Denvers Capitol Hill Neighborhood | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/denvers-capitol-hill-neighborhood[12/8/2015 12:41:04 PM] Home Denvers Capitol Hill NeighborhoodDenvers Capitol Hill NeighborhoodSubmitted by jainlayconley on 8-27-2010 02:18 PMAuthor: Amy Zimmer Publishing: Arcadia Publishing, 2009. 127 pages. Black and white photos, drawings, bibliography, index. 6-1/2 x 9-1/4. $21.99 paperback. Reviewer: J. Wendel Cox Reviewer Affiliation: Western History and Genealogy, Denver Public Library Arcadia Publishings Images of America series is a familiar presence in bookstores and libraries, with its attractive presentation of local and regional history through photographs and other images. The range of places and themes Arcadia publications explore is remarkable, and currently some 6,500 volumes in the Images of America and other related series are available for every state in the Union, with the curious exception of Alaska. Understandably, for such a large and eclectic catalog, the quality of individual volumes varies considerably, with nostalgic, or even sentimental, depictions of the past commonplace. Happily, Amy Zimmers Denvers Capitol Hill Neighborhood, an engaging account of one of Denvers most significant districts, is one of the better examples of the Images of America series and its potential as a vehicle for presenting the American experience. Drawing from personal collections, collections at the Colorado Historical Society and the Denver Public Librarys Western History and Genealogy Department, and the remarkable Progressive-era publication Denver Municipal Facts Zimmer presents delightful, varied, and informative images of Capitol Hill, its namesake capitol, its homes, institutions, and its residents, to chronicle more than a century of a neighborhood in constant creation. Neighborhood boundaries are notoriously contentious, and official descriptions are often exercises in questionable choices. Zimmers broad but sensible definition has Capitol Hill within the bounds of Lincoln Street, Sixth Avenue, Colorado Boulevard, and Twentieth Avenue, which allows her to bring together a compelling range of people and institutions central to the neighborhoods history, and to demonstrate their close connection in Denvers past. Indeed, Capitol Hill may be the quintessential Denver neighborhood, with its streets a collage of Denvers growth and development, and its people a remarkable representation of the Queen Citys community. Zimmer begins with the capitol itself, its construction, and its history as the seat of state government. Subsequent chapters address homes, public and private institutions, Colfax Avenue, parks, and community. Zimmers captions move informatively and elegantly from image to image, making for an engaging history of the neighborhoodespecially its earliest years in her chapter entitled At Home on Capitol Hill. Zimmers captions move informatively and elegantly from image to image, building, family, and experience, to bring together an engaging history of the neighborhood, most especially with its earliest years in her chapter entitled At Home on Capitol Hill. Ironically, the neighborhoods remove from Denver EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanThe Ute people have lived in Colorado longer than anyone else.
Denvers Capitol Hill Neighborhood | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/denvers-capitol-hill-neighborhood[12/8/2015 12:41:04 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us made for its initial popularity, a fact Zimmer beautifully illustrates with early images of open spaces and a central business district remote in the distance. Distance became a mark of distinction, and attracted the affluent who built remarkable mansions and, later, more modest middle-class residents and their homes. A substantial portion of images deal with the neighborhoods grand homes and their residents. As times, fashions, and fortunes changed, the character of Capitol Hill changed. The neighborhood became a mixture of haves and have-nots, a place where the citys most and least affluent sometimes live within a few doors of each other. Homes of the rich and prominent declined, and many were rehabilitated or demolished; and, as Zimmer makes plain, demolition and preservation tie together historic and contemporary Capitol Hill. Nonetheless, the neighborhoods postWorld War II history is in little evidence here. This unfortunate fact likely has less to do with Zimmers conscious shaping of the book than the limitations of collections available to her. For all its strengths, the photograph collection at Denver Public Library (estimated at some 600,000 images) for the latter half of the twentieth century pales in comparison to the breadth and depth of its images for earlier eras in Denvers history. Zimmers last chapter is perhaps her least successful, with an assortment of individuals and institutions seemingly left over from the earlier chapter entitled Mind, Body, and Spirit. Ultimately, nostalgia and romance can make the Images of America series easy to dismiss. Zimmers Denvers Capitol Hill Neighborhood stands as a counterpoint, with its thoughtful selections, and a complex story told through imagery and accompanying text. Readers would be right to feel that chapter topics here could be turned into additional books, especially one on Colfax Avenue. I suspect Zimmer would agree, and we will be rewarded if she undertakes those efforts. Or perhaps a book on Alaska? Reviewer Info: J. Wendel Cox is senior special collection librarian in the Western History and Genealogy Department at the Denver Public Library. Add new comment