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Phil Goodstein’s Walking Tours

2017 Spring Schedule


Monday,  March 5:  A Bicycle Tour of Mayfair, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

The tour season starts with an exploration of Mayfair, mostly a post–World War II neighborhood with bits and pieces of lore stretching back to the 1800s.  It gathers at the benches on the west side of the 1000 block of Jersey Street in Mayfair Park.  (Jersey is the 5900 east block.  It is six blocks west of Monaco Street Parkway.)  The cost is $20.00.


Monday,  March 6:  An Evening of Denver History, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

February is the month of love.  This free talk at City Stacks, a combination bookstore and coffeehouse, 1743 Wazee Street, will outline some of the tumultuous love scandals of Denver.


Saturday, March 11: 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, March 18: North Hilltop, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

Meet in the medium of the Clermont Street Parkway jut to the south of Sixth Avenue Parkway.  The focus is on the section between Sixth and Eighth avenues.  (Clermont is five blocks east of Colorado Boulevard.)   The cost is $20.00.


Sunday, March 19: Capitol Hill, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

Meet at the Capitol Hill Mansion, 1207 Pennsylvania Street.  In the late 19th-century, Capitol Hill was Denver’s address of distinction.  Many of its manors still survive.  We’ll visit them and learn about the gossip and scandals surrounding them.  (Pennsylvania Street is five blocks east of Broadway.)  The cost is $20.00.


Sunday, March 26: The Ruins of University Hospital, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

Meet to the west of the tennis courts in Lindsley Park at 12th Avenue and Cherry Street.  (Cherry is six blocks east of Colorado Boulevard.  It does not cut through between 12th Avenue and hale Parkway.  The easiest way to get there is to take Cherry south from Colfax.)  The cost is $20.00.


Sunday, April 2:  Highlands, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

Gather on the Federal Boulevard side of the Woodbury Library at West 33rd Avenue and Federal Boulevard.  The cost is $20.00.


Monday, April 3:  The Centenary of World War I, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

In early April 1917, the United States intervened in World War I.  A government-induced swept the country, leading to severe repression and reaction.  This is a talk commemorating what happened, focusing on how Denver survived the war and the upheavals.  In passing, it will observe that 2017 is 200 years since the peak of the Luddite rebellion in England.  The free event is at City Stacks, a combination bookstore and coffeehouse, 1743 Wazee Street.  It will be repeated on:


Thursday, April 6, noon–2:00 pm at Casa Mayan/Smedley House, 1020 Ninth Street on Ninth Street Park on the Auraria campus. Enter the campus opposite Mariposa Street on the north side of West Colfax Avenue.  The Smedley House is the white, frame structure to the left at the corner of Champa Street where Ninth Street dead ends.


Friday, April 7:  North Side Story Revisited, 7:00-8:00 pm

The Book Bar is a combination of a bar and a bookstore at the southeast corner of West 43rd Avenue and Tennyson Street.  It is where Goodstein will reintroduce his best-selling North Side Story, the comprehensive history of North Denver.  The volume lists for $29.95.  The talk is free.


Sunday, April 9:  West Denver/Auraria, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

Meet in front of Greenlee School.  It is on the east side of Lipan Street between West 11th and West 12th avenues.  (Lipan Street is two blocks west of Santa Fe Drive.)  The cost is $20.00.


Sunday, April 16:  A Stroll in Mayfair, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

Meet in front of Palmer School at the southwest corner of 11th Avenue and Grape Street.  (Grape is two blocks west of Holly Street and 14 blocks east of Colorado Boulevard.)  The cost is $20.00.


Saturday, April 22:  Wyman’s Addition, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

Meet at the Castle Marne, 1572 Race Street.  (Race is 20 blocks east of Broadway and three blocks west of York Street.  This is the stone bed and breakfast at the corner of 16th Avenue.)  The cost is $20.00.


Sunday, April 23:  The Blossoming of North Denver, 6:30–7:30 pm

This is a free talk at West Side Books, 3434 West 32nd Avenue (near the southwest corner of Julian Street), to celebrate the revised second edition of Goodstein’s North Side Story.  (Julian Street is the “J” in the alphabet west of Federal Boulevard and is one block east of Lowell Boulevard.)


Saturday, April 29:  West Sloans Lake, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

Meet at the torpedo near West 17th Avenue and Zenobia Street.  (Zenobia Street is one block east of Sheridan Boulevard.  There is an parking lot entry to the park one bock further to the east at Yates Street.)  The cost is $20.00.


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.


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.