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Phil Goodstein’s Walking Tours

Phil Goodstein

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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

May-July 2022

Tours and Talks by Phil Goodstein


Sunday, May 1: Barnum, noon–1:00 pm

Gather in front of Barnum School at the southwest corner of First Avenue and Hook Street. (Hooker is the “H” street in the alphabet west of Federal Boulevard). This is a free tour. Participants can tip the guide as they wish. A copy of this schedule is posted on and Tickets for the Seamy and ghost tours may be booked at Darkside of Private tours are available.


Saturday, May 7: The Ghosts of Cheesman Park, 11:00 am–1:00pm

Meet at the entrance to the park at Ninth Avenue, half a block west of Race Street. Race is three blocks west of York Street. This part of the park has been closed to traffic during the outbreak of the coronavirus. Street parking is usually available directly to the east of the park. The cost is $20.00.


Monday, May 9: The Seamy Side of Denver, 6:00 pm–8:00pm

This is a stroll through the underside of lower downtown, past and present. Included are stories of ghosts at Union Station, bloody murder, the way bordellos operated, and the impact of urban renewal. Meet at the flagpole in front of Union Station at 17th and Wynkoop streets. The cost is $20.00.


Monday, May 16: Platt Park, 6:30 pm–7:30 pm

Gather in front of the Decker Library at the southwest corner of South Logan Street and Florida Avenue. (Logan is four blocks east of Broadway. Florida is four blocks south of Mississippi Avenue and four blocks north of Evans Avenue.) This is a free tour. Participants can tip the guide as they wish.


Sunday, May 22: Streetcar City, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

This is a lecture on the evolution of public transportation in Denver from horsecars through trolleys to RTD to light rail and beyond. It is at the Forney Museum, 4303 Brighton Boulevard. Besides admission to the museum, the talk is $10.


Saturday, May 28: A Bicycle Tour of Park Hill, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

Explore Denver on two wheels. This ride explores central and eastern Park Hill, including the old Holly Shopping center, what was once Colorado Woman’s College, and Downington. It gathers in front of Smiley Middle School on the east side of Holly Street between 25th and 26th avenues. The cost is $20.


Saturday, June 4: Denver History Night, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

This is a free, informal discussion of Denver history and politics. It gathers at Enzo’s, 3424 Colfax (between Cook and Madison.)


Tuesday, June 7: South of the Country Club, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Meet in front of Steele School, along the east side of the south Marion Street Parkway between Alameda and Dakota avenues. (Marion Street is one block east of Downing Street.) The cost is $20.


Saturday, June 11: The Ups and Downs of the Platte River, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

The Platte River has repeatedly flooded. How it has shaped the city, including the legacy of the 1965 flood, is the subject of this free-wheeling lecture. It is at the Forney Museum, 4303 Brighton Boulevard. Besides admission to the museum, the talk is $10.


Tuesday, June 14: Montclair, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Meet in front of the Montclair Community Building at the southwest corner of 12th Avenue and Oneida Street. (Oneida is four blocks east of Monaco Street Parkway and four blocks west of Quebec Street.) The cost is $20.


Saturday, June 18: Ghost Walk, 7:00 pm–9:00 pm

Meet in front of the statue of the Indian on the east lawn of the Capitol. This is along Grant Street between 14th and Colfax avenues. The cost is $20.


Tuesday, June 21: West Highlands, 6:30 pm–7:30 pm

Meet in front of Edison School, on the west side of Quitman Street between West 33rd and West 35th avenues. (Quitman Street is five blocks west of Lowell Boulevard and 11 blocks east of Sheridan Boulevard. This is a free tour. Participants can tip the guide as they wish.


Tuesday, June 28: West Denver, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Meet in front of West High School on the west side of Elati Street between West Ninth and West 11th avenues. (Elati is five blocks west of Broadway. It is one-way southbound from West 11th Avenue where it is the first block west of Speer Boulevard.) The cost is $20.00.


Wednesday, July 6: Park Hill, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Meet at the gazebo in Ferguson Park (Turtle Park) at the southeast corner of 23rd Avenue and Dexter Street. (Dexter is seven blocks east of Colorado Boulevard.) The cost is $20.00.


Wednesday, July 13: The Ruins of West Colfax, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Meet in Cheltenham School, 1580 Julian Street. (The school is four blocks west of Federal Boulevard.) The cost is $20.00.


Saturday, July 16: Ghost Walk, 7:00 pm–9:00 pm

Meet in front of the statue of the Indian on the east lawn of the Capitol. This is along Grant Street between 14th and Colfax avenues. The cost is $20.


Monday, July 18: University Park, 6:30 pm–7:30 pm

Meet on the south steps of the Chamberlain Observatory in Observatory Park, on the block bordered by Fillmore and Milwaukee streets between Warren and Iliff avenues. (Warren is one block south of Evans Avenue; Milwaukee is ten blocks west of Colorado Boulevard and six blocks east of University Boulevard.) The cost is $20.00.


Wednesday, July 27: Washington Park, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Meet at the statue of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, southwest corner of Exposition Avenue and Franklin Street. (Exposition Avenue is four blocks south of Alameda Avenue. Franklin Street is the eastern edge of Washington Park, four blocks east of Downing Street.) The cost is $20.00.



Please take a moment to check out Phil’s Newest Book Release:

Phil Goodstein, The Denver That Is No More: The Story of the City’s Demolished Landmarks. Denver: New Social Publications, 2021. ISBN 0–9860748–8–8/978–0–9860748–8–2. vi + 326 pp. Illustrations. Index. $24.95.

Denver is always changing. This is a key point of a new, extremely well-illustrated history of the city, The Denver That Is No More by the city’s leading critic, Phil Goodstein. The highly entertaining, easy-to-read volume highlights the impressive buildings that were once the city’s point of pride, structures which have given way to the community’s questionable sense of “progress.”

From its beginnings during the Pikes Peak gold rush of 1858–59, Denver has had a split personality. Side-by-side with those who have called it their home, the community has attracted fly-by-night investors who have grabbed what they can from the Mile High City before moving on. In the process, in the hope of short-term profits, Denver has wantonly seen the destruction of distinguished buildings.

The Denver That Is No More takes the reader around the city. It highlights the continual transformation of the central business district. Readers are now on Colfax, learning about how the road was once a fine residential boulevard. Next the action is along South Colorado Boulevard, the place where baby-boomers went to play in the 1960s and 1970s. The book visits the old Elitch’s and enters some of the distinguished, but long-disappeared movie palaces. In the process, the study lives up to its claim that by grasping the Denver that is no more, readers can better understand the contemporary city and help plot its future.



Here are some books Phil recommends for Troubled Times:

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Recovery Tw flyer

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.

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 Center looks at the landmark buildings there, relating how the Colorado Convention Center emerged and contemporary efforts to transform 14th Street into Ambassador Street

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