Denver has come a long way since its founding in 1858, as a mining town teeming with saloons, gambling, livestock, and trading posts. Many of its historical houses, buildings, and other landmarks have been preserved through the years and are proud fixtures in the neighborhoods they call home. These five fabulous historic neighborhoods in Denver not only have a rich history, but are also still considered some of the city’s most fashionable places to live, work, and play.
1. City Park
In 1882 Henry Merryweather designed City Park, which has subsequently grown into Denver's largest, totaling 330 acres. City Park makes up the majority of its namesake neighborhood and houses some of the city's most notable landmarks, including the Denver Zoo, the Museum of Nature and Science, numerous memorial statues, the boat pavilion, and Ferril Lake with the Prismatic Fountain that dates back to 1908. It's also home to the "Shakespeare Elm," which was planted in 1916 and is rooted from an original cutting taken from Shakespeare's grave in Stratford-on-Avon. City Park neighborhood offers unmatched views of surrounding areas, important pieces of history, and access to the ever popular hot spots on Colfax. It's simply superb!
2. Capitol Hill
The Capitol Hill neighborhood is an eclectic mix of old and new Denver and was once (and still is) home to the city's elite. Some of Denver's oldest homes, dating from the late 1800s can be found here, alongside a lively mix of coffee shops, restaurants, nightclubs, and music venues. Strongly influenced by its proximity to the Capitol building and Downtown Denver, Cap Hill provides plenty of opportunities to explore some of the city's most historic institutions.
3. Cheesman Park
One of the oldest neighborhoods in Denver, with city plats dating back to 1868, is Chessman Park, which was annexed by the City of Denver in 1883. Affectionately called "Capitol Hill's Backyard," Cheesman Park is home to the Denver Botanic Gardens, as well as the famed Pavillion or "temple of the sun," which was constructed using Colorado marble and dedicated in 1908. By the completion of the park in 1915, the neighborhood was filled with beautiful homes and mansions containing a wide variety of architectural styles. Although the area now has plenty of high-rises, it also has three of Denver's residential historic districts (Wyman's, Morgan's Addition, and Humboldt Island) with beautiful homes dating back to the 19th century. Cheesman Park has many architectural delights just waiting to be seen and photographed!
4. Curtis Park/Five Points
The Curtis Park/Five Points neighborhood expanded rapidly after the establishment of the horse-drawn streetcar line in 1871 and has remained a happening area of town ever since. Neighborhood residents, both then and now, pride themselves on their social, cultural, and economic diversity. You'll see old Victorians beside modest brick homes and dive bars adjacent to historic hotels. The friendly, funky atmosphere and diverse history makes Curtis Park/Five Points a great place to see and be seen!
5. Washington Park
The quaint feel and natural beauty of "Wash Park" and its namesake neighborhood cannot be beat! Development of the area began in the 1860s around an old buffalo wallow that later became the park's Smith Lake, but most of the area's historic Victorian-style homes and traditional bungalows weren't built until the early 1900s, as were many the park's landmarks, including the Perennial Garden, Mt. Vernon Garden, The Lily Pond, Smith Lake, and the boathouse. Surrounding this lovely urban space are the tree-lined streets of what has remained one of Denver's most desirable neighborhoods.
Have some of your own stories to share about these historic neighborhoods in Denver? Are there any that we overlooked? Let us know!