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Though Denver began its life in 1859, not until 1870 did the city begin to thrive. In the late 1860s, the town of approximately 5,000 justified its existence as a supply point; but its future seemed precarious. It was too inaccessible, too far from the nearest towns on the Missouri River and from the westbound Union Pacific Railroad. In 1870, the Denver Pacific railroad was completed, connecting the city to Cheyenne and the Union Pacific mainline – Denver suddenly came to life!

The mining and trade booms created a real estate boom. As living conditions in Denver became overcrowded, the city began to spread and public transit systems were required. The first charter for a horse-drawn streetcar was awarded in 1867, but construction did not get underway until 1871. Residential neighborhoods grew toward the northeast of the bustling downtown area, and developed into what are now the historic villages of Clements, Curtis Park, and San Rafael.

From their beginning, the villages of Downtown have been an integral part of Denver, and today, the area remains a vital part of the city. Their ethnic, economic and cultural diversity adds to the warmth and charm of Denver. From the shopping center at Five points Plaza to the revitalization of commercial and residential properties, the Downtown villages bring enchantment to the city.

Explore the Downtown Villages:

Curtis Park
San Rafael

Neighborhood Attractions

  • Black American West Museum
  • Stiles African American Heritage Center

Vital Information


Police: Dist #2, 3555 Colorado Blvd, 303.331.4070

Fire Station: 3201 Curtis St, 303.331.4146

Post Office: 1823 Stout Street, 80202, 303-297-6000

Parks: Curtis Park, Lawson Park, Benedict Fountain Park

Voting Information: 303-575-2351

Library: 2855 Tremont St, 303.297.0106

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