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Lincoln Park, immediately south of Colfax Avenue, follows the same west and east boundaries as Auraria, with Sixth Avenue as its southern boundary.
Not the first city to be imagined near the Platte and Cherry Creek a distinction owed to the almost altogether unrealized St. Charles City , Auraria is perhaps the best claimant to being the heart of Denver. By , a modest number of cabins and other buildings, host to a variety of businesses, had been established. And a still grander future for Auraria was imagined. 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 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 s. Mills, breweries, warehouses, and other commercial enterprises sat alongside homes for working-class and middle-class families and rooming houses for single working men.
In time, Auraria became a distinctly working-class neighborhood, peopled first by residents of old immigrant populations, and, after floods in the s and s, by a large and growing population of Central and Eastern European immigrants and their children. More extensive urban rail networks, followed by the advent of the automobile, matched the desire of many to move to new suburban homes outside an older, central core.
Employed in various industries, these new residents of Auraria were variously from long-established Hispanic communities in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, or relatively recent arrivals from Mexico. Householder directories of the decades from the s through the s reveal a preponderance of Hispanic surnames, with a smattering of households reminiscent of earlier residents, and durable connections to a place and its charms.
As Magdalena Gallegos has so eloquently observed, "The lives of the Spanish-speaking peoples of Auraria revolved around their church. This was the place where they met weekly, made friends, and watched their children grow. It was the weekly social. The Hispanic people did not have much at that time; they did not have a public institution where they could mix and feel important. In June , a devastating flood put much of Auraria underwater when the South Platte River spilled its banks after more than a foot of rain.
As a result, the city undertook a comprehensive examination of the neighborhood and its circumstances, and began consideration of a comprehensive urban redevelopment.
Money to buy land and relocate residents from the federal government, specifically Housing and Urban Development HUD , was matched by a bond approved by a majority of Denver voters.
Father Peter Garcia of St. Relocations were complete by ; the Auraria campus was completed in Negotiations with the development agencies led to a groundbreaking in , and shortly after the area had been added as a Historic Site to the National Register and declared a Denver Landmark. A duplex, once the home of the fourth Israeli prime minister, Golda Meir, during her brief but important time in Denver with her sister and brother-in-law, was also relocated to the Ninth Street Historic Park.
Plate 03 The Auraria neighborhood is well known for the Auraria Campus. However, the neighborhood its self is very expansive and diverse containing many different businesses, parks, museums, religious and historical buildings. With the southern boundary along West Colfax Ave, running north along North Speer Boulevard and running south along the South Platte River the neighborhood forms a cone like shape.
All rights reserved. Golda Meir, as Israeli Prime Minister, epitomized the image of leadership. Through sheer determination and will power, Meir fought tenaciously for her chosen homeland in a field usually dominated by men. Moreover, Meir encouraged the idea among many that world leaders could develop from the lowest economic and most ethnic of environments. Born Goldie Mabovitch in Kiev, Russia, in , Golda Meir fled with her family to the United States in to avoid religious persecution, eventually settling in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The residence, a duplex off of West Colfax Avenue on Julian Street, although small, became a center of sorts in Denver for Jewish immigrants of Russian descent, many of whom who had sought treatment in the Mile High City for tuberculosis. At the home, amid the discussions of politics, Meir developed her values and beliefs.
She also met her future husband Morris Meyerson. Golda quickly became active in politics and helped to establish the state of Israel. The building stood empty until when it was learned that the house faced imminent destruction. Numerous citizen and preservationists groups began to raise funds to find a use for the duplex.
Golda Meir House Relocation Preparation plans never came to fruition and, in , the duplex was moved once again a short distance away on West Louisiana Avenue. During this time the house experienced attacks by fire and tornado, numerous episodes of vandalism, and frequent attempts at demolition by the city of Denver. By , with support from various devoted individuals and organizations, the duplex made its final move to the Auraria Campus.
The building received Denver Landmark Preservation Commission status in With the Rocky Mountain Brewery founded a year before a rivalry developed between the two breweries. As both breweries changed names their competition continued as Sigi made improvements to his Brewery. However, his improvements to the Brewery would cease in when Sigi was killed when his horses were frightened and overturned the carriage he was riding in.
During the time Melsheimer operated the Brewery he added the corner building, the Turn Halle Opera House, and adjoining building, and the main tower building. As Melsheimer expanded the Brewery he has hit with a series of personal misfortunes. Kent would then pass away three years later. After their marriage LoRaine made her new husband President of the Tivoli but eventually cut him out of her will after infidelities on his part.
Her death set off a long and lengthy legal battle between Vichegonov and attorneys for the estate. Eventually the lawsuit was settled with undisclosed terms. As the new beer began to take off Brewery workers went on strike for six weeks. This strike seriously crippled the Tivoli. On April 25, , with only half the operating staff from four years previously the Tivoli-Union Brewery closed its doors. After being abandoned for eight years the Tivoli Brewery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in Eventually the entire complex was renovated and is now the Student Center on the Auraria Campus.
The lowlands between the Platte River and Cherry Creek had always been home to immigrants and working class poor, small business and industry. It was a vibrant, colorful, diverse ethnic mix.
By the s it was still diverse but heavily Hispanic. While the neighborhood lacked in material goods, they were rich in tradition, kinship, culture, community. In the city changed the zoning designation to prohibit the construction of new residential housing. At the same time legislators and planners began to realize that the need for higher education opportunities and facilities in the Denver Metro area would be acute by the time the baby boom generation reached college age.
In addition, business and industry were clamoring for a better educated workforce. A cynical person might speculate that the existence of a working class poor neighborhood — and Hispanic at that — on the very edge of a glittering new downtown was underutilizing the potential of the area.
Seventeen sites were considered but study after study identified the Westside Auraria neighborhood as the most feasible site for the educational complex. On Tuesday, November 4, it passed with 52 percent of the vote. But everyone does. Even the church. Recognizing their sacrifice the descendants of those residents whose homes were taken are eligible for Displaced Aurarian Scholarships at all three schools.
Those graduates have enriched not only their own community but the larger community as well. Out of the Westside experience grew the Coalition for the Betterment of the Westside, the New West Side Economic Development Corporation and other activist groups - all of which led to a larger and lasting Hispanic political presence.
The audience always erupts in cheers. And so their story continues.
Lincoln Park, immediately south of Colfax Avenue, follows the same west and east boundaries as Auraria, with Sixth Avenue as its southern boundary. Not the first city to be imagined near the Platte and Cherry Creek a distinction owed to the almost altogether unrealized St. Charles City , Auraria is perhaps the best claimant to being the heart of Denver. By , a modest number of cabins and other buildings, host to a variety of businesses, had been established. And a still grander future for Auraria was imagined. 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 and the establishment of a single urban entity: Denver.
Auraria Neighborhood History