstein will reflect on his experiences, including the nature of the book business. The cost is $20.00 at 1330 Monroe Street.
Monday, March 5: Bloody Murder, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm.
At the same time developers loot the city, media attention is invariably on bloody murder. In many ways, the most interesting part of Mile High crime is the way newspapers have developed. This talk will both relate stories of some of the city’s sentinel murder and the character of its publications, particularly the outrageous story of the Denver Post. It is the March Denver History Night at City Stacks, 1743 Wazee Street.
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.