Denver was founded in the 1850s in today’s downtown close to the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. It was gold that first attracted people. Next came the railroads as they expanded west from Chicago and St Louis. By the 1880s, Denver’s downtown was bustling with activity. Factories and storehouses were being built between downtown and the river.
As highway and airway transportation began to replace railway transportation, the factories and storehouses began to be abandoned. In the 1960s and 1970s, buildings were demolished and replaced with skyscrapers as was happening elsewhere around the country.
Twenty-million square feet of office space, hotels, convention space, and corporate headquarters certainly define Denver’s Downtown just like so many other “downtowns”. What is different about Denver’s Downtown is its vibrant urban residential element.
The Denver city council of the 1980s observed that the rich history of Denver was being torn-down brick-by-brick, building-by-building. They created the Lower Downtown Historic District in 1988 to encourage the preservation and renovation of the old buildings that represented Denver’s past. This 27-block area included 120 historic buildings mostly under 5-stories in height. It took just a little over 20-years, but every one of these buildings has been renovated and converted.
Based on the success of the first large-scale historic district, the Ballpark Historic District was created in 2002 encompassing another 20-blocks. This area is undergoing a similar rebirth.
If you live in Downtown Denver, you have walking access to seemingly limitless cafes, coffee houses, boutique shops, music clubs, entertainment venues, cultural facilities, and much more. You need not drive your car, as public buses and light-rail transportation opportunities are always close at hand.
Live. Work. Play. This is today’s Downtown Denver.
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