Denver’s Oldest Neighborhood Hosts
City’s Largest Historic Home Tour
September 13 & 14, 2014
Some of the finest homes in Denver’s oldest and most historic neighborhood will open their doors to the public in September during the 2014 Historic Curtis Park Home and Community Tour.
Denver’s oldest neighborhood, Curtis Park, is a miracle of preservation. Just seven blocks to the northeast of the 16th Street Mall, an extraordinary variety of architectural styles from the 1870s to the 1890s are intact. The homes reflect Denver’s optimism and exuberance of the period. Today more than 500 historically significant Curtis Park homes are protected by Denver Landmark Preservation status. Fifteen will be open for public tours September 13 and 14, 2014, as a fundraiser for Curtis Park Neighbors, Inc.
Curtis Park’s roots go back to Denver’s population boom with the arrival of the railroad in 1870. Great numbers of new settlers flooded the frontier town. Between 1870 and 1880 the population increased 700% to 35,000.
As the city spread, public transportation systems were required. In 1871, construction began on Denver’s horse-drawn streetcar system. The streetcar line started at 7th and Larimer streets, turned onto Champa Street at 16th Street and went out Champa as far as 27th Street into an undeveloped area of town, now Curtis Park.
The neighborhood attracted the wealthy, social and civic-minded, such as Mayor Wolfe Londoner and department store owner John Jay Joslin, who lived alongside middle class teachers, bankers, clerks and blacksmiths. The result was a mix of mansions next to smaller, one-story homes and duplexes in a range of architectural styles: Victorian, Queen Anne, Italianate, and Second Empire, among others.
With the passing of the years the neighborhood became one of the city’s poorest. Many of its architectural gems were neglected and boarded up but remained intact until the area was rediscovered in the 1970s. Since then, many homes have been restored. The neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places and now contains eight Denver Landmark Districts.
The 2014 Historic Curtis Park Home and Community Tour offers a chance to revisit the extraordinary history of Denver’s earliest days.
Historic Denver, Mile High United Way, St. Francis Center, Golden Bell Press, RedLine, and Volunteers of America are providing critical financial, marketing and logistics support to the tour.
Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 13 & 14
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day
Tickets $15 ($12 for Historic Denver members)
Tickets available at www.HistoricDenver.org
or in-person during the event at 2601 Champa Street
Saturday, September 13, 11am, RedLine 2350 Arapahoe Street- Tom “Dr. Colorado” Noel will have a free slide presentation titled “Curtis Park: Denver’s Pioneer Streetcar Suburb”. Tom will also have a selection of his acclaimed publications on Colorado and Denver history available for sale and to autograph. The lecture is free. Tickets for the Curtis Park Home Tour are $15/$12 for Historic Denver members. Proceeds benefit Curtis Park Neighbors, inc.
Sunday, September 14, 11am, RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street – Phil Goodstein, author and historian, will present a free lecture on the Jewish history of Curtis Park and will have his brand new book available and for signing, “Curtis Park, Five Points, and Beyond – the Heart of Historic East Denver”
Lecture is free. Tickets for the Curtis Park Home Tour are $15/$12 for Historic Denver members. Proceeds benefit Curtis Park Neighbors, inc.
Notable Facts About Curtis Park
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- Denver’s first streetcars were pulled by horses into Curtis Park (Denver’s first streetcar suburb!). The original facility for storing the horses and streetcars still stands at 33rd and Arapahoe and is now home to the Posner Center for International Development
- Denver’s first city park – Curtis Park, at 31st and Curtis, was donated to the City in 1868 and named after Denver pioneer Samuel Curtis
- Japanese-Americans made Curtis Park and greater Five Points their home after Governor Carr declared that they were welcome in Colorado following President Roosevelt’s executive order requiring all Japanese-American residents on the west coast to be moved inland to relocation camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
- Jack Kerouac wrote about the ball field at 23rd and California Street in “On the Road;” Neal Cassady lived in Curtis Park for a period. His father’s barbershop was at 2558 Champa Street and the family lived in the back of the shop for period.
- The funeral for Frances Wisebart Jacobs (1843-1892), instrumental in the founding of United Way and National Jewish Hospital, was held at Temple Emmanuel at 24th and Curtis Street. Jacobs is the only woman memorialized in stained glass in the Colorado State Capitol dome
- Curtis Park was Denver’s first neighborhood to placed on the National Register of Historic Places
- Eight Denver Landmark Districts are located in Curtis Park offering protection for more than 500 homes
- Curtis Park contains the greatest concentration of Italianate residential architecture in Denver.
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