The original wealthy families living in the Town of Highlands preferred to “look down” at the City of Denver from their homes on an elevated ridge west of the city. By day they made their money in the city, but retreated to the Town of Highland to their family in the evenings. With the development of Capitol Hill to the east of Downtown Denver, most of Highland’s wealthy residents relocated. An influx of European immigrants during the late 1800’s settled in the abandoned Highlands. The 1960’s again saw an exodus of residents for the suburbs. With decreasing real estate values, the 1990’s saw a resurgence of artists moving back to the Highlands, most notably in the “lower” section of the Highlands closes to I-25 and the Downtown. As young urban professionals followed, the acronym “LoHi” for Lower Highland took hold.
The South Platte River, the Denver Union Station rail yards built in the late-1800’s, and Interstate-25 built in the late-1950’s created physical barriers making access to Downtown Denver problematic. In recent years, the Millennium Bridge was constructed over the rail yards, the Platte Pedestrian Bridge spanned the South Platte River, and the Highland Bridge was built over Interstate-25. Today, you can walk from the Highland neighborhood to the Riverfront Park, LoDo and Downtown neighborhoods.
LoHi (Lower Highland) is in closest proximity to the Highland Bridge and is the area that has seen the most dramatic renewal. Many old buildings have been renovated or converted into coffee houses, cafes, shops, offices, restaurants, and condo loft living space. This area has maintained its old-world charm and is popular with the urban city crowd.
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