City Park West


City Park West is bordered by 23rd Avenue to the North,  Colfax Avenue to the South, York Street to the East, and Downing Street  to the West.

Opportunities for outdoor recreation, cultural enrichment, gainful  employment, or just hanging out at a favorite corner pub or coffee house  abound in City Park West, one of Denver’s more diverse neighborhoods,  where an eclectic mix of young and old, blue collar types,  professionals, students and teachers, singles and families, and myriad  of ethnicities intermingle to the betterment of all.

Perhaps nothing defines this fascinating melting pot community more  than the Annual City Park Festival of the Arts held in May at the  historic Pavilion on Ferril Lake. Said by locals to express the “art and  soul” of the neighborhood, the festival draws more than 150 artists and  craftspeople in an “incredible display of talent and locally produced  fine art and crafts, at once-a-year prices.”

Two stages offer a thrilling non-stop spectacular of music (from Rock  to Salsa, Hip Hop to Swing), dance, martial arts, poetry slams, and  performance art. Exhibitors at the most recent festival included several  galleries from the Santa Fe Arts District.

Settlement of City Park West began early, spurred by the inauguration  (in 1874) of streetcar service on diagonally oriented Park Avenue.  Other lines soon followed between 13th and 34th Avenues, further  accelerating development. Tourists often camped and square danced in  City Park before it was closed to overnight visitors after the onset of  the Great Depression.

City Park, at 317 acres, the largest of Denver’s parks, underwent  numerous improvements during the halcyon days of Mayor Speer’s City  Beautiful program. Ferril Lake was dredged and graced with an  illuminated fountain, a buggy-racing track platted, the Neoclassical  Museum of Natural History built, and numerous cottonwoods planted by  schoolchildren. By 1904, the Denver Zoo had been established.

In addition to classic bungalows, Denver Squares, and contemporary  condos and townhomes, City Park West boasts a treasure trove of historic  homes dating from the heady Silver Boom days (1880 to 1893). Notables  include the handsome Richardsonian Romanesque Castle Marne Bed and  Breakfast, fashioned from rusticated rhyolite trimmed with limestone,  and the three-story Beaux-Arts mansion (the Smith House), at the Corner  of 18th Avenue and York Street. Close by, the Denver Museum of  Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys occupies a charming Dutch Colonial home done  in brick with a full-length front porch supported by paired columns.

City Park West offers an abundance of employment opportunities within  a five-minute radius by car and within easy walking distance for those  who prefer to live New York style and leave their vehicles at home.

The complex of hospitals near 18th and Franklin: Saint Joseph’s,  Children’s Hospital, Presbyterian-Saint Luke’s, Kaiser Permanente, along  with nearby medical suppliers, doctor’s offices, and  alternative-health-care facilities, employ nearly 10,000 workers. A few  blocks farther west is Denver’s central business district, municipal and  state office buildings, and the cultural center anchored by the Central  Library, Denver Art Museum, and Colorado Historical Museum.

“City Park West has the look and feel of a traditional family  neighborhood,” says one long-time resident. “Neighbors really get to  know one another on walks and while visiting from their front porches.  Meanwhile, you’re close to downtown and great shopping at Cherry Creek.  The classic older homes lend a certain grandeur to the community, while  the genuine period craftsmanship is a wonder to behold.”

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