Speer to 6th Avenue, Pennsylvania to Downing
The land that today is Arlington Park, Speer to 8th Avenue/Pennsylvania to Downing, (and includes the Alamo Placita Historic District) was purchased from Moses Hallett by a syndicate that included Robert W. Speer in 1889. Development of the park began in 1891 with the northern portion designated as Arlington Park Addition and the southern portion designated for an amusement park. The Arlington Park grand opening was held on the Fourth of July in 1892. A crowd of 12,000 gathered along the banks of Cherry Creek to view the main attraction–a huge theatrical performance “The Last Days of Pompeii” which included a large fireworks display to represent the eruption of Mt.Vesuvius.
Development of the land was halted by the 1893 Silver Crash and consequent depression. Named “Chutes Park” in 1898, the park was developed to include a railway, bicycle track, and even a waterfall to travel down in small boats! Highlights included Professor Barnes’ herd of elk which would dive off of the chutes into a tank of water and Sadie Boynton who would head down the chutes on a bicycle! The park (and its bleacher seating) was destroyed by fire in 1901 and reopened as Riverside Park with a screen to show early motion pictures. In 1902 the park was re-opened as Arlington Park and by 1905, 150 homes had been built within the subdivision (with original boundaries being Downing to Steel and Bayaud to East Fourth Avenue.
The containment of Cherry Creek within concrete walls began in 1907. Property values in Alamo Placita rose because the periodic flooding of the creek was halted. Today, the area that follows along the banks of Cherry Creek is one of Denver’s most beautiful boulevards–Speer.
By the time of Robert Speer’s death in 1918, only 45 lots remained unused within the subdivision. Work on what is today Alamo Placita Park began in 1927. The formal flower gardens stand in the former lake bed and are one of Denver’s loveliest gardens. Nearly ninety percent of present Arlington Park construction was completed by 1930.
Both Speer Boulevard and Alamo Placita Park were added to the National Register of Historic Places and designated as official Denver Landmarks in 1986.
Voted Denver’s Best Park in 1993, the Alamo Placita/Arlington Park neighborhood offers today’s residents the charm of the past along with the many benefits of modern urban living.