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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. Information about Goodstein’s books can be found at capitolhillbooks.com
Tours and Talks 2019
Sunday, June 2: 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.
Sunday, June 2: The Denver School Book, 5:00 pm
Berkeley was once a world in itself. Included was Alcott School, the place designed to educate Little Men and Little Women. Where it was and what happened to it are among the various tales of Phil Goodstein’s new volume, The Denver School Book. He till discuss the book at a free event at the Book Bar at the southeast corner of West 43rd Avenue and Tennyson Street. Information about Goodstein’s books is at capitolhillbooks.com Tours are listed at LeonardLeonard.com/neighbor-hoods/walking tours and liveandlove denver.com
Thursday, June 6: Capitol Hill, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm
Meet at the Castle Marne, the stone bed and breakfast at the southeast corner of 16th Race and Race Street. (Race is three blocks west of York Street.) The cost is $20.00.
Saturday, June 8: The Denver School Book, 3:00 pm
This is another free talk about The Denver School Book. In this case, it focuses on the West Colfax corridor. It is at the Gonzales Library at the southeast corner of West Colfax Avenue and Irving Street.
Sunday, June 9: Fairmount Cemetery, 11:00 am–1:00 pm
Meet on the east side of the Little Ivy Chapel. Enter Fairmount on Dakota Avenue, one block south of Alameda Avenue, on South Quebec Street. Off to the east of the main parking lot is a hill. At the top of the hill is an old, stone church-like building, the Little Ivy Chapel. The cost is $20.00.
Tuesday, June 11: Berkeley, 6:30 pm–7:30 pm
Meet in front of the Smiley Library at West 46th Avenue and Utica Street. (Utica is one block west of Tennyson Street and seven blocks east of Sheridan Boulevard.) This is a free tour. Participants can tip the tour guide as they wish.
Thursday, June 13: Harvard Gulch, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm
Meet at the benches near the southeast corner of South Logan Street and Iliff Avenue. (Logan is four blocks east of Broadway; Iliff is two blocks south of Evans Avenue.) The cost is $20.00.
Saturday, June 15: 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 Colfax and 14th avenues. The cost is $25.00..
Sunday, June 16: The Denver School Book, 12:00 pm–1:30 pm.
This is a free talk at the 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.
Wednesday, June 19: The Denver School Book, 6:30 pm.
This is a free talk at the Park Hill Library, at the northeast corner of Dexter Street and Montview Boulevard about Goodstein’s new book. it will focus on the immense Park Hill dimension of Denver school controversies. (Dexter is seven blocks east of Colorado Boulevard.)
Thursday, June 20: West Highlands, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm
Meet on the Federal Boulevard side of the Woodbury at the southwest corner of West 33rd Avenue and Federal Boulevard. The cost is $20.00.
Thursday, June 27: Park Hill, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm
Meet at the gazebo in Ferguson Park at the southeast corner of Dexter Street and 23rd Avenue. (Dexter is seven blocks east of Colorado Boulevard.) The cost is $20.00.
Tuesday, July 7: County Club, 6:30 pm–7:30 pm
Meet in front of Bromwell School, Fourth Avenue and Columbine Street. (Columbine Street is one block east of Josephine Street. Fourth Avenue does not cut through between Josephine and Columbine streets.) This is a free tour. Participants can tip the tour guide as they wish.
Wednesday, July 10: Capitol Hill, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm
Meet at the Capitol Hill Mansion, 1207 Pennsylvania Street. The cost is $20.00..
Wednesday, July 17: Sloans Lake, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm
Meet at Little Man Ice Cream at the northwest corner of West Colfax Avenue and Tennyson Street. (Tennyson is 16 blocks west of Federal Boulevard and eight blocks east of Sheridan Boulevard. The cost is $20.00.
Wednesday, July 24: South-Central Denver, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm
Meet in front of the old Byers Junior High School on the east side of South pearl Street between Bayaud and Cedar avenues. (Cedar is one block north of Alameda Avenue. Pearl is six blocks east of Broadway.). The cost is $20.00.
Wednesday, July 31: The Old University Hospital District, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm
Meet at the bench to the west of the tennis courts at 12th Avenue and Cherry Street. (Cherry is six blocks east of Colorado Boulevard. it does not cut through between Ninth and 12th avenues.) The cost is $20.00.
The Denver School Book (Denver: New Social Publications, 2019. ISBN 0–9860748–4–5/978–0–9860748–4–4. vi + 490 pp. Illustrations. Index. $24.95) is Phil Goodstein’s latest venture.
It dissects what local schools have been all about. It starts with the city’s first school in 1859, telling about the character of teachers, administrators, and school board members. The study encompasses different schoolhouses, linking them with distinctive neighborhoods. The Denver School Book spells out how the schools have interrelated with the community, and their successes and failures. In passing, it deals with the essential nature of public education and refers to what critics have blasted as “compulsory miseducation.” The extremely well-illustrated Denver School Book is only the beginning of the story. It is the first of a trilogy. The tome ends in 1967, right when DPS was on the verge of school busing upheavals. They will be the subject of volume two, The Denver School Busing Wars. The third part of the study promises to bring the subject into the end of the second decade of the 21st century. Goodstein, a disgruntled alumnus of DPS, will sign books at:
The Park Hill Bookstore
4620 23rd Avenue
Saturday, May 4; 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
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.