A Brief History of South Denver & University Park

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University Park was founded in the 1880s when the University of Denver (Colorado Seminary) moved from downtown Denver to land donated by potato farmer Rufus Clark. The University, founded by Methodists, wanted to escape the urban blight of the city and build an oasis for education. Liquor production or consumption was not allowed, and though today the area has many pubs a number of home mortgages to this day contain old covenants forbidding the making or selling of spirits. Around University Park grew the town of South Denver, which was annexed to the city of Denver in the early twentieth century. For many years in the late 1800s the primary employer was the University of Denver, but over time others moved into the area for its attractive homes and well respected schools. The area has traditionally been upper middle class and has enjoyed one of the lowest crime rates in the city. At the geographic center of University Park is Observatory Park, named for the famous Chamberlain Observatory, built in the 1890s and still fully operational with popular public viewing nights. In the early part of the century Colorado Governor Henry Buchtel lived in the park, as did a number of famed early DU faculty such as Ammi Hyde, who beat the freshman boys in an annual foot race well into his 90's. The area boomed after World War II as many from other parts of the country who were stationed in Colorado chose to remain and make it their home. The area has remained prosperous and continues to grow, sharing in the overall success that the Denver metro area has experienced.
ISBN: 9781609492335
Format: Paperback
Publisher: The History Press
State: Colorado
Series: Brief History
Images: 52
Pages: 160
Dimensions: 6 (w) x 9 (h)
Steve Fisher is associate professor/curator of archives/special collections at the Penrose Library, University of Denver, a position he has held since 1981. He holds an MA in history and an MLS in library science from Case Western Reserve University. He teaches courses on preservation and rare book librarianship in the School Librarianship at DU and has written numerous articles on South Denver history. In 2009, his book University Park and South Denver was published. He is a past president of the Society of Rocky Mountain Archivists. His hobbies are visiting used book sales and trying out new restaurants. He is married to Kate Fisher, and they have two children, Matt and Bridget, and two grandchildren, Riley and Madelyn.
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