District 9 is not only my heart, but also the heart of Denver. Our district houses many of Denver’s first and oldest neighborhoods including Globeville, Elyria-Swansea, Five Points, Cole, Clayton, Whittier, Curtis Park and City Park.
After heated debates leading up to the 2012 redistricting, District 9 absorbed the most economically and racially diverse neighborhoods in the city. Until then, neighborhoods downtown were split amongst two districts.
Currently, District 9 is the fastest growing district with the highest concentration of public and private investment. Some of the notable city investments include: City Park Golf Course Redesign, Platte to Park Hill Stormwater Project, I-70 Expansion, National Western Redevelopment.
Image: Neighborhood map of Denver’s District 9.
District 9 is also home to the highest concentration of rail transit in the region and some of the city’s top tourist attractions including: Lower Downtown, Union Station, the Auraria Campus, the Denver Center for Performing Arts, the Convention Center, the Coliseum, Coors Field, the Pepsi Center, the Welton Street Cultural District and the RiNo Arts District.
Other notable challenges and characteristics of this district are that we are also home to the highest concentration of marijuana cultivation facilities in the country, the most polluted zip code in the nation and historically redlined/segregated neighborhoods. Our district is a collection of neighborhoods and interests that hold the promise of opportunity to lead the nation if we can leverage such diversity for racial, social and economic justice. Like the pink sunrises in City Park, we can rise together if we so wish.
12 Neighborhoods; 5 Zip Codes; 1 District
Globeville, Elyria-Swansea, Five Points, Cole, Clayton, Whittier, Skyland, City Park, City Park West, Central Business District, Auraria, Union Station.
The Globeville neighborhood was originally settled in the late 1880s around the Globe Smelting and Refining Company. Many of the early workers were Eastern European immigrants, including Austrians, Croatians, Germans, Poles, Russians, Scandinavians, Slovenians, and other Slavic peoples. In addition to the smelters, the railroad and packing plant industries offered employment opportunities within the neighborhood. Globeville was originally platted in 1889 and then incorporated as a town in 1891. The City and County of Denver annexed Globeville in 1902.
Even in its early years, Globeville was isolated from the rest of the city. The railroads and South Platte River served as physical barriers. There was only one streetcar stop, located just outside Globeville, and the automobile was not yet a viable transportation option. With such limited access, the majority of people who worked within Globeville also lived in the neighborhood. The diverse immigrant populations thrived as churches and social organizations grew up around the various nationalities.
In the mid-19th century, Denver was a miners' town, and settlements began to form around it. The Swansea-Elyria area was the site of two of these early settlements. People and industry liked the area because it was close to the South Platte River and its land was flat. Among those attracted by the expanding economic opportunities were Slavic immigrants who settled in Swansea and Elyria in the mid-19th century, when the two neighborhoods were part of Arapahoe County.
The Swansea neighborhood was named by early settlers after the mining seaport town of Swansea in Wales. Swansea was established around 1870, after the Kansas Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads were completed. At that time, a demand for smelter facilities arose. Until then, gold had been extracted from ore at the smelter in Black Hawk, Colorado. To satisfy demand, a company was organized and a large parcel of land in the area now called Swansea was acquired at the junction of the two railroads. Mismanagement closed the Swansea smelter after a few short years, and the facility was abandoned. About 1875, the Village granted H.G.Bonds, Mein Fisher, and Charles Ruler a right-of-way for a steam railroad in Swansea. However, the proposed railroad was never built and the right-of-way grant was repealed by the Swansea Town Council in 1881. Although the annexations of this area to Denver are complicated and involved, most of present-day Swansea was annexed in 1883 and 1902.
Elyria was platted on March 29, 1881, by A. C. Fisk and C. F. Liner, President and Treasurer of the Denver Land and Improvement Company. Elyria was named by Mr. Fisk after his hometown of Elyria, Ohio. Elyria residents voted in favor of incorporation as a village on August 2, 1890. Elyria's focal point was the Town Hall, built in 1894 at the corner of East 47th Street and Brighton Boulevard. Elyria was annexed to Denver in 1902.
Five Points is one of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods and today is one of the fastest growing for the city in both redevelopment and population. Five Points found its name in reference to the offset conjunction of Denver’s diagonal downtown grid with a rectangular suburban grid, which meet at Washington Street, 27th Street, 26th Avenue, and Welton Street. The Stout Street Herdic Coach Line popularized “Five Points” as the neighborhood’s designation in the early 1880s. Five Points and Whittier are adjoining Denver neighborhoods, and the first to extend beyond the bounds of Denver’s original Congressional Grant. Each neighborhood was created and initially shaped during a long period of growth from the early 1870s to the silver crash of 1893, a time when Denver was amongst the fastest growing cities in the United States and exemplified what the historian Gunter Barth describes as the “instant city.” Throughout Denver's illustrious history, Five Points and the Whittier neighborhood, located northeast of downtown, have been a sanctuary for the African American community. From the opening of Benny Hooper’s hotel and recreation center for black servicemen in the 1920s, Five Points has been synonymous with jazz, culture and Black history.
The Cole neighborhood became part of Denver in 1874. Cole Middle School and the neighborhood itself are named after Carlos M. Cole, a superintendent of Denver’s Public Schools who was instrumental in establishing junior high schools in Denver. More than half of the residential blocks were developed prior to 1900. Several historic buildings remain such as the cleanly designed red brick and sandstone Wyatt School on 3620 Franklin St. built in 1887 and named after its former principal George W. Wyatt and the Denver Tramway Center transportation maintenance facility which was a hub for Denver’s original streetcar system. The 115-year old Tramway Nonprofit Center occupies a full city block and currently houses fifteen nonprofit organizations. It’s history in the Denver Tramway Strike of the 1920’s is quite interesting.
Clayton was annexed to Denver under the Session Laws of 1883. The Clayton neighborhood was named after its most prominent landmark, the Clayton College. George W. Clayton came to Denver in 1859 and opened a store at 15th and Larimer streets. One of Denver's early millionaires, Clayton also invested in real estate. After losing his wife and infant child, Clayton decided to make a will in 1892 providing a trust for a school "to protect orphan white boys through their tender years in the rough environment of the early west." Clayton died in 1901, and after court battles contesting the will, Clayton College opened in 1911. This college has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is currently known as the Clayton Early Learning Center.
Whittier, a rectangular neighborhood that adjoins Five Points on its eastern edge, found its name in Whittier Elementary School, which honors the nineteenth-century American poet and abolitionist, John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892). Throughout Denver's illustrious history, Five Points and the Whittier neighborhood, located northeast of downtown, have been a sanctuary for the African American community. From the opening of Benny Hooper’s hotel and recreation center for black servicemen in the 1920s, Five Points has been synonymous with jazz. The historic area is now undergoing an urban renaissance with numerous new businesses opening and lively street festivals punctuating the summer air. Five Points and Whittier are adjoining Denver neighborhoods, and the first to extend beyond the bounds of Denver’s original Congressional Grant. Each neighborhood was created and initially shaped during a long period of growth from the early 1870s to the silver crash of 1893, a time when Denver was amongst the fastest growing cities in the United States and exemplified what the historian Gunter Barth describes as the “instant city.”
Skyland was annexed to Denver under the Session Laws of 1889. The origins of Skyland's name are unclear and longtime residents of the area refer to Skyland neighborhood as North City Park. In 1934, a Denver theatrical entrepreneur, A.M. Oberfelder, constructed on Clayton College land, a recreational park known as the Sportland Beach Club. Built for $50,000 on a 15-acre tract, Sportland Beach had an outdoor pool, playground, clubhouse and a large 'beach' of sand and grass. This private club closed after a number of years of successful operation. In 1948, the Glenarm and Park Hill branches of the Y.M.C.A. merged to become the East Denver Branch and purchased for $380,000 4 1/2 acres of Sportland Beach, which included the pool and buildings. The remainder of the property became the last major area of housing in the neighborhood. Opinion varies, but the neighborhood probably received its name from the pool now known as the East Denver Y.M.C.A. Some residents feel that the name Skyland could also refer to the view of the downtown area and mountains beyond. Skyland is connected to Whittier’s history of the “race line” in Denver.
The City Park neighborhood was included in the city by Territorial Sessions Laws of 1874 and the Colorado Sessions Laws of 1889. In 1890, Henry Lee sponsored a bill in the State Legislature authorizing municipalities to acquire lands in excess of the then current 40 acre limit for parks. He had in mind the 320 acres proposed for City Park. After the bill passed and years of litigation over land ownership had been settled, Denver purchased the City Park site for $56,000 in 1889. At that time there were few trees and the vegetation consisted of buffalo grass, sage brush and cactus. School children helped in the task of beautifying the area by making the planting of fast-growing cottonwood trees their Arbor Day project. A bandstand was constructed to accommodate concerts, a race track was built and quite by accident, the zoo was established when a city employee donated his pet bear cub which persisted in breaking its chain and killing his chickens. The bear became such an attraction that other Colorado animals were added, and later by popular demand, species from all over the world were included. Later, a group of citizens purchased an exhibit of bison and other fauna of the mountains and established the Colorado Museum of Natural History. Today, the museum contains one of the finest collections of native animals and birds, exhibited in their natural habitats, in the country. With the addition of an electric fountain in 1908 and numerous donated statues and gateways, the park became a focal point of Denver. Between 1900 and 1950, S.R DeBoer worked with numerous collaborators including Olmsted Brothers (Frederick Law Olmsted was one of the landscape architects who designed Central Park in NYC) to develop George Kessler’s turn of the century original design of City Park. In 1986 City Park was included in the National Register of Historic Places listing of the Denver Park and Parkway System.
city park west
City Park West is a neighborhood of mostly single-family homes, small apartment buildings, and one very large hospital complex which is now known as the Hospital District. The center of the district features the medical facilities of Presbyterian/St. Luke's Hospital, Exempla St. Joseph's Hospital, and a number of other medical office buildings and related facilities. Exempla Saint Joseph's Hospital is the newest, most modern hospital in Colorado as of December 2014 when it re-opened. Like many of Denver's Center City districts, City Park West is experiencing a number of smaller, multi-family infill projects on vacant or underutilized lots in among the mature landscape and classic early-20th century homes for which the district is known. This neighborhood is home to our lively 17th street restaurant row.
central business district
The Central Business District is the commercial core of Downtown Denver, but is also home to more than 10,000+ residents. Denver has made a strong effort to centralize its commercial and entertainment interests in the Downtown area. Currently, it is home to both Coors Field and Pepsi Center, and roughly a mile from nearby Broncos Stadium at Mile High. LoDo and the 16th Street mall are home to hundreds of bars, restaurants, and cafes. Additionally, CBD is home to the second largest Performing Arts Center in the United States. The Denver Art Museum, Colorado History Museum, Cherry Creek bike path, Denver Public Library, Civic Center Park, and the Paramount Theatre are just a few of the attractions found in Central Business District.
Auraria today is the thriving campus of the Auraria Higher Education Center (AHEC) that opened in 1976. Auraria, Denver’s oldest neighborhood, predates the city of Denver’s establishment, and its history neatly encompasses the city’s founding, its development, and its redevelopment as a modern urban center. Auraria City was originally established in 1858 by a small group of miners organized around the leadership of the Russell brothers, former residents of Auraria, Georgia, a mining town established after the discovery of gold in that state in 1828. ‘Auraria’ derives from the Latin term aurum, or gold, and reflects the fascination with gold found near the junction of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. Within a few weeks of Auraria’s founding, a rival town, Denver City, promoted by William Larimer, had also been established on the banks of Cherry Creek. The two towns, and their respective boosters, entered a short-lived but acrimonious contest for supremacy; the futility of competition, and the possibility of cooperation, led to a merger in April 1860 and the establishment of a single urban entity: Denver. Shortly thereafter, the former city became known as West Denver in commonplace conversation, and Auraria was largely in disuse until the 1960s.
Denver Union Station is the main railway station and central transportation hub of Denver as well as a neighborhood. In 2012, the station underwent a major renovation transforming it into the centerpiece of a new transit-oriented mixed-use development built on the site's former railyards. The station house re-opened in the summer of 2014 as a combination of the 112-room Crawford Hotel, several restaurants and retailers, and a train hall. Denver's first train station was constructed in 1868 to serve the new Denver Pacific Railway, which connected Denver to the main transcontinental line at Cheyenne, Wyoming. By 1875, there were four different railroad stations, making passenger transfers between different railroad lines inconvenient. To remedy this issue, the Union Pacific Railroad proposed creating one central "Union Station" to combine the various operations. In February 1880, the owners of the four lines agreed to build a station at 17th and Wynkoop Streets. Architect A. Taylor of Kansas City was hired to develop the plans and the station opened in May 1881. A fire that started in the women's restroom in 1894 destroyed the central portion of the 1881 depot. The Kansas City architectural firm of Van Brunt & Howe was hired to design a larger replacement depot in the Romanesque Revival style. This neighborhood is a newer neighborhood of Denver and is sometimes known by it’s original neighborhood name “Prospect” or informal name Union Station North.