The History of Denver: The Spirits of South Broadway

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The History of Denver: The Spirits of South Broadway
Series Title:
The History of Denver: The Spirits of South Broadway
Janssen, Bill
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Center for Colorado and the West
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Auraria Library
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Auraria Library
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The History of Denver: The Spirits of South Broadway | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 1:10:23 PM] Home The History of Denver: The Spirits of South BroadwayThe History of Denver: The Spirits of South BroadwaySubmitted by cowestadmin on 9-26-2009 08:49 PMAuthor: Phil Goodstein Publishing: Denver: New Social Publications, 2008. vi + 298 pages, index by address, general index. A Note on Sources for each chapter, photos, maps, drawings. 6" x 9". $19.95 paperback. Reviewer: Bill Janssen Phil Goodsteins The Spirits of South Broadway explores historical highlights along the South Broadway corridor. The title primes the reader with the expectation of a good yarn. The Denver author and tour guide has released a dozen or so books on the city of Denver and its surroundings. The best of Goodsteins books, The Ghosts of Denver: Capitol Hill or The Seamy Side of Denver, are compendiums of research surrounded by admirable descriptions of Denver city lore. With this book, the author takes aim at one of Denvers most popular streets. While extensively researched, sadly nothing in this volume rises to meet the informative quality and readability of his earlier books. Like the apparitions Goodstein purports to enshrine, historical subjects and lists of facts flit in and out, appearing and disappearing, almost always in search of a narrative. Goodsteins attention to detail, his fondness for the most arcane facts and digging deeply into his subjects is unparalleled. It is just these qualities that torpedo his latest effort. Constructed with factoid upon factoid, The Spirits of South Broadway provides few engaging descriptions of the area. This first volume in a projected three-book series about the history of south Denver, The Spirits of South Broadway nearly suffocates itself. In pinpointing Ku Klux Klan activity in the chapter A Religious Community, the author lists every single address where known Klansmen lived, rattling off a list of at least eighty-five addresses: A sampling of addresses near First Avenue Presbyterian, for example, shows Klan members at 35, 50, 130, 135, 138, 145, 147, 238 and 242 West First Avenue. Klansmen were also at 220 and 253 Acoma Street, 17, 19, 25,45, 91, 95,and 213 Bannock Street, 48, 50, and 138 West Second Avenue, 136, 140, 141, and 150 West 3rd Avenue, and 102, 107, 112, 120, and 243 West Fourth Avenue. West Irvington Place had Klansmen at 105, 124, 127, 138, 200, 212, 240, and 252. Members of the masked marauders were at 37, 42, 62, 109, 119, 122, 123, 133, 135, and 144 West Ellsworth Avenue. (139) Goodstein goes on to cite as many addresses again in his very next paragraph. This and other passages led this reader to ask What is the purpose of this book? There is no argument, in essence, no story, merely a succession of historical bits. The author also misses the mark when describing some of the redevelopment along the South Broadway corridor. Goodstein states that the architects of the Watermark project, located at 410 Acoma Street, 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 AmericanNow, thats wrong! Some of these Japanese are citizens of the United States. Colorado Gov. Ralph Carrs response to Executive Order 9066 forcing Japanese into internment camps during WWII.


The History of Denver: The Spirits of South Broadway | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 1:10:23 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us acquired the Chittenden Mansion and proposed demolishing it for a fifteento twenty-story high rise (95). In fact, the historic Chittenden Mansion, at 51 West Fourth Avenue, was never scheduled to be demolished. Fentress Architects had always intended to restore the mansion as an anchor for their development of the Watermark. Goodstein does manage to reclaim some of his former fire at times. The chapter The Miracle Mile recalls the development of the Fleming Block on Broadway: In 1890, Jesse and Calvin Fleming moved into an elaborate office block as their administrative quarters at 68-74 Broadway. Referred to as the Fleming Block or Fleming Hill, the building subsequently had a variety of names. In the 1910s, it was Sullivan Hall, the site of both a mortuary and a dance hall. In June 1920, it became Heidbrak Hall for the Heidbrak Brothers, a wallpaper supply business previously located at 83 Broadway. That firm, incidentally, was a major stockholder in Broadway Bank in partnership with the Fleming Brothers.(148-149) Goodsteins many photographs add a nostalgic dimension to this paperback. Images from the Colorado Historical Society and elsewhere, as well as photos from his own collection, augment the book. They are a welcome addition. Rather than giving the reader a creepy chronicle, The Spirits of South Broadway reveals itself as a compendium of cobwebs that obfuscates the history of this intriguing major artery of Denver. The book suffers the usual problems of such schemes the seemingly random selection and interpretation of facts fit into a tired old pattern absent storytelling. Reviewer Info: Bill Janssen is a former professional musician who has reinvented himself yet again as a historian, photographer, and writer. He lives in Denver with his wife, Carolyne, and two daughters. Add new comment