Denver’s Washington Park

Material Information

Denver’s Washington Park
Series Title:
Denver’s Washington Park
Barnhouse, Mark
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Center for Colorado and the West
Publication Date:

Record Information

Source Institution:
Auraria Library
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text


Denvers Washington Park | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/7/2015 3:27:23 PM] Home Denvers Washington ParkDenvers Washington ParkSubmitted by CLEAVITT on 7-12-2014 03:29 PMAuthor: Sarah O. McCarthy Publishing: McCarthy, Sarah O. Denvers Washington Park Charleston, SC: ArcadiaPublishing, 2014. 127 pages. Black-and-white photographs. 6 x 9. $21.99 paperback. Reviewer: Mark Barnhouse Neighborhood activist Sarah O. McCarthys passion for her community, the Washington Park neighborhood of Denver, shows on every page of Denvers Washington Park, her contribution to Arcadia Publishings Images of America series. Long active in the historic preservation community, McCarthy has tapped into her extensive network of contacts to assemble a collection of photographs and engravings (and one watercolor) that, for the most part, have never previously appeared in a book. The Arcadia format, prioritizing images, does not allow for extensive narrative sections, but McCarthy conveys the areas history and sense of community well, through short chapter introductions and captions. The Washington Park story is divided into five chapters. The first two, Broadway Terrace and Myrtle Hill, are geographic in nature, covering the areas that today are more commonly known as West Washington Park and East Washington Park, respectively (although in recent years, Broadway Terrace has come back into vogue, applied primarily to Broadway and the streets close to it). She stretches the southwestern boundary just a bit past what most people consider Washington Park, to include the Gates Rubber factory, employer of so many of the neighborhoods residents for much of the twentieth century. In the third chapter, City Beautiful, McCarthy illustrates the ways in which that early twentieth-century movement manifested itself in South Denver: the development and design (first under Reinhard Schuetze, later under Denvers master landscape architect, Saco R. DeBoer) of Washington Park itself; Mayor Robert W. Speers many contributions, including the Marion Street Parkway, Steele Elementary School, the Dos Chappell Bathhouse, the Boating Pavilion, and the removal of the Keep off the Grass signs; and the picturesque siting of South High School near the parks southeastern corner. Chapter Four, South High School, tells the story of one of Denvers four cardinal directionally named schools, beginning with the original location (later Grant Junior High School), and progressing to the iconic 1926 Fisher and Fisherdesigned Romanesque Revival structure that is still in use today. Finally, the fifth chapter, South Side Improvement Society, ties the areas long history of active community participation to the present, showing how, over its 130-year history, Washington Parks residents have always taken pride in, and worked to improve, their neighborhood. For this reviewer, a graduate of South High, the fourth chapter holds much interest. McCarthy worked closely with the South High School Alumni Association to obtain photographs from their archive, along with images taken from early yearbooks. Taken together, these portray a kind of timeless high school experience, no different now, in most ways (race 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 AmericanIn 1893, Colorado became the first state in the union to allow women the right to vote through popular election.


Denvers Washington Park | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/7/2015 3:27:23 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us excepted--the school was lily white in those years) from 1930 or 1950. Given the prominence of the gun control debate in todays political climate, its fascinating to see on page 101 three girls practicing marksmanship in the schools basement rifle range. McCarthy includes the stories of two notable alumni: Bert Stiles, World War II fighter pilot and author of the aviation classic Serenade to the Big Bird; and former broadcaster and Rocky Mountain News columnist Gene Amole. A neighborhood history cannot be just the story of its buildings or institutions; it must include its people. One of the books strengths is McCarthys incorporation of family stories, as told through images taken from those families own collections. The images of the Bushman family on pages 46 and 47 evoke a sense of the real lives of Washington Park at mid-twentieth century, and photos of the Washington Park Market on pages 51 to 53, provided by longtime owners the Hughes family, offer a sense of what buying local meant at a time when local wasnt just a buzzword, but meant actually knowing, over the course of years, your grocer and the butcher who cut the meat you served to your family. McCarthy has selected a number of images that surprise the reader with details that may not be noticeable to a person passing by, such as the unique Captains House on South Downing Street (23) or the signs of the zodiac that substitute for numbers on the tower clock at South High (93). Also valuable are her inclusions of artistry that may not be visible to the general public, except perhaps during the annual Doors Open Denver event, such as the Allen Tupper True mural in the kindergarten room at Steele Elementary (75). Taken together, the images selected by Sarah McCarthy for Denvers Washington Park provide the reader with a great sense of the areas history, institutions, buildings, and people. Reviewer Info: Mark Barnhouse is a graduate of the history program at the University of Colorado Denver. He is the author of three books: Denvers Sixteenth Street and Northwest Denver both published by Arcadia Publishing, and the forthcoming Lost Denver .