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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

July – September 2022

Tours and Talks by Phil Goodstein


Saturday, July 2: 150 Years of Auraria, 5:00 pm

Join a commemoration of the 150th-anniversary of the oldest house in West Denver. The event is at the Smedley House, 1020 Ninth Street, a place which has been Casa Mayan in recent years. Right now a politically correct power grab threatens it. This will be an informal picnic. Bring something. The house is on the Auraria campus. Enter it on Ninth Street on West Colfax, which is directly across the street from Mariposa Street on the south side of Colfax. Go to where the road dead ends. A white frame house is directly to the left along Ninth Street Park. Observe parking signs and fees.


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.


Tuesday, July 12: The Streets of Littleton, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm

This is a free talk at the Bemis Library, 6014 South Datura Street. It will deal with the logic of the Denver street system and why Littleton is filled with exceptions. (Datura Street is 14 blocks west of South Broadway.)


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.) This is a free tour. Participants may tip the guide as they wish.


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.


Thursday, August 4: The Remnants of University Hospital/Bellevue West, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Meet at the bench west of the tennis court in Lindsley Park at 12th Avenue and Cherry Street. (Cherry is six blocks east of Colorado Boulevard. It does not cut through to the north of Hale Parkway.) The cost is $20.00.


Thursday, August 11: South Broadway, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Meet at First Avenue Presbyterian Church at the southwest corner of West First Avenue and Acoma Street. (Acoma is one block west of Broadway.) The cost is $20.00.


Saturday, August 13: 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.


Thursday, August 18: Five Points, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Meet in front of Whittier School at the southeast corner of 25th Avenue and Downing Street. The cost is $20.00.


Thursday, August 25: North Capitol Hill, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm

Meet on the east side of Wyman School at the southwest corner of 17th Avenue and High Street. (High is 19 blocks east of Broadway and four blocks west of York Street.) This is a free tour. Participants may tip the guide as they wish.


Saturday, September 3: Denver History Night, 5:30 pm

This is a free, highly informal discussion of Denver’s past and present. It gathers at Mici, 727 Colorado Boulevard.


Saturday, September 10: Cheesman Park, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

Meet just past the barricades at the entry to the park at Ninth Avenue and Race Street. (Race is three blocks west of York Street.) The cost is $20.


Saturday, September 17: Curtis Park, noon–1:00 pm

Meet in front of the old Temple Emanuel at the east corner of 24th and Curtis streets. (24th Street is one block to the northeast of Park Avenue West. Curtis is the 1000 block in the downtown diagonal grid.) This is a free tour. Participants may tip the guide as they wish.


Saturday, September 24: 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.


Sunday, September 25: Park Hill Promise, 11:00 pm–4:00 pm

Goodstein will have a booth at the Park Hill Street Fair at the southeast corner of Montview Boulevard and Forest Street. His books will be on sale, often at a considerable discount. Ideally, he will then have available his latest book, Schools for a New Century, the last part of his trilogy on The History of Denver Public Schools.


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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