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History of the Hispanic settlers in Auraria : the forgotten community

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History of the Hispanic settlers in Auraria : the forgotten community
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Gallegos, Magdalena
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Denver, CO
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English

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Auraria Library
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Auraria Library
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Copyright [name of copyright holder or Creator or Publisher as appropriate]. Permission granted to University of Colorado Denver to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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HISTORY OF THE HISPANIC SETTLERS IN AURARIA: THE FORGOTTEN COMMUNITY
By
Magdalena Gallegos
@ Copyright 1985


HISTORY OF THE HISPANIC SETTLERS IN AURARIA 1916 to 1972
Auraria was the birthplace of Denver back in 1858. It is indeed an historic site and many versions have been written about its past.
I would like to add to the historical writings by celebrating the Hispanic community who settled in the area. I was born at 943% Tenth Street, in the heart of Auraria. My roots are embedded deeply in the little community I called home. I am concerned with preserving the history of a people and a place. It was a living, vital community for many years. I write about people and places for I believe that places do not make history without people.
Auraria was the first permanent settlement in what is now Denver.
William Greeneberry Russell, his brothers, Levi and Oliver, with a
small party of eleven found gold nearby in July, 1858.' After that, they
staked out Auraria, which was west of Cherry Creek by the Platte River.
A group of Arapahoe Indians were settled on the land when the gold 2
rushers arrived. Russell collaborated with John Smith, a trader who had married an Arapahoe woman. Smith claimed ownership of the land through his marriage.
On October 30, 1858, the Auraria Town Company was formed. Dr.
Levi Russell called it Auraria after his home town in Georgia. Auraria
3
comes from the Latin word meaning gold.
On his way back home, to visit his family, Russell met a man named William Larimer. Larimer liked to be called "The General." He had earned the title while he was in the Pennsylvania State Militia.


He carried the title with him even after he was no longer in the
military. In 1858, Larimer jumped a claim known as the St. Charles.
It was located on the east side of Cherry Creek. He named his settle-4
ment Denver.
On December 14, 1859, Larimer crossed the Platte River and put down a stake on a hill. He called this site Highland® because it rose high above the lower valley of Auraria. There were now three separate settlements.
The three settlements finally were merged to become one town called Denver on April 5, 1860. From then on, Auraria became known as West Denver and Highland became North Denver.®
By 1860, Denver had become a city of 4,749. Many of the people had come from the Midwest. They came from Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio.^
A number of German and Irish immigrants settled in Auraria in the late 1880's.® They built homes and churches. The architecture of the homes built during this time period were Victorian.^ Construction of St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Auraria started in 1887. This church was to serve the German population living in Auraria at the time.1^ St. Leo's Catholic Church was built also in 1887 for the Irish population in the area. In 1926, St. Cajetan Catholic
Church was built to serve the Hispanic people who were arriving in
11
Denver at that time.
Although the Spanish first explored, named and settled much of Colorado, large numbers of Mexican and Spanish settlers did not arrive in Denver until after 1900. Most settled in or around Auraria. Before we can go directly to the Hispanics in Auraria, we must first go back
2.


in history to see what forces guided them there.
Spanish history in the southwest is laced with realism, myths and legends. The most famous legend, "The Seven Cities of Cibola," or the Seven Cities of Gold as some called it, was a point in history which triggered the move of the Spaniards and Mexicans northward.
Agneda Lopez Stoner, a former resident of Auraria, told me that her ancestors came from Seville, Spain. Agneda can trace her history back to the Spanish leader, Cortes, in the 1500S, and also to the
12
famous Spanish Explorer of the American Southwest, Cabeza de Vaca.
Hernan Cortes conquered Mexico between 1519 and 1522. During
an expedition in 1528, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, his black slave
Estevan and a few other companions were shipwrecked off the Texas 13
coast. They wandered around for eight years. While sitting around camp fires, they heard stories from the Indians of lost cities paved with gold and houses made of tourquoise. When the expedition finally reached the settlements of Sonora and Sinaloa, the stories had grown out of proportion. The Spaniards felt that the Seven Cities of Gold were destined to become their new conquest."^
The first expedition to be sent out in search of the gold and treasures started in 1539. A missionary, Fray Marcos de Niza, was chosen to lead the expedition. Cabeza de Vaca's slave Estevan was sent out ahead to scout the area. He ended up being killed by the Indians. Some say he was killed because he was thought to be a spy. Other thoughts are that he had been going around seducing the Indian women. ^
The tired explorers found nothing but when they were ready to return to Mexico, Fray Marcos de Niza saw the sunset over an Indian
3.


village in the horizon. The golden rays of the sun totally con-
16
vinced him that the dream of the seven cities was true.
Many explorers followed the dream and Don Francisco Vasquez de
Coronado was one. In 1540, he led an expedition to the Southwest.
His fabulous dream cities of Cibola crumbled and a great dissapoint-
ment faced the expedition when they found the first city, Hawikuh,
to be nothing more than a poor, crowded village.^
While searching for the seven cities of gold, Coronado sent
expeditions in all directions. It is believed that one expedition
reached the Royal Gorge. But it was Zebulon Pike who received credit
18
for its discovery.
Juan de Zaldivar was sent in search of a lost expedition party
in the late 1590s. While he was searching, he came upon and explored
19
the San Luis Valley.
According to L.W. Storrs, it is believed that Juan de Onate also
20
explored the San Luis Valley and the vicinity of Denver.
After exploration for gold proved fruitless, the direction for
expeditions turned to civilizing, taming and converting the Indians.
This led to Indian Rebellions in the 1680s. This rebellion cur-
21
tailed Spanish exploration and settlement for over a decade.
The Spanish military led expeditions against the Utas and Comanches. One expedition led by Governor Antonio Valverde y Cosio in 1719 was said to have reached the regions known as Colorado and Kansas. He heard rumors that the French were working with the Pawnee Indians. This upset the Spaniards, so Pedro de Villasur was sent with a hundred men to make a military survey of the enemy territory. This was in 1720. While he was on his way, he crossed
4.


through Colorado by way of the Platte River. He named it El Rio de Santa Maria. One night he was attacked by the Indians and the French as he camped by the river. Only a few Spaniards escaped.
This was the last recorded expedition of Spaniards into eastern Colorado.^
The southwest corner of Colorado was better known to the Spaniards.
23
They had mined the area for over fifty years. Proof of mining activities had been left in old mine tunnels. The tree rings could be traced back to 1726.^
Mr. Perry Eberhart, while gathering information for his book,
Treasure of the Rockies, discovered evidence that for two hundred
years, Spaniards had mined and had settlements in Colorado.^ Because
of the evidence found, it can be presumed that ancient mining took
place near Poncha Springs. Weapons, armour and antique mining
equipment were also found in the vicinity of the San Luis Valley.
One problem in trying to trace Spanish history in Colorado is the
lack of written or recorded journals. But it is evident that the
26
Spaniards came into Colorado in the 1700s.
Before 1803, the Spaniards were not interested in settling
land north of New Mexico. In 1846, there were over 100,000
Spanish Colonials in New Mexico. This land belonged to Mexico
and the people were considered Mexican citizens. The United
States took this land from Mexico during the Mexican American War.
28
The war ended with the Treaty of Hidalgo on March 10, 1848.
Although the Treaty of Hidalgo offered United States citizenship,
the people from New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and California were
pq
often treated as second class citizens.
5.


Not until the Spaniards felt the encrouchment of the "Americanos"
did they venture to settle in Colorado. Settlement would be their
sign of right of possession. They also needed settlements along the
30
border of Northern New Mexico for protection from the Indians.
In 1819, the Spaniards constructed a fort to keep outsiders from their territory. It was situated near an old Spanish trail which
later was called the Sangre de Cristo Trail near present day Wal-
, 31
senburg.
The Indians continued to raid villages in northern New Mexico
and the San Luis Valley throughout the 1800s. The people got together
and appealed for protection. That was when large tracts of land were
given to those people who promised to establish colonies. This land
was between the Taos and Arkansas river. These Mexican land grants
were known as the: Vigil and St. Vrain Grant; the Gervacio Nolan Grant;
32
the Tierra Amarilla Grant; and the Sangre de Cristo Grant.
From 1848 to 1900, most of these land grants were lost. The Spanish
peasants were unfamiliar with the U.S. Tax system. Some of the land
33
grants were sold for unpaid taxes that people had never heard of.
Other land grants were lost through an inheritance rule. Isabel Benavidez, a resident of Parker, Colorado, told me of such an incident.
Her family had Spanish land grants. She has a male relative in New Mexico who still owns some of this land. In her words, "None of the women in my family ever inherited any of the land. The grants were always handed
down to the oldest surviving male in the family. The only way a woman
34
could become part of a land grant was to marry a man who had one."
Agneda Lopez Stoner said that her ancestors also had Spanish land
grants that were lost to the oldest surviving sons.
6.


In some cases, family names were lost. Boys were often separated
from their families in the late 1800s by being kidnapped. Francisco
Benavidez, husband of Isabel, related, "My great grandfather Lorenzo
was stolen by the Comanche Indians. He was then sold to a Benavidez
family. I think his real name was Damas and that his father was a
36
Spanish soldier, but there is no way to be sure." Because of these kidnappings, it has been hard for many people to trace their ancestry.
••Olibama Lopez Tushar talks about this in her book, The People of . . "El Valley".
"It was during this period that my grandfather Jose P. Lopez was captured by the Navajos."
She tells how her great grandfather, who lived in Abuquiu, took
his two sons to help him watch his flock of sheep. A band of Navajos
37
appeared, shot her great grandfather and stole the boys.
Helen Quezada-La Roe, a former resident of Auraria, traces her history on her mother's side to the first Spanish settlers. Her great grandfather was born in Abiquiu, New Mexico. His name was Jesus Martinez. He told the family stories about his mother. This is a story Helen related to me. "It seems that my great, great, grandmother traveled over water for a very long time. Then she traveled by ground for many, many days in a covered wagon. She ended up in New Mexico and finally went to
qo
the San Luis Valley."
Helen's grandfather lived to be 100 years old. She said that in
his father's house, they had an Indian who slept behind the stove. Helen
heard stories of Spaniards stealing Indian children for slaves. Then the
Indians would steal the Spanish children for the same reason. "You just
39
couldn't leave your children alone in those days," Helen told me.
7.


The Martinez family lived in two settlements around the San Luis Valley. Helen seems to think they were forts and that they settled there for protection.^
Another story Helen told was: "My mother's family had a neighbor
who came from Clovis, New Mexico. He had owned a lot of cattle. He
was stripped of his land and he was lucky to get away with his life.
I also heard stories of families being lined up and shot by Texans.
When people from the Valley went to Santa Fe, New Mexico to look for
the Archives, they couldn't find them. It was found out later that
41
they had been destroyed."
Helen boasted of her family's historical ties with Denver. "My
great, great grandfather on my mother's side, came to Denver as a young
man. The story was handed down that he brought lumber from the mountain
and built a big building on a hill." Helen and her family love to go to
the State Capitol because that is the building her great, great, grand-
42
father helped to build. The corner stone of the Colorado Capitol was laid July 4, 1890.43
By the start of the 1900s, economic conditions were bad for most
of the Mexican and Spanish people of the Southwest. From 1910 to 1921,
Mexico was in a state of revolution.44 People migrated north to escape
from the upheave!. They were tired of war. Some belonged to the sol-
dados and were being hunted. There were two groups of sol dados: The
liberating Army of the South led by Emiliano Zapata, and the Northern
45
Division commanded by Francisco Villa. Many Mexicans came to the
United States in order to survive the revolutionary wars.
My own family may serve as an example of the Hispanic immigration
pattern. I found out from my aunt Agneda Lopez Stoner that my grand-
8.


mother Lucy Lujan Torres was born in Chihuahua, Mexico. My grandfather
was Jose Torres and no one seems to know where he was born. My mother
Florence Torres Gallegos was born in Rhode, New Mexico in 1915. Her
oldest brother Bennie was born in 1906 at the same place. Bennie,
Vincent, Tom, Joe and Margaret were other children of Lucy and Jose
Torres. In 1918, my grandfather Jose died. The family moved to Greeley,
46
Colorado in 1919 to work in the beet fields.
My father Felix Gallegos was born in Via Nueva, New Mexico in 1912. His mother Pabla died when he was seven years old. He went to live with his mother's sister Romanita Duran. From Via Nueva, in 1919, they moved to Pueblo, Colorado. They lived in Bessemer, a Pueblo suburb next to the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company (C.F.& I.). The men in the family went to work for the steel mill. In 1920, the family moved to Florence, Colorado. They worked at the smelter and lived there until 1925. Then my father remembers agents coming to recruit people for beet field work. "They came from the Great Western Sugar Co. My family was enticed with a promise of more money. One of the family members decided to go. Things weren't so bad in Florence at the time, but when one person went, everyone followed," related my Father. So in 1925, they all ended up in Keensburg, Colorado working the beet fields.^ It was at that time that Great Western Sugar Company would take carloads of people from Old and New Mexico to work the beet fields in Colorado.
Another family that ended up in Keensburg was the Torres family.
My uncle Bennie was offered a foreman's job in Keensburg, Colorado. The
family moved to Keensburg in 1922. They worked there for about three
years, The older boys started to get married and move to Denver. Uncle
9.


of the activities at St. Cajetan revolved around music. We had plays there and all the Spanish girls sang in the choir. Actually, we participated at all three parishes in the neighborhood, St. Cajetan, St. Elizabeth and St. Leo's. I remember when Father Ordinas needed singers for a requiem mass during the week, he would go to St. Elizabeth's and
5
pull us out of classes to go sing. I was eight years old at the time.
The parish of St. Cajetan had its beginning when a mission was
preached in May, 1922, by Father Bartholomew Caldentey. The mission
was preached in St. Leo's Church, only three blocks from where the
church of St. Cajetan now stands. It was so successful and there were
so many people that the church of St. Leo's could not contain them.
53
That is when the idea of a new parish was born.
Services for the Spanish speaking people were allowed to continue at the basement of St. Leo's Church while arrangements for an establishment of a Spanish speaking church was being made. Father Caldentey was
the person who first contacted J.K. Mullen who eventually put up the
54
major monies to build St. Cajetan Church. St. Cajetan Church was completed and dedicated on March 21 , 1926.^
Nine years later, St. Cajetan school was dedicated.
"On Tuesday, June 29, at 3:30 p.m., 1937, scores of distinguished visitors, including the honored benefactors, the J.K. Mullen heirs and officials of the Colorado Milling and Elevator Co. attended the dedication of St. Cajetan School."56
An article in the Denver Catholic Register carried this article:
"Slum district being transformed in West Denver, through the generosity of the J.K. Mullen heirs and the Colorado Milling and Elevator Co. Below are pictured their latest benefactions -St. Cajetan School (top) and convent. Dedication services of the school were held Tuesday of this week with the Most Rev. Urban J. Vehr, Bishop of Denver, officiating. In the background of the lower picture can be seen the Ave Maria Clinic building, free medical center erected by the Mullen heirs a few years ago."57
11.


Joe Torres moved to Denver in 1928 at the age of seventeen. He got a
job at peerless Multi graphing Co. He was a messenger boy. Joe was now
established in Denver with a house and a job. He sent for the rest of
49
the family in 1920. When my mother and grandmother arrived in Denver,
they rented a house at 1326 Ninth Street. In 1933, they moved to 943%
50
Tenth Street and rented from Joe Herbner, an Irishman. In 1933,
my grandmother Lucy was on her way home from the neighborhood theatre
on Colfax. As she was walking across Colfax Avenue, a Public Service
Company truck struck and killed her.
My father Felix had followed the Torres family to Denver and in
1934, he married my mother Florence at St. Cajetan Church. I was born
the next year and was baptized at the same church. I attended St.
Cajetan School for eight years, graduating in 1949. My family occupied
the house at 943% Tenth Street until 1969.
During that time, other families had been steadily arriving in
Denver and settling in West Denver. Maria Agneda Lopez Stoner was born
in Las Vegas, New Mexico in 1918. Her parents were Eusepio Lopez and
Isidora (Lola) Rubio. Her mother Isidora was born in Las Vegas, New
Mexico in 1883. Agneda's father came to Denver in 1923 and the family
followed a year later. He had owned a grocery store in Las Vegas but
his brother had gambled it away. He couldn't find a job so he moved
51
to Denver. He was hired at the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad.
Agneda was six years old when she arrived in Denver. She says she can still remember back then. "First we lived by the power house and ice house on Eighth and Colfax. Then we moved to some terraces on Eighth and Curtis. We went to school at St. Elizabeth because it was the only Catholic school around, but St. Cajetan was our mainstay A big part
10.


^VOL. XXXII, No. 46. < DENVER, COLO., THURSDAY, JULY 1, 1937. $2 PER YEAR
\Slum District Being Transformed
enver through the generosity of Mullen heirs and the Colorado Milling and Elevator Co. Below are pictured their latest benefactions—St, Cajetan’s school (top) and /convent. Dedication services of the school were held Tuesday of this week with the Most Rev.
f Denver, officiating. In the background of the lower picture can be seen the
.—(Register
Mjrban-J. Vehr, Bishop _____________w_____________J_____________ ___
?Ave Maria clinic building, free medical center'erected by the Mullen heirs1 a few years ago*—
^photos*) .y*'- * •/' vi --ir. . Tr^;'-;? •/


Agneda went on to tell me about her childhood in West Denver.
"We moved to Ninth and Curtis, right around the corner from St. Cajetan Church. My mother washed and ironed clothes for the priests there. She also cleaned the altar of the church. My mother died in 1937. My sisters, Isabel, Antonia, Petra, and I were all teenagers at the time. Everything we did revolved around the church.
"Everybody went to church on Sunday and I would watch for Angelo Lopez to pull up in front of St. Cajetan with his family in a horse and wagon. His sisters Juanita and Jesusita were always with him. I was very impressed by that horse and wagon. They lived across Cherry Creek on Bannock Street.
"When we first moved into the neighborhood, it was mostly Anglo.
No one wanted to rent to Spanish people. It was mostly a German neighborhood. When St. Cajetan church was built, a lot of the German people started to move out. That's when the Mexican and Spanish people moved in.
"I saw the Mullen Mill on Eighth and Curtis burn down. I was watching my sister Antonia play the piano. The piano was by the window. We saw the smoke and we ran outside and watched it burn down. Later on, the Ave Maria Clinic was built on the same spot.
"The old Governor's Mansion (A.C. Hunt) was in our neighborhood. It was on Eleventh Street. When I first saw it, it was already run down.
It was turned into an apartment house and later on, it was boarded up.
"My father was a musician. He played with the Denver & Rio Grande band. My sisters and I watched him play Sousa down Sixteenth Street for all the parades. He worked as a machinist for the D&RG.
12.


"There was a Methodist church right next to St. Leo's on West Colfax. It had a big area of cement around it. All the kids in the neighborhood went there after school to roller skate. We also played in the streets because there were no cars in those days.
"I remember the grocery store on 9th and Curtis. It was always owned by a Jewish family. We shopped there until the Loop opened. Then we would walk across Cherry Creek to spend a thrilling afternoon shopping there.
"We were better off before the depression. My father had a steady job then. After the depression, they cut his hours to two days a week and he was finally laid off. He went back to Las Vegas and never came back."58
There were several marriages within the West Denver community during the 1930s. Besides my mother and father, my uncle Joe Torres married Agneda Lopez in 1936. Agneda's sister Petra married Phillip J. Torres. Another sister, Isabel Lopez married Trinki Montoya. Alice Dominguez married Willie Lopez. These are just a few unions of families in the neighborhood. Phillip J. Torres and his wife Petra bought the Victorian house at 1033 Ninth Street in the late thirties and lived there until Denver Urban Renewal bought the area for the Auraria Campus in the 1970s.
The Elmer Tenorio family has deep roots in West Denver. I was able
59
to trace Elmer back to 1916 in the City Directories. According to his daughter Louise, Mr. Tenorio was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico. He came to Denver when he was nineteen years old to find work. When he first came to town, he lived at 1019 Tenth Street. He got a job at the Denver Dry Goods Co. Mr. Tenorio moved almost every year until he married
13.


Frances Lucero in 1922. For several years, the Tenorios moved in and out of West Denver. Mr. Tenorio held many jobs in his early days. He worked as a butcher at Swift and Company. Later, he became a painter and paper hanger. In 1932, the family moved to 1284 W. 14th Ave. In 1936, the family moved for the last time. Mr. Tenorio bought a house at 1326 Kalamath. It was about that time that he went to work for the City and County of Denver.^
Louise Vigil told me that her father Elmer Tenorio had always been interested in politics. He was the first Hispanic to run for City Council in District 2 in 1932. At the time, the family lived at 1284 W. 14th Ave. People in the area called it "Jew Town" because it was occupied mostly by Jewish families. "My father knew that he wouldn't win the election because he didn't have sufficient funds to run a campaign, but he had the courage to do it," Louise told me. "He wanted to make a breakthrough in politics for the Hispanic community, which he did. In 1939, Phillip B. Gilliam ran for Juvenile Judge and my dad Elmer worked hard for him.
GiTliam promised him a good job if he won. Gilliam did win the post
61
and appointed my dad to be the first Hispanic probation officer in Denver."
cp
Tenorio worked in that capacity for twenty five years until he retired.
Louise Tenorio married Ben Vigil in 1936. At first, they lived on Eighth and Curtis. For awhile, they moved out of the area but came back in the early forties. They bought a home at 1045 Ninth Street. Their children, Gene, Don and Linda, grew up in that house. They lived there until the late fifties. Mr, Vigil worked for Brach's Candy Co. He also went into the candy business for himself. The name of the candy company was the Copper Kettle and one of his specialties was cinnamon candy apples.
14.


His daughter Linda told me that all the recipes were original family recipes. He set up his shop in the Basement of their home on Ninth Street. Linda says that when they moved in the fifties, her father closed his business and it was never opened again.
Louise Vigil remembered growing up in Auraria and going to church at St. Elizabeth's. She knew there was a racial problem because she overheard the German congregation whispering to each other that they did not appreciate the Spanish people going there. Because of that,
Louise told me, "It was symbolic to send my kids to St. Elizabeth's school instead of St. Cajetan's. It had something to do with breaking the racial barriers."
The Quezada family were long time residents of Auraria.
The Quezada story was told to me by Mrs. Anita Quezada, who was eighty eight years old at the time, her daughter Helen La Roe and her son Ramon Quezada.
Emiterio Quezada was born in Jalisco, Mexico. He came to the United States in 1908. He was thirteen years old. First he went to Kansas. Then he went to La Junta to work in the beet fields. He then moved to Denver.®^ I was able to trace him back to 1926 in the City Directories. Helen told me that his name did not appear in the Directories before this date because he did not want to be sent back to Mexico. In 1926, he was already married to Anita Martinez Quezada and they were living at 1311 Tenth Street. Emiterio owned the pool hall at 1001 Larimer. He won it through a gambling wager. The pool hall was attached to their home around the corner. They lived in the same house until 1970.66 Anita Martinez Quezada was born in Capulin, Colorado.
15.


The year was 1898. Her father's name was Manuel Martinez and her
67
mother's name was Elvira, Trujillo.
Another family to settle in Auraria was the Ramos family. I interviewed Lupe Argue!lo, a daughter, and Mrs. Isabel Ramos for this story. Mrs. Ramos at the time was eighty seven years old.
Tiodolo Ramos and his wife Isabel were both born in Mexico. In 1920, they moved to Denver,^® In 1921, they lived at 1349 Seventh Street, according to the Denver City Directories.-. Mr. Ramos worked for Denver Gas & Electric 0. In 1926, Mr. Ramos worked for Public Service Co. and the Stone House Sign Co. In that year, they moved to 1246 Ninth Street.69 According to Lupe, the family lived at that address for many years. Mr. and Mrs. Ramos had ten children. Their names were: Josie, Carmel a, Andres, Mike, Margie, Lupe, Betty, Lola, Jennie and Sylvia. In the late 1920s, Mrs. Ramos bought the big house at 1068 Ninth Street and rented it out to her married children. When Mr. Ramos retired from the Stone House Sign Co. in the 1950s, he and Mrs. Ramos moved into the 1068 Ninth Street house with their married children. Mrs. Ramos also bought two terraces on Curtis Street next to the big house. Lupe married Nick Arguello in 1936 and lived in one of the terraces with their children. They lived there until they were relocated in the 1970s.^
The Martinez family was well known in West Denver. Joseph Dionisio
Martinez was born in Ocate, New Mexico in 1913. He came to Colorado
when he was 16 years old. First he lived in Walsenburg where he worked
in the coal mines. Then he moved to Denver and went to Opportunity
School. In 1938, he married Grace Mascarenas. Grace was born in Rains-
ville, New Mexico in 1909. Grace was working as a nurse maid for the
16.


the President of Public Service Company of Colorado. The President gave Joe a job at Public Service Company as a wedding present. Joe was one of the first Hispanics to work for that company.^
Joe and Grace had three children, Joe, Judy and Bill. The family
lived at 821 Curtis for sixteen years. The children went to St. Elizabeth's
school for awhile. Later, they transfered to St. Cajetan's school. Grace
told me, "We had so many friends in the old neighborhood. There were
Hank and Ruben Vasquez, Henry and Trinki Montoya, Lino and Margo Padilla,
Petra and Phil Torres, Mary and Charles DeSilva, Tom Velarde and his
family, Pete and Della Solano, A1 and Mary Baca, Alice and Willie Lopez,
Nellie Dominguez and her family, Rose Vasquez, Felix and Florence Gallegos,
Belle Trujillo and her family. Now we only have one close family of friends
who live on our block. Belle later married Sam Passarrelli from the
neighborhood. I remember at least three generations who grew up together
7?
in the neighborhood."
The Navarro family did not live in West Denver but they had strong ties with St. Cajetan Church and the community. Mr. Navarro belonged to an organization which is pertinent to the history I am following.
This is the story Del fine Navarro Carpio told me from her North Denver home. "I was born in Milikin, Colorado in 1916. My father, Nicolas came from Mexico in 1910. My mother's name was Cidelia Archuleta. She was born in Cucharas, Huerfano County near Walsenburg, Colorado. My father worked in a flour mill in Milikin, Colorado. When the mill burned down, we moved to Denver. My dad was transfered to a flour mill in Denver. It was owned by Farmer's Union, the same company that owned the mill in Milikin. I was able to trace the Navarro's back to 1925 in the City
17.


Directories. In that year, they lived at 2820 Blake. Mr. Navarro's
73
employment was listed as Farmer's Union, Milling and Elevator.
According to Del fine, the mill her father worked for was taken over by
the Mullen family in the crash of 1929.
One of the most important things in the life of Nicolas Navarro,
according to Del fine, was his involvement in an organization called
Sociedad Mutalista Mexico. This was an organization of men from the
old country (Mexico) and only people who had been born in Mexico
74
could belong to it. These were the people who kept the Mexican culture alive in Denver.
In 1922, Nicolas formed the SSM together with: Santiago Mijares,
7C
Salvador and Ignacio Mackintosh and Angel Carranco. Lupe Arguello
76
told me that her father Tiodolo also belonged to that organization. Helen La Roe's father Emiterio also belonged to a Mutalista Society from Mexico and I believe it to be the same organization.^ Mexican holidays were celebrated and the men would wear ribbons across their chests with Sociedad Mutalista Mexico on them. .They would march from
Curtis Park to the Tivoli Hall. After a long day of speeches, the
78
"Grito de Dolores," would be proclaimed. This custom goes back to
September 16, 1810 when Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla gave the
"grito" from his church in the town of Dolores. This cry for indepen-
79
dence from Spain started the Mexican Revolution.
This brings to memory a Mexican celebration in 1952. I was a Mexican dancer and had been asked to participate. There was to be a parade from Curtis Park to North Denver. My mother made me a colorful costume and we arrived at the park early. A band was playing Mexican music and Charros were riding their horses in the street. Men were
18.


standing around in suits with ribbons across their chests. I rode on a float and the parade took us to 46th and Li pan. A group of Mexicans had a building there by the name of Good American’s Organization (G.A.O.). A dance took place that evening with entertainment straight from Mexico.
Another family who had ties with the community were Francisco and Isabel Benavidez. Francisco was born in Encinada, New Mexico in 1907. Isabel Sanchez Benavidez was born in Los Bracos, New.Mexico in 1914.
In 1926, Francisco traveled to Alamosa, Colorado. Isabel was already living there. They were married in 1932. They moved to Denver in 1939. Their children’s names are Zella, Frank, Sandra Marie, Adrienne, Beverly and Veronica. When the Benavidez family arrived in Denver, they saw it as very racist. Mr. Benavidez was dark skinned. His wife Isabel had European coloring. She had blue eyes, fair skin and red hair. "In Denver, there were only certain parts of town where Mexicans could rent," Mr. Benavidez told me. He said he would go to rent a house and would be turned down. Then be said, "I would send my fair skinned wife to the
on
same landlord and he would rent the house to her."
Francisco and Isabel said that there were signs all over which
read, "No Niggers or Mexicans Allowed." In 1947, Mr. and Mrs. Benavidez
decided to do something about the situation. Together with Charlie
Tafoya, Tim Duran, Bernie Valdez and Bennie Martinez, they started the
Latin American Council. Judge Cook was instrumental in getting the
81
organization started.
The Latin American Council traveled to Brighton and Greeley in
order to organize people from all over. The organization brought
respect to the Mexican people and things started to change. Two
19.


people from the organization, Charlie Tafoya and Bernie Valdez, ran for State Representative but they both lost. Bernie Valdez later
became a successful politician and head of the Denver Welfare Depart-
. 82 ment.
In 1944, Mr. Benavidez joined another organization. It .was the Sociedad Protectora Mutual de Los Trabajodores Unidos (SPMDTU). I had a telephone conversation with Ruben Aguirre on April 20, 1984.
I got this information: He is the current president of the organization in Denver. The SPMDTU is the oldest Spanish speaking organization in Colorado. It was founded in 1900 in Antonito, Colorado where the large hall still stands today. The founder was the Honorable Celedonio Mondragon. The purpose of the organization was for mutual protection. In the 1950s, it expanded to 6,000 members within the states of Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. Members received a life insurance
which is paid for out of dues. In order to belong to the organization, a
83
man must be Hispanic, between the ages of sixteen and sixty.
The Gonzales family on Ninth Street were the celebrities of the
neighborhood. Ramon and Carolina lived at 1020 Ninth Street with their
children from 1933 to 1973. They had come from Chihuahua, Mexico. In
1947, Mr. and Mrs. Gonzales went into business. They sold tamales at
the rear of their home. The Gonzalez family was encouraged to acquire a
restaurant license. Soon after that, the house was converted into a
restaurant. It was called the Casa Mayan. Old Mayan and Mexican methods
of preparing food were used. Corn was the main ingredient in their
cooking. On their menu, a combination plate included: a tamale, a chile
relleno and an enchilada. The chile relleno was made by stuffing a green
chile with cheese, rolling it in flour, dipping it in egg batter and
20.


frying it very gently in hot fat. A green chile and tomato sauce was
poured over the chile relleno to complete a dish which caught the appeal
of the surrounding Anglo community.
A former resident of Auraria, Gene Vigil, remembers when he was a
boy watching women going into the restaurant wearing fur coats. "Most
of the clientele came from outside of the neighborhood and most were
85
Anglos," he recalls.
Ramon and Carolina had three sons and four daughters who were all musically talented. They were Rafael, Magdalena, Belen, Ramon Jr., Martha, Celia and Arnaldo. The Casa Mayan became known for its hospitality. It became somewhat of a cultural center. The house vibrated with sonorous sounds of Mexican and Spanish music, sung to the strums
of guitars and the piano. Young girls with colorful costumes eagerly
86
learned the dances of Mexico and Spain. The lessons were free.
Celia Gonzalez was the teacher and reciprocation for the free lessons was the girls would perform at various functions all over Colorado.
The Casa Mayan became a meeting place for famous musicians and singers. Some of these famous people included: Carlos Montoya, Judy Collins, Tito Guizar, Jose Greco's Spanish Dance Troop and Jose Feliciano. These famous people would go to eat at the Casa Mayan. After they ate, they would entertain in a home atmosphere. Some local organizations which had their beginning at the restaurant include: The Latin American
Cultural Society, The Corrida Club of Colorado and the Pena Taurina
87
Club. Magdalena Gonzalez Zimmerman told me these clubs were poetry clubs, guitar clubs and social clubs. She remembers the Pan-American Club. This was a social club for the people from different South American


Countries. Magdalena said, "The Sixteenth of September fiestas were
88
organized at the Casa Mayan and the dances were held at the Tivoli Hall."
Life in Auraria was remembered by Helen Quezada La Roe. Since the
family lived at 1311 Tenth Street, Helen remembers Tenth and Larimer
vividly. She recalled that most businesses were owned by Jewish people.
"There was a Robert and Ruth Butler who had a grocery store on Tenth
Street. The T-ivoli was built by Austrians and Germans. I remember the
dance hall. They used to rent it out to the Mexican people for weddings
89
and for Mexican holidays."
Ramon Quezada remembers the "Westurn Hall" (Turn Halle was the official
name for the Tivoli Hall but the people in the neighborhood made up their
own name) in the Tivoli. "It was a gorgious place. It had a stage, a
balcony and a dance floor. They had stag shows there. One evening, I
was playing with my friends and we heard a loud applause. I was only
eight years old at the time. We all climbed up to see what was going on.
In those days, there was no airconditioning, so the windows were always
open. Through the open window, I saw my first strip show. The free show
90
ended when a policeman spotted us and chased us away."
Helen went on to tell me about the area. "In the late Thirties, there
was a drug store right across the street from the jail. At that time,
the jail was on Fourteenth and Larimer in the old City Hall. Then there
was the German bakery, Roederer's, at 1022 Larimer. They had the best
Danish rolls in the world. The nuns from St. Cajetan would buy boxes of
91
the Danish rolls for First Friday breakfast."
Helen remembered the junk yard on the southwest corner of Tenth and Larimer. The Buffalo Inn was one of the last places to go when Urban Renewal took over. It had been a permanent part of the Tenth and Larimer
22.


no
scenery for many, many years.
Helen remembered the potato chips. "The potato chip factory sat next to the bakery but I can't remember the brand name. We never paid attention. Everyone in the neighborhood bought potato chips at the back door. The potato chips came in brown bags and cost a nickle.
These were the left over broken chips that could not be packaged and sold. They sure tasted good. They used to have fires at the potato chip factory all the time. As soon as you heard a fire engine coming,
you knew where the fire was. The grease used to catch on fire all the
.. „93
time.
"My father's pool hall was on the northeast corner of Tenth and Larimer," Helen continued. "And there were two barber shops on Eleventh and Larimer. One was owned by Frank Ulibarri and he lived in the back of his shop."^
Helen remembered, "There was a funeral parlor where the Ulibarri Barber Shop was. They took one of my friend's mother to that place.
After that, every time I went by that place, I thought of that woman."
"Talking about funerals," she went on, "We used to have a neighbor who belonged to the Morada (Penitentes) and anytime there was a wake, he would sing - and ohh - it sounded like dogs were howling.
They had wakes in the houses in those days. The first wake I remember was when Herman Spencer died in 1937. He lived across the street from us on Tenth Street. I remember that old man. Then I remember the last wake in the neighborhood in the very same house where Herman Spencer
died. Rudolph Salazar died there in 1949. The wake must have lasted 96
for three days.'1
Helen recalled the shoe repair shop that was owned by a German. "It
23.


was located on the southside of Larimer between Tenth and Eleventh Streets. When the war started, they closed for the duration and never opened up again. You know, the neighborhood had its very own bootlegger. That woman made so much money, she bought up all kinds of
* „97
property.
Helen told about the oldest hotel in the history of Denver. The
98
El Dorado was built in 1858. Helen remembers, "It was an old log
cabin on Tenth Street across from our house. It burned down around 1940
99
and I think the museum has what is left of it.
Helen also remembered the Linda!. "It was on the northside of
Larimer between Tenth and Eleventh Streets. _ It was next to the alley and
Ben's Bar was part of the building on the,street level. I used to
sneak into the hotel to see my friends who lived upstairs. The lobby
was pretty run down. The furniture looked old but I could tell that it
was once elegant. At that time, there were mostly old men living there.
I would watch them sitting in the lobby, smoking thick cigars and waiting
for the evening paper. If my parents would have known that I used to
sneak in there, I would have gotten a beating.
The most outstanding feature of the hotel as Helen recalls were
the formica tiles on the front walkway. "They were square formica
tiles set into the cement. Each tile had L I N D A L written across
it in blue letters. I wonder what ever happened to them?" Helen commented.^
Ramon Quezada has his own memories of the old neighborhood. He
went to kindergarten at Lawrence Street School. First grade was at
Franklin School on Colfax. "I was going to Franklin at the time they
were building the Lincoln Projects. After school, I would play in the
102
foundation with the other kids, Ramon related.
24.


Franklin School was closed when O'Meara Ford bought the school.
Ramon thinks that the school was traded for the Denver Public Library
because O'Meara Ford used to occupy the site where the new Denver
103
Public Library now stands.
"On my way home from school," Ramon remembered, "I would walk with all the kids past the Perkins Pickle Factory and we would all steal
pickles from the barrels. The pickle factory was right across the street
104
from St. Cajetan's Church.
"In those days, people had ice boxes. I would go to 5th and Walnut
where box cars were being loaded with ice. Sometimes the men would miss
the box car on purpose and a chunk of ice would fall on the ground. All
the boys watching would run and pick up the pieces and take the ice home
105
or try to sell it."
Ramon remembers that the old Fire Depot sat on the corner of Walnut
and Fourteenth Street. "When the Fire Station moved to Fourteenth and
Speer, the old building was abandoned. The kids in the neighborhood
would climb up the building and ring the bell in the clock tower. On
106
V Day, we rang it all day and no one stopped us."
Ramon remembered the horse stable on Ninth Street between Larimer and Lawrence. "The Tivoli Brewery owned it," he recalled. "They had beautiful Clydesdale horses that pulled the beer wagons all over town right up into the Forties.
"The street cars were fascinating," said Ramon. "They were still
running in the early Fifties. The #75 and #84 went up and down Larimer.
The right side of the Lawrence Street viaduct was reserved for the street
cars. The boys in the neighborhood made carts out of old buggies and
108
rode down the viaduct in them."
25.


"Sundays were spent on Curtis Street," Ramon recalled. "I remember the Tabor, Rialto, Palace and Plaza Theatres. It only cost a nickle to get in. A first run movie would cost fifteen cents. After the movie,
we would all go to Sam's #1 on Curtis to eat the best hotdogs in the
, . „109 world.
Helen told me, "Most of the Mexican children in the neighborhood went to Lawrence Street School. When St. Cajetan School opened, all the Mexican children transfered there. After that, Lawrence School closed down because it lost the majority of its students. At that time, the neighborhood became less and less Anglos. It became very segregated. Come to think of it, it was always segregated. For instance, my brother Mike was baptized in the basement of St. Leo's Church. The Anglos were baptized upstairs in the main church. The reason St. Cajetan's School was built was because St. Elizabeth's School would only allow so many children to attend. They were very choosy about who they would admit. They did allow some of the Spanish children to attend, but they were very choosy. I remember the Greenings. They went to St. Elizabeth's School. They were Spanish from Trinidad.
I think they changed their name in Trinidad so that they could get jobs.
i â– 
I heard that a lot of people changed their names so they could get jobs."'
The 1940s brings the war to peoples' minds. Helen recalls dances
at the "Westurn Hall" for the soldiers being shipped out. "I wasn't
old enough to go to the dances, but I can remember what happened. They
would go to the YWCA and bring bus loads of girls to the Tivoli. They had
wires on the windows but we would climb up and hang on the wires to 111
peek in."
26.


Another thing that Helen remembered about the Forties was the
W.P.A. That was the Works Progress Administration and $111 Million was
112
spent on the program in Colorado. Helen's aunt worked at a sewing
factory at Ashland School in North Denver. Her aunt sewed dresses in different sizes out of the same material. Helen says, "All the girls in the neighborhood wore dresses that looked the same and they hated those dresses. My aunt also worked cleaning the trains. My brother worked in.the section gang at Denver & Rio Grande before he went to the Army. That's when there was a shortage of men. All the families in the neighborhood got patriotic around that time. Everyone's house had a picture of a soldier. And every house had a flag from the Dime Store. If a family had two sons in the army, they had two stars on the
113
flag. If a son died in the war, they had a purple star on their flag."
During the Thirties and Forties, the people of West Denver were
active in the community and were involved in many projects. One of the
projects was the St. Cajetan Parish Credit Union which was founded in
1939. In 1949, the Credit Union's Board of Directors included: Elmer
Tenorio, President; Samuel Lucero; Pete Greening; Phillip J. Torres,
Secretary; and Father Ordinas, Treasurer. The auditing committee were
Ed C. Nieto, Frank Barreras and Abel Naranjo. The credit committee was
made up of Joseph D. Martinez, Frank V. Romero and Alfonso Valdez. The
office of the Credit Union was housed at the St. Cajetan's rectory, 1170 114
Ninth Street.
Joe Martinez, Lupe Arguello and Phil Torres were three of the people in the neighborhood involved deeply in politics. Joe Martinez was a committeeman and Lupe Arguello was a committeewoman for their
27.


precinct. Lupe gave me a printout of the list of registered voters from West Denver. The year was 1968. (Appendix I) The list attests to the fact that the community was predominately Hispanic and politically active at the time. The people in the area voted at the fire
115
station at Ninth and Colfax.
Joe Martinez told me about working for Public Service and getting involved in politics. In 1952, Public Service Co. needed a new franchise. Because Mr. Martinez was Spanish speaking, they asked him to form an organization in the neighborhood. The purpose of the organization was to educate the people about Public Service and to get them to vote for the new franchise. The club organization was called Alianza Para Americana. It was also an insurance company. Mr. Martinez got a lot of people to join and Public Service Co. won a thirty year contract at the election.
In the late Sixties, the people in the neighborhood did not know what was being planned for them until the decision had already been made. Louise Vigil and her family had moved out of the neighborhood in the late 1950s. But she could not stay away from her old friends and the West Side. During the 1960s, she went back and opened up a cafeteria at St. Elizabeth’s School. In her words, "That is when I first heard rumors of plans to build a college and displace the residents. I remember St. Elizabeth Church trying to buy up all the property on that block. The relocation plans hit the residents like
a ton of bricks. Most people had lived there all of their lives and
117
they were heartbroken."
Lupe Arguello, still upset after ten years told me, "The first time people in the neighborhood heard about the relocation was when
28.


leaflets were passed out to every house. The community was invited
to a meeting at the basement of St. Cajetan's Church. Someone from the
city told the people that the whole community would be moved somewhere
and that they could all stay together. But it was never done. In my
family, there were five generations and we all lived together on the
same block since 1922. Now we're all split up and it will never be 118
the same.
In 1967, Auraria was designated as the location of the Auraria
Higher Education Center (AHEC). It was expected to cost $73 million
119
dollars and it would occupy 169 acres of land. The residents of
120
Auraria did not want to move and 155 families filed lawsuits.
That is when Governor John Love created the AHEC Board to act as land-
121
lord and mediator.
Father Pete Garcia, Assistant Pastor of St. Cajetan Church became
the leader of the people. He helped to organize the Auraria Residents
Organization, Inc. (ARO). The city needed bond money to complete the
project. There was to be a special bond election by the vote -of .the
people in 1969. Pete Garcia stated in an interview, "There were three
factions involved: The People (ARO), the Church (St. Cajetan's verses
122
Archbishop Casey), and Government (Bond Election).
The ARO got help from city planners. They became informed on
what was happening. They went to battle to defeat the bond election.
Their campaigning went on all over the city. The group was positive that
they were winning their struggle. Then, the Sunday before the election,
Archbishop Casey sent a letter to all the Catholic Churches in Denver.
He had the parish priests read the letter from the pulpit encouraging
123
all Catholics to vote for the Bond Issue. The Bond Issue won and
?Q


the people's organization was sure that the letter is what made the
difference. The ARO went to Washington to get compensation for the
residents. In the end, they did not get very much for their property.
Mrs. Isabel Ramos who owned three houses only received $35,000 for 124
all three.
In 1972, the ARO called a meeting. They threatened to erect a
"tent city" because of the excessive amount of evictions. Residents
of Auraria were to be given funds for relocation even if they were
renters. Some of the houses were in violation of building codes
and rather than fix up the houses that were to be torn down anyway,
the landlords started to evict their rentors. These people who had
lived in the area for years were now losing their homes. They were
125
also losing out on money to help them to relocate.
30.


SUMMARY
A few Hispanics were residents as early as 1859, but large numbers did not start to arrive until after 1916. It took them awhile to establish roots. Many settled in West Denver or Auraria. The non-Hispanics were apprehensive to the cultural differences of the Mexican people, so they moved out of the neighborhood. This left vacancies for more Spanish speaking people to move in. The discrimination .from the outside brought the Hispanic community closer together. There was a sense of belonging in the neighborhood. The bonds became cemented. In becoming a close community, the people were able to do things they might not have been able to do. It didn't matter if the outside world did accepted them, they accepted themselves. The community lasted fifty years.
The community was broken up and relocated to different sections of town. Ten years after this relocation, I am finding these people and talking to them. They are eager to tell the story of West Denver as they knew it. When they happen to see each other in the street, it is like homecoming. I have found out that the community is still alive in their hearts.
Auraria Higher Education Complex now occupies the land where this community once resided. One street of houses remains as an historical reminder of what was. The plaques in each house are dedicated to the first residents of the homes back in the 1800s but there is not a reminder of any of the Hispanic families who occupied these houses for more than fifty years.
I therefore dedicate this piece of history to all the families who have been a part of Auraria. The memories of the past will be in the history books of tomorrow.


REFERENCE NOTES
1. Thomas J. Noel, Denver: Rocky Mountain Gold, Publishers: Si Ivey and Douglas S. Drown, Copyright 1980 by Continental Press, Inc., Tulsa, Oklahoma, p. 24 Larry P. Heri tage
2. Louisa Ward Arps, Denver in Slices, Copyright, 1959, Swallow Press Books published by Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio, p. 16
3. Noel, p. 24
4. Noel, p. 25
5. Noel , p. 26
6. Noel, p. 28
7. Noel , p. 28
8. Thomas J. Noel, Lecture, History of Denver Class, University of Colorado at Denver, 4-20-84
9. JoAnne Ditmer, "9th Street," The Denver Post, June 23, 1976, p. 68
10. Noel , p. 46-47
n. Denver Catholic Register
12. Agneda Lopez Stoner, Oral History taped interview, 4-23-84, Denver, Colorado
13. Andres Perez de Ribas, Triumfos de Nuestra Santa Fe, I.
14. Arthur L. Camoa: Treasure of the Sanqre de Cristos , p. 4
15. Ibed , p. 6
16. Ibed , p. 6
17. Ibed , p. 7
18. Perry Eberhart: Treasure of the Rockies, p. 13
19. F. C. Spencer: The Story of the San Luis Valiev, o. 17
O (XI L. W. Storrs: Colo., A Literary Chronical, p. 12
21. Olibama Lopez Tushar, The People of "El Valle," Published Lopez Tushar, 1975, p. xi by 01 ibama
22. Ibed, p. 4


23. Ibed, p. 5
24. T. H. Cornelius: Sheephearder1s Gold, p. 13
25. Perry Eberhart, Treasure of the Rockies
26. Olibama Lopez Tushar, p. 5
27. Ibed, p. 6
28. Henry Bamford Parkes: A History of Mexico, First Sentry Printing 1938, p. 221
29. Patricia Bell Blawis, Tijerina and the Land Grants, Copyright 1971 International Pub., N.Y., p. 20
30. Olibama Lopez Tushar, p. 9
31. Ibed, p. 6
32. Ibed, p. 10-11
33. Patricia Bell Blawis, p. 26
34. Francisco and Isabel Benavidez, Oral History taped interview,
4-7-84, Parker, Colroado
35. Agneda Lopez Stoner
36. Benavidez
37. Olibama Lopez Tushar, p. 9
38. Helen Quezada La Roe and Anita Quezada, Oral History taped interview, 4-12-84, Denver, Colorado
39. Ibed
40. Ibed
41. Ibed
42. Ibed
43. Louisa Ward Arps, Denver in Slices, 1959 Swallow Press, Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio
44. Henry Bamford Parkes, A History of Mexico
45. 450 Years of Chicano History
46. Joe Torres, Oral History taoed interview, 3-21-84, Denver, Colorado


47.
Felix Gallegos, Oral History taped interview, 2-23-84, Denver,
Colorado
48. Thomas J. Noel, p. 153
49. Joe Torres, 3-21-84
50. Denver City Directory, 1933
51. Agneda Lopez Stoner, 4-23-84
52. Ibed
53. El Reino de Dios, Nov., Dec., p. 15
54. Ibed, p. 15-16
55. Ibed, p. 17
56. Denver Catholic Register, 7-1-37
57. Ibed, 7-1-37
58. Agneda Lopez Stoner, 4-23-84
59. Denver City Directory, 1916
60. Louise Tenorio Vigil, 9th Street Oral History Project, taped interview, Spring, 1982, Metro State College, Denver, Colorado
61. Ibed
62. Denver City Directory, 1922-1936
63. Louise Tenorio Vigil
64. Helen Quezada La Roe, 4-12-84
65. Denver City Directory, 1926
66. Ramon Ouezada, Oral History taped interview, 2-11-84, Denver, Colorado
67. Helen Quezada La Roe, 4-12-84
68. Lupe Arguello, 9th Street Oral History Project, taped interview, Spring, 1982, Metro State College, Denver, Colorado
69. Denver City Directory 1926
70. Lupe Arguello
71. Joe and Grace Martinez, Oral History taped interview, 4-9-84, Denver, Colorado


72.
Ibed
73. Denver City Directory, 1925
74. Del fine Navarro Carpio, Oral History taped interview, 3-15-84, Denver, Colorado
75. Ibed
76. Lupe Arguello
77. Helen Quezada La Roe, 4-12-84
78. Delfine Navarro Carpio, 3-15-84
79. Henry Bamford Parkes
80. Francisco and Isabel Benavidez, 4-7-84
81. Ibed
82. Ibed
83. Ruben Aguire, Telephone Conversation, 4-20-84
84. Magdalena Gonzalez Zimmerman, Telephone Conversation, 9-18-84
85. Gene Vigil, 9th Street Oral History Project, taped interview, 1982 Metro State College, Denver, Colorado
86. Lydia De.Necochea, 9th Street Oral History Project, 1982, Metro State College collection
87. Ibed
88. Magdalena Gonzalez Zimmerman, 9-18-84
89. Helen Quezada La Roe, 4-12-84
90. Ramon Quezada, 2-11-84
91. Helen Quezada La Roe, 4-12-84
92. Ibed
93. Ibed
94. Ibed
95. Ibed
96.
Ibed


97.
Ibed
98. Dan Hopkins, Denver's Vintage Hotels, Rocky Mountain Motorist,
The Magazine for Colorado Motorists and Travelers, 59th year,
Issue 5, May, 1984
99. Helen Ouezada La Roe, 4-12-84
100. Ibed
101. Ibed
102. Ramon Quezada, 2-11-84
103. Ibed
104. Ibed
105. Ibed
106. Ibed
107. Ibed
108. Ibed
109. Ibed
110. Helen Quezada La Roe, 4-12-84
111. Ibed
112. Thomas J. Noel, p. 143
113. Helen Quezada La Roe, 4-12-84
114. Denver Catholic Register, 11-24-49
115. Lupe Arguello
116. Joe and Grace Martinez, 4-9-84
117. Louise Tenorio Vigil,
118. Lupe Arguel1o
119. Richard S. Johnson, "Auraria: What's it All About," Empire Magazine (The Sunday Denver Post Supplement,) June 1, 1975, p. 10-11
120. Ibed, p. 11
121. Auraria: Golden Chance or Another Bum Deal? The Rocky Mountain News, Oct. 28, 1969


122. Pete Garcia, Lecture, 9th Street Oral History Project, 3-2-82
123. Ibed
124. Ibed
125. Evicted Residents Threaten 'Tent City' in Auraria, The Denver Post, Feb. 10, 1972, p. 35


BIBLIOGRAPHY
Arguello, Lupe, 9th Street Oral History Project, taped interview, Spring, 1982, Metro State College, Denver, Colorado
Aguire, Ruben, Telephone Conversation, 4-20-84
Arps, Louisa Ward, Denver in Slices, Copyright, 1959, Swallow Press Books published by Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio
Auraria: Golden Chance or Another Bum Deal? The Rocky Mountain News,
Oct. 28, 1969
Benavidez, Francisco and Isabel, Oral History taped interview, 4-7-84, Parker, Colorado
Blawis, Patricia Bell, Tijerina and the Land Grants, Copyright, 1971, International Publishers, New York
Campa, Arthur L.: TTreasure of the Sangre de Cristos, Copyright, 1963 by the University of Oklahoma Press
Carpio, Del fine Navarro, Oral History taped interview, 3-15-84, Denver, Colorado
Cornelius, T.H.: Sheephearder's Gold
Ditmer, JoAnne, "9th Street," The Denver Post, June 23, 1976
Denver Catholic Register, Archdiocese of Denver
Denver City Directories, Denver Public Library, Denver, Colorado
DeNechochea, Lydia, 9th Street Oral History Project, 1982, Metro State College Collection
Eberhart, Perry: Treasure of the Rockies, Denver, Allan Swallow Press Inc., 1961 :
"El Reino de Dios," Catholic Archdiocese of Denver Files
Etter, Don. Auraria: Where Denver Began, Boulder, C.U., 1972
Evicted Residents Threaten 'Tent City' in Auraria, The Denver Post, Feb. 10, 1972
F~our Hundred Fifty years of Chicano History, Published by the Chicano Communications Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1976
Garcia, Pete, Lecture, 9th Street Oral History Project, 3-2-82


Gallegos, Felix Oral History taped interview, 2-23-84, Denver, Colorado
Hopkins, Dan, Denver's Vintage Hotels, Rocky Mountain Motorist, The Magazine for Colorado Motorists and Travelers, 59th year, Issue 5, May, 1984
Johnson, Richard S. "Auraria: What's It All About," Empire Magazine,
(The Sunday Denver Post Supplement), June 1, 1975
La Roe, Helen Quezada, and Anita Martinez Quezada, Oral History taped interview, 4-12-84, Denver, Colorado
Martinez, Grace and Joe, Oral History taped interview, 4-9-84, Denver, Colorado
Noel, Thomas J., Denver: Rocky Mountain Gold, Tulsa, Oklahoma: Continental •. Heritage, Inc., 1980
Noel, Thomas J., Denver's Larimer Street, A Publication of Historic Denver, Inc., 1982
Parkes, Henry Bamford, A History of Mexico, First Sentry Printing, 1938
Perez de Ribas, Andres, Triumfos de Nuestra Santa Fe, I
Quezada, Ramon, Oral History taped interview, 2-11-84, Denver, Colorado
Spencer, F.C., The Story of the San Luis Valley, Alamosa: Alamosa Journal: 1925
Stoner, Agneda Lopez, Oral History taped interview, 4-23-84, Denver, Colorado
Storrs, L.W., Colorado., A Literary Chronical, New York
Torres, Joe, Oral History taped interview, 3-21-84, Denver, Colorado
Tushar, Olibama Lopez, The People of "El Valle," Published by Olibama Lopez Tushar, 1975
Vigil, Gene 9th Street Oral History Project, taped interview, 1982, Metro State College, Denver, Colorado
Vigil, Louise Tenorio, 9th Street Oral History Project, taped interview,
1982, Metro State College, Denver, Colorado
Voter Registration Printout List, 1968
Zimmerman, Magdalena Gonzalez, Telephone Conversation, 9-18-84, Denver, Colorado


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@ Copyright 1985 H I S T 0 R Y 0 F T H E H I S P A N I C S E T T L E R S I N A U R A R I A : T H E F 0 R G 0 T T E N C 0 M M U N I T Y By Magdalena Gallegos rj I . . , . I " . .. .. '

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HISTORY OF THE HISPANIC SETTLERS IN AURARIA 1916 to 1972 Auraria was the birthplace of Denver back in 1858. It is indeed an historic site and many versions have been written aoout its past. I would like to add to the historical writings by celebrating the Hispanic community who settled in the area. I was born at Tenth Street, in tne heart of Auraria. My roots are embedded deeply in the little community I home. I am concerned with preserving the history of a people and a place. It was a living, vital community for many years. I write about people and places for I believe that places do not make history without people. * * * * * * * Auraria was the first permanent settlement in what is now Denver. William Greeneberry Russell, his brothers, Levi and Oliver, with a 1 small party of eleven found gold nearby in July, 1858.' After that, they staked out Auraria, which was west of Cherry Creek by the Platte River. A group of Arapahoe Indians were settled on the land when the gold h . d 2 rus ers arnve . Russell collaborated with John Smith, a trader who had married an Arapahoe woman. Smith claimed ownership of the land through his marriage. On October 30, 1858, the Auraria Town Company was formed. Or. Levi Russell it Auraria after his home town in Georgia. Auraria 3 comes from the Latin word meaning gold. On his way back home, to visit his family, Russell met a man named William Larimer. Larimer liked to be called "The General." He had earned the title while he was in the Pennsylvania State Militia.

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He carried the title with him even after he was no longer in the military. In 1858, Larimer jumped a claim known as the St. Charles. It was located on the east side of Cherry Creek. He named his settlement Denver. 4 On December 14, 1859, Larimer crossed the Platte River and put down a stake on a hill. He called this site Highland 5 because it rose high above the lower valley of Auraria. There were now three separate settlements. The three settlements finally were merged to become one town called Denver on April 5, 1860. From then on, Auraria became known as West Denver and Highland became North Denver. 6 By 1860, Denver had become a city of 4,749. Many of the people had come from the Midwest. They came from Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio. 7 A number of German and Irish immigrants settled in Auraria in the late 18801s.8 They built homes and churches. The architecture of the homes built this time period were Victorian.9 Con struction of St. Elizabeth1S Catholic Church in Auraria started in 1887. This church was to serve the German population living in Auraria at the time.10 St. Leols Catholic Church was built a1so in 1887 for the Irish population in the area. In 1926, St. Cajetan Catholic Church was built to serve the Hispanic people who were arriving in Denver at that time.11 Although the Spanish first explored, named and settled much of Colorado, large numbers of Mexican and Spanish settlers did not arrive in Denver until after 1900. Most settled in or around Auraria. Before we can go directly to the Hispanics in Auraria, we must first go back 2.

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in history to see what forces guided them there. Spanish history in the southwest is laced with realism, myths and legends. The most famous legend, 11The Seven Cities of Cibola,11 or the Seven Cities of Gold as some called it, was a point in history which triggered the move of the Spaniards and Mexicans northward. Agneda Lopez Stoner, a former resident of Auraria, told me that her ancestors came from Seville, Spain. Agneda can trace her history back to the Spanish leader, Cortes, in the 15005, and also to the famous Spanish Explorer of the American Southwest, Cabeza de Vaca.12 Hernan Cortes conquered Mexico between 1519 and 1522. During an expedition in 1528, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, his black slave Estevan and a few other companions were shipwrecked off the Texas coast.13 They wandered around for eight years. While sitting around camp fires, they heard stories from the Indians of lost cities paved with gold and houses made of tourquoise. When the expedition finally reached the settlements of Sonora and Sinaloa, the stories had grown out of proportion. The Spaniards felt that the Seven Cities of Gold were destined to become their new conquest.14 The first expedition to be sent out in search of the gold and treasures started in 1539. A missionary, Fray Marcos de Niza, was chosen to lead the expedition. Cabeza de Vaca's slave Estevan was sent out ahead to scout the area. He ended up being killed by the Indians. Some say he was killed because he was thought to be a spy. Other thoughts are that he had been going around seducing the Indian women.15 The tired explorers found nothing but when they were ready to return to Mexico, Fray Marcos de Niza saw the sunset over an Indian 3.

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village in the horizon. The golden rays of the sun totally con. d . h d f h . . 16 v1nce h1m that t e ream o t e seven c1t1es was true. Many explorers followed the dream and Don Francisco Vasquez de Coronado was one. In 1540, he led an expedition to the Southwest. His fabulous dream cities of Cibola crumbled and a great dissapointment faced the expedition when they found the first city, Hawikuh, t b h . h d d "11 17 o e not 1ng more t an a poor, crow e v1 .age. While searching for the seven cities of gold, Coronado sent expeditions in all directions. It is believed that one expedition reached the Royal Gorge. But it was Zebulon Pike who received credit 18 for its discovery. Juan de Zaldivar was sent in search of a lost expedition party in the late 1590s. While he was searching, he came upon and explored 19 the San Luis Valley. According to L.W. Storrs, it is believed that Juan de Onate also 20 explored the San Luis Valley and the vicinity of Denver. After exploration for gold proved fruitless, the direction for expeditions turned to civilizing, taming and converting the Indians. This led to Indian Rebellions in the 1680s. This rebellion cur-21 tailed Spanish exploration and settlement for over a decade. The Spanish military led expeditions against the Utas and Comanches. One expedition led by Governor Antonio Valverde y Cosio in 1719 was said to have reached the regions known as Colorado and Kansas. He heard rumors that the French were working with the Pawnee Indians. This upset the Spaniards, so Pedro de Villasur was sent with a hundred men to make a military survey of the enemy territory. This was in 1720. While he was on his way, he crossed 4.

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through Colorado by way of the Platte River. He named it El Rio de Santa Maria. One night he was attacked by the Indians and the French as he camped by the river. Only a few Spaniards escaped. This was the last recorded expedition of Spaniards into eastern Colorado.22 The southwest corner of Colorado was better known to the Spaniards. They had mined the area for over fifty years.23 Proof of mining activities had been left in old mine tunnels. The tree rings could be traced back to 1726.24 Perry Eberhart, while gathering information for his book, Treasure of the Rockies, discovered evidence that for two hundred years, Spaniards had mined and had settlements in Colorado.25 Because of the evidence found, it can be presumed that ancient mining took place near Poncha Springs. Weapons, armour and antique mining equipment were also found in the vicinity of the San Luis Valley. One problem in trying to trace Spanish history in Colorado is the lack of written or recorded journals. But it is evident that the Spaniards came into Colorado in the 1700s.26 Before 1803, the Spaniards were not interested in settling land north of New Mexico. In 1846, there were over 100,000 Spanish Colonials in New Mexico. This land belonged to Mexico and the people were considered Mexican citizens.27 The United States took this land from Mexico during the Mexican American War. The war ended with the Treaty of Hidalgo on March 10, 1848.28 Although the Treaty of Hidalgo offered United States citizenship, the people from New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and California were often treated as second class citizens.29 5.

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Not until the Spaniards felt the encrouchment of the 11Americanos11 did they venture to settle in Colorado. Settlement would be their sign of right of possession. They also needed settlements along the border of Northern New Mexico for protection from the Indians.30 In 1819, the Spaniards constructed a fort to keep outsiders from their territory. It was situated near an old Spanish trail which later was called the Sangre de Cristo Trail near present day Wal-senburg. 31 The Indians continued to raid villages in northern New Mexico and the San Luis Valley throughout the 1800s. The people got together and appealed for protection. That was when large tracts of land were given to those people who promised to establish colonies. This land was between the Taos and Arkansas river. These Mexican land grants were known as the: Vigil and St. Vrain Grant; the Gervacio Nolan Grant; the Tierra Amarilla Grant; and the Sangre de Cristo Grant.32 From 1848 to 1900, most of these land grants were lost. The Spanish peasants were unfamiliar with the U.S. Tax system. Some of the land grants were sold for unpaid taxes that people had never heard of.33 Other land grants were lost through an inheritance rule. Isabel Benavidez, a resident of Parker, Colorado, told me of such an incident. Her family had Spanish land grants. She has a male relative in New Mexico who still owns some of this land. In her words, 11None of the women in my family ever inherited any of the land. The grants were always handed down to the oldest surviving male in the family. The only way a woman could become part of a land grant was to marry a man who had Agneda Lopez Stoner said that her ancestors also had Spanish land grants that were lost to the oldest surviving sons.35 6.

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In some cases, family names were lost. Boys were often separated from their families in the late 1800s by being kidnapped. Francisco Benavidez, husband of Isabel, related, ''My great grandfather Lorenzo was stolen by the Comanche Indians. He was then sold to a Benavidez family. I think his real name was Damas and that his father was a 36 Spanish soldier, but there is no way to be sure." Because of these kidnappings, it has been hard for many people to trace their ancestry. .Olibama Lopez Tushar talks about this in her book, The of .. "El Valley". "It was during this period that my grandfather Jose P. Lopez was captured by the Navajos." She tells how her great grandfather, who lived in Abuquiu, took his two sons to help him watch his flock of sheep. A band of Navajos appeared, shot her great grandfather and stole the boys.37 Helen Quezada-La Roe, a former resident of Auraria, traces her history on her mother's side to the first Spanish settlers. Her great grandfather was born in Abiquiu, New Mexico. His name was Jesus Martinez. He told the family stories about his mother. This is a story Helen re-lated to me. "It seems that my great, great, grandmother traveled over water for a very long time. Then she traveled by ground for many, many days in a covered wagon. She ended up in New Mexico and finally went to 38 the San Luis Valley." Helen's grandfather lived to be 100 years old. She said that in his father's house, they had an Indian who slept behind the stove. Helen heard stories of Spaniards stealing Indian children for slaves. Then the Indians would stea 1 the Spanish chi 1 dren for the same reason. "You just couldn't leave your children alone in those days," 7. 39 Helen told me.

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The Martinez family lived in two settlements around the San Luis Valley. Helen seems to think they were forts and that they settled h f . 40 t ere or protect1on. Another story He 1 en to 1 d was: 11My mother 1 s fami 1 y had a neighbor who came from Clovis, New Mexico. He had owned a lot of cattle. He was stripped of his land and he was lucky to get away with his life. I also heard stories of families being lined up and shot by Texans. When people from the Valley went to Santa Fe, New Mexico to look for the Archives, they couldn1t find them. It was found out later that 41 they had been destroyed. 11 Helen boasted of her family1s historical ties with Denver. 11MY great, great grandfather on my mother1s side, came to Denver as a young man. The story was handed down that he brought lumber from the mountain and built a big building on a hill.11 Helen and her family love to go to the State Capitol because that is the building her great, great, grandfather helped to build.42 The corner stone of the Colorado Capitol was laid July 4, 189o.43 By the start of the 1900s, economic conditions were bad for most of the Mexican and Spanish people of the Southwest. From 1910 to 1921, Mexico was in a state of revolution.44 People migrated north to escape from the upheavel. They were tired of war. Some belonged to the soldados and were being hunted. There were two groups of soldados: The liberating Army of the South led by Emiliano Zapata, and the Northern Division commanded by Francisco Villa.45 Many Mexicans came to the United States in order to survive the revolutionary wars. My own family may serve as an example of the Hispanic immigration pattern. I found out from my aunt Agneda Lopez Stoner that my grand S.

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mother Lucy Lujan Torres was born in Chihuahua, Mexico. My grandfather was Jose Torres and no one seems to know where he was born. My mother Florence Torres Gallegos was born in Rhode, New Mexico in 1915. Her oldest brother Bennie was born in 1906 at the same place. Bennie, Vincent, Tom, Joe and Margaret were other children of Lucy and Jose Torres. In 1918, my grandfather Jose died. The family moved to Greeley, Colorado in 1919 to work in the beet fields.46 My father Felix Gallegos was born in Via Nueva, New in 1912. His mother Pabla died when he was seven years old. He went to live with his mother's sister Romanita Duran. From Via Nueva, in 1919, they moved to Pueblo, Colorado. They lived in Bessemer, a Pueblo suburb next to the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company (C.F.& I.). The men in the family went to work for the steel mill. In 1920, the family moved to Florence, Colorado. They worked at the smelter and lived there until 1925. Then my father remembers agents coming to recruit people for beet field work. "They came from the Great Western Sugar Co. My family was enticed with a promise of more money. One of the family members decided to go. Things weren't so bad in Florence at the time, but when one person went, everyone followed," related my Father. So in 1925, they all ended up in Keensburg, Colorado working the beet fields.47 It was at that time that Great Western Sugar Company would take carloads of people from Old and New Mexico to work the beet fields in Colorado.48 Another family that ended up in Keensburg was the Torres family. My uncle Bennie was offered a foreman's job in Keensburg, Colorado. The family moved to Keensburg in 1922. They worked there for about three years, The older boys started to get married and move to Denver. Uncle 9.

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of the activities at St. Cajetan revolved around music. We had plays there and all the Spanish girls sang in the choir. Actually, we participated at all three parishes in the neighborhood, St. Cajetan, St. Elizabeth and St. Leo's. I remember when Father Ordinas needed singers for a requiem mass during the week, he would go to St. Elizabeth's and pull us out of classes to go sing. I was eight years old at the time."52 The parish of St. Cajetan had its beginning when a mission was preachsd in May, 1922, by Father Bartholomew Caldentey. The mission was preached in St. Leo's Church, only three blocks from where the church of St. Cajetan now stands. It was so successful and there were so many people that the church of St. Leo's could not contain them. 53 That is when the idea of a new parish was born. Services for the Spanish speaking people were allowed to continue at the basement of St. Leo's Church while arrangements for an ment of a Spanish speaking church was being made. Father Caldentey was the person who first contacted J.K. Mullen who eventually put up the 54 major monies to build St. Cajetan Church. St. Cajetan Church was com-pleted and dedicated on March 21, 1926.55 Nine years later, St. Cajetan school was dedicated. "On Tuesday, June 29, at 3:30p.m., 1937, scores of distinguished visitors, including the honored benefactors, the J.K. Mullen heirs and officials of the Colorado Milling and Elevator Co. attended the dedication of St. Cajetan School. u56 An article in the Denver Catholic Register carried this article: "Slum district being transformed in West Denver, through the generosity of the J.K. Mullen heirs and the Colorado Milling and Elevator Co. Below are pictured their latest St. Cajetan School (top) and convent. Dedication services of the school were held Tuesday of this week with the Most Rev. Urban J. Vehr, Bishop of Denver, officiating. In the background of the lower picture can be seen the Ave Maria Clinic building, free medical center erected by the Mullen heirs a few years 11.

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Joe Torres moved to Denver in 1928 at the age of seventeen. He got a job at peerless Multigraphing Co. He was a messenger boy. Joe was now established in Denver with a house and a job. He sent for the rest of the family in 1920.49 When my mother and grandmother arrived in Denver, they rented a house at 1326 Ninth Street. In 1933, they moved to T th St d d f J H b I . h so en reet an rente rom oe er ner, an r1s man. In 1933, my grandmother Lucy was on her way home from the neighborhood theatre on Colfax. As she was walking across Colfax Avenue, a Public Service Company truck struck and killed her. My father Felix had followed the Torres family to Denver and in 1934, he married my mother Florence at St. Cajetan Church. I was born the next year and was baptized at the same church. I attended St. Cajetan School for eight years, graduating in 1949. My family occupied the house at Tenth Street until 1969. During that time, other families had been steadily arriving in Denver and settling in West Denver. Maria Agneda Lopez Stoner was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico in 1918. Her parents were Eusepio Lopez and Isidora (Lola) Rubio. Her mother Isidora was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico in 1883. Agneda's father came to Denver in 1923 and the family followed a year later. He had owned a grocery store in Las Vegas but his brother had gambled it away. He couldn't find a job so he moved to Denver. He was hired at the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad.51 Agneda was six years old when she arrived in Denver. She says she can still remember back then. "First we lived by the power house and ice house on Eighth and Colfax. Then we moved to some terraces on Eighth and Curtis. We went to school at St. Elizabeth because it was the only Catholic school around, but St. Cajetan was our A big part 10.

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,. .... _ __,,........,... ___ No. 40; : :DENVER. COLO., THURSDAY, JULY 1, 1937. $2 PER YEAR • • • • • • • • • • • • • • ' • # • • • , . . --.. . --_ . ' ; ..... ; . . . . . : . . .. . Transf. .. o .. .. rosit,. of . . . . . . the J. IC. MulleD lleira and the Colorado illin.r and Elentor Co, Below. are pictur;d Len.e'Eaction.a....:....st. C:ajetan.'a 1chool (top) and Dedication. IOrYicea of the Jcbool' were held Taeada:r of 'tbia: weak with tbe Moat Rn. V ehr, Biahop of DenYer; olficiatiJar.' .Ill of tlie tower 'picture can Le aeen the 'Clinic ' buildin.c, medical ceDtu''arected. by. the Mullen heira' . a lew aro.-(Reriater .. ;-., .. ... Z<>c ... .. f -.. -:; Flf:EIIl

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Agneda went on to tell me about her childhood in West Denver. 11We moved to Ninth and Curtis, right around the corner from St. Cajetan Church. My mother washed and ironed clothes for the priests there. She also cleaned the altar of the church. My mother died in 1937. My sisters, Isabel, Antonia, Petra, and I were all teenagers at the time. Everything we did revolved around the church. 11Everybody went to church on Sunday and I would watch for Angelo Lopez to pull up in front of St. Cajetan with his family in a horse and wagon. His sisters Juanita and Jesusita were always with him. I was very impressed by that horse and wagon. They lived across Cherry Creek on Bannock Street. 11When we first moved into the neighborhood, it was mostly Anglo. No one wanted to rent to Spanish people. It was mostly a German neigh borhood. When St. Cajetan church was built, a lot of the German people started to move out. That's when the Mexican and Spanish people moved in. "I saw the Mull en Mi 11 on Eighth and Curtis burn down. I was watching my sister Antonia play the piano. The piano was by the window. We saw the smoke and we ran outside and watched it burn down. Later on, the Ave Maria Clinic was built on the same spot. "The old Governor's Mansion (A.C. Hunt) was in our neighborhood. It was on Eleventh Street. When I first saw it, it was already run down. It was turned into an apartment house and later on, it was boarded up. "My father was a musician. He played with the Denver & Rio Grande band. My sisters and I watched him play Sousa down Sixteenth Street for all the parades. He worked as a machinist for the D&RG. 12.

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11There was a Methodist church right next to St. Leo•s on West Colfax. It had a big area of cement around it. All the kids in the neighborhood went there after school to roller skate. We also played in the streets because there were no cars in those days. 11 I remember the grocery store on 9th and Curtis. It was a 1 ways owned by a Jewish family. We shopped there until the Loop opened. Then we would walk across Cherry Creek to spend a thrilling afternoon shop ping there. 11We were better off before the depression. My father had a steady job then. After the depression, they cut his hours to two days a week and he was finally laid off. He went back to Las Vegas and never came back.••58 There were several marriages within the West Denver community during the 1930s. Besides my mother and father, my uncle Joe Torres married Agneda Lopez in 1936. Agneda•s sister Petra married Phillip J. Torres. Another sister, Isabel Lopez married Trinki Montoya. Alice Dominguez married Willie Lopez. These are just a few unions of families in the neighborhood. Phillip J. Torres and his wife Petra bought the Victorian house at 1033 Ninth Street in the late thirties and lived there until Denver Urban Renewal bought the area for the Auraria Campus in the 1970s. The Elmer Tenorio family has deep roots in West Denver. I was able to trace Elmer back to 1916 in the City Directories.59 According to his daughter Louise, Mr. Tenorio was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico. He came to Denver when he was nineteen years old to find work. When he first came to town, he lived at 1019 Tenth Street. He got a job at the Denver Dry Goods Co. Mr. Tenorio moved almost every year until he married 13.

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Frances Lucero in 1922. For several years, the Tenorios moved in and out of West Denver. Mr. Tenorio held many jobs in his early days. He worked as a butcher at Swift and Company. Later, he became a painter and paper hanger. In 1932, the family moved to 1284 W. 14th Ave. In 1936, the family moved for the last time. Mr. Tenorio bought a house at 1326 Kalamath. It was about that time that he went to work for the City and 60 County of Denver. Louise Vigil told me that her father Elmer Tenorio had always been interested in politics. He was the first Hispanic to run for City Council in District 2 in 1932. At the time, the family lived at 1284 W. 14th Ave . . People in the area called it 11Jew Town11 because it was occupied mostly by Jewish families. 11My father knew that he wouldn't win the election because he didn't have sufficient funds to run a campaign, but he had the courage to do it,11 Louise told me. 11He wanted to make a breakthrough in politics for the Hispanic community, which he did. In 1939, Phillip B. Gilliam ran for Juvenile Judge and my dad Elmer worked hard for him. Gil'liam promised him a good job if he won. Gilliam did win the post and appointed my dad to be the first Hispanic probation officer in Denver.1161 Tenorio worked in that capacity for twenty five years until he retired.62 Louise Tenorio married Ben Vigil in 1936. At first, they lived on Eighth and Curtis. For awhile, they moved out of the area but came back in the early forties. They bought a home at 1045 Ninth Street. Their children, Gene, Don and Linda, grew up in that house. They lived there until the late fifties. Mr. Vigil worked for Brach's Candy Co. He also went into the candy business for himself. The name of the candy company was the Copper Kettle and one of his specialties was cinnamon candy apples. 14.

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His daughter Linda told me that all the recipes were original family recipes. He set up his shop in the Basement of their home on Ninth Street. Linda says that when they moved in the fifties, her father closed his business and it was never opened again. Louise Vigil remembered growing up in Aurgria and going to church at St. Elizabeth's. She knew there was a racial problem because she overheard the German congregation whispering to each other that they did not appreciate the Spanish people going there. Because of that, Louise told me, "It was symbolic to send my kids to St. Elizabeth's school instead of St. Cajetan's. It had something to do with breaking the racial barriers."63 The Quezada family were long time residents of Auraria. The Quezada story was told to me by Mrs. Anita Quezada, who was eighty eight years old at the time, her daughter Helen La Roe and her son Ramon Quezada. Emiterio Quezada was born in Ja1isco, Mexico. He came to the United States in 1908. He was thirteen years old. First he went to Kansas. Then he went to La Junta to work in the beet fields. He then moved to Oenver.64 I was able to trace him back to 1926 in the City Directories. Helen told me that his name did not appear in the Oirec-tories before this date because he did not want to be sent back to Mexico. In 1926, he was already married to Anita Martinez Quezada and they were living at 1311 Tenth Street. Emiterio owned the pool hall at 1001 Larimer. He won it through a gambling wager. The pool hall was attached to their home around the corner. They lived in the same house until 197o.66 Anita Martinez Quezada was born in Capulin, Colorado. 15.

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The year was 1898. Her father's name was Manuel Martinez and her mother's name was Elvira, Trujillo.67 Another family to settle in Auraria was the Ramos family. I interviewed Lupe Arguello, a daughter, and Mrs. Isabel Ramos for this story. Mrs. Ramos at the time was eighty seven years old. Tiodolo Ramos and his wife Isabel were both born in Mexico. In 1920, they moved to Denver.68 In 1921, they lived at 1349 Seventh Street, according to the Denver City Directories.. Mr. Ramos worked for Denver Gas & Electric 0. In 1926, Mr. Ramos worked for Public Service Co. and the Stone House Sign Co. In that year, they moved to 1246 Ninth Street.69 According to Lupe, the family lived at that address for many years. Mr. and Mrs. Ramos had ten children. Their names were: Josie, Carmela, Andres, Mike, Margie, Lupe, Betty, Lola, Jennie and Sylvia. In the late 1920s, Mrs. Ramos bought the big house at 1068 Ninth Street and rented it out to her married children. When Mr. Ramos retired from the Stone House Sign Co. in the 1950s, he and Mrs. Ramos moved into the 1068 Ninth Street house with their married children. Mrs. Ramos also bought two terraces on Curtis Street next to the big house. Lupe married Nick Arguello in 1936 and lived in one of the terraces with their children. They lived there until they were relocated in the 1970s.70 The Martinez family was well known in West Denver. Joseph Dionisio Martinez was born in Ocate, New Mexico in 1913. He came to Colorado when he was 16 years old. First he lived in Walsenburg where he worked in the coal mines. Then he moved to Denver and went to Opportunity School. In 1938, he married Grace Mascarenas. Grace was born in Rains-ville, New Mexico in 1909. Grace was working as a nurse maid for the 16.

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the President of Public Service Company of Colorado. The President gave Joe a job at Public Service Company as a wedding present. Joe was one of the first Hispanics to work for that company.71 Joe and Grace had three children, Joe, Judy and Bill. The family lived at 821 Curtis for sixteen years. The children went to St. Elizabeth's school for awhile. -Later, they transfered to St. Cajetan's school. Grace told me, had so many friends in the old neighborhood. There were Hank and Ruben Vasquez, Henry and Trinki Montoya, Line and Margo Padilla, Petra and Phil Torres, Mary and Charles DeSilva, Tom Velarde and his family, Pete and Della Solano, Al and Mary Baca, Alice and Willie Lopez, Nellie Dominguez and her family, Rose Vasquez, Felix and Florence Gallegos, Belle Trujillo and her family. Now we only have one close family of friends who live on our block. Belle later married Sam Passarrelli from the neighborhood. I remember at ]east three generations who grew up together in the neighborhood."72 The Navarro family did not live in West Denver but they had strong ties with St. Cajetan Church and the community. Mr. Navarro belonged to an organization which is pertinent to the history I am following. This is the story Delfine Navarro Carpio told me from her North Denver home. "I was born in Milikin, Colorado in 1916. My father, Nicolas came from Mexico in 1910. My mother's name was Cidelia Archuleta. She was born in Cucharas, Huerfano County near Walsenburg, Colorado. My father worked in a flour mill in Milikin, Colorado. When the mill burned down, we moved to Denver. My dad was transfered to a flour mill in Denver. It was owned by Farmer's Union, the same company that owned the mill in Mi1ikin.72 I was able to trace the Navarro's back to 1925 in the City 17.

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Directories. In that year, they lived at 2820 Blake. Mr. Navarro's 73 employment was listed as Farmer's Union, Milling and Elevator. According to Delfine, the mill her father worked for was taken over by the Mullen family in the crash of 1929. One of the most important things in the life of Nicolas Navarro, according to Delfine, was his involvement in an organization Sociedad Mutalista Mexico. This was an organization of men from the old country (Mexico) and only people who had been born in Mexico ld b 1 . 74 1 k h M . cou e ong to 1t. These were the peep e who ept t e ex1can culture alive in Denver. In 1922, Nicolas formed the SSM together with: Santiago Mijares, Salvador and Ignacio Mackintosh and Angel Carranco.75 Lupe Arguello told me that her father Tiodolo also belonged to that organization.76 Helen La Roe's father Emiterio also belonged to a Mutalista Society from Mexico and I believe it to be the same organization.77 Mexican holidays were celebrated and the men would wear ribbons across their chests with Sociedad Mutalista Mexico on them .. They would march from Curtis Park to the Tivoli Hall. After a long day of speeches, the "Grito de Dolores," would be proclaimed.78 This custom goes back to September 16, 1810 when Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla gave the "grito" from his church in the town of Dolores. This cry for indepen-d f S . d h M . R 1 . 79 ence rom pa1n starte t e ex1can eva ut1on. This brings to memory a Mexican celebration in 1952. I was a Mexican dancer and had been asked to participate. There was to be a parade from Curtis Park to North Denver. My mother made me a colorful costume and we arrived at the park early. A band was playing Mexican music and Charras were riding their horses in the street. Men were 18.

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standing around in suits with ribbons across their chests. I rode qn a float and the parade took us to 46th and Lipan. A group of Mexicans had a building there by the name of Good American's Organization (G.A.O.). A dance took place that evening with entertainment straight from Mexico. Another family who had ties with the community were Francisco and Isabel Benavidez. Francisco was born in Encinada, New Mexico in 1907. Isabel Sanchez Benavidez was born in Los Bracos, in 1914. In 1926, Francisco traveled to Alamosa, Colorado. Isabel was already living there. They were married in 1932. They moved to Denver in 1939. Their children's names are Zella, Frank, Sandra Marie, Adrienne, Beverly and Veronica. When the Benavidez family arrived in Denver, they saw it as very racist. Mr. Benavidez was dark skinned. His wife Isabel had European coloring. She had blue eyes, fair skin and red hair. "In Denver, there were only certain parts of town where Mexicans could rent," Mr. Benavidez told me. He said he would go to rent a house and would be turned down. Then h-e said, "I would send my fair skinned wife to the same landlord and he would rent the house to her."80 Francisco and Isabel said that there were signs all over which read, "No Niggers or Mexicans Allowed." In 1947, and Mrs. Benavidez decided to do something about the situation. Together with Charlie Tafoya, Tim Duran, Bernie Valdez and Bennie Martinez, they started the Latin American Council. Judge Cook was instrumental in getting the . . d 81 organ1zat1on starte . The Latin American Council traveled to Brighton and Greeley in order to organize people from all over. The organization brought respect to the Mexican people and things started to change. Two 19.

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people from the organization, Charlie Tafoya and Bernie Valdez, ran for State Representative but they both lost. Bernie Valdez later became a successful politician and head of the Denver Welfare Depart-82 ment. In 1944, Mr. Benavidez joined another organization. It .was the Sociedad Protectora Mutual de Los Trabajodores Unidos (SPMDTU). I had a telephone conversation with Ruben Aguirre on April 20, 1984. I got this information: He is the current president of the organ-ization in Denver. The SPMDTU is the oldest Spanish speaking organ-ization in Colorado. It was founded in 1900 in Antonito, Colorado where the large hall still stands today. The founder was the Honorable Celedonio Mondragon. The purpose of the organization was for mutual protection. In the 1950s, it expanded to 6,000 members within the states of Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. Members received a life insurance which is paid for out of dues. In order to belong to the organization, a b H . . b th f . d . 83 man must e 1span1c, etween e ages o s1xteen an s1xty. The Gonzales family on Ntnth Street were the celebrities of the neighborhood. Ramon and Carolina lived at 1020 Ninth Street with their children from 1933 to 1973. They had come from Chihuahua, Mexico. In 1947, Mr. and Mrs. Gonzales went into business. They sold tamales at the rear of their home. The Gonzalez family was encouraged to acquire a restaurant license. Soon after that, the house was converted into a restaurant. It was called the Casa Mayan. Old Mayan and Mexican methods of preparing food were used. Corn was the main ingredient in their cooking. On their menu, a combination plate included: a tamale, a chile relleno and an enchilada. The chile relleno was made by stuffing a green chile with cheese, rolling it in flour, dipping it in egg batter and 20.

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frying it very gently in hot fat. A green chile and tomato sauce was poured over the chile relleno to complete a dish which caught the appeal of the surrounding Anglo community.84 A former resident of Auraria, Gene Vigil, remembers when he was a boy watching women going into the restaurant wearing fur coats. 11Most afthe clientele came from outside of the neighborhood and most were 85 Anglos,11 he recalls. Ramon and Carolina had three sons and four daughters who were all musically talented. They were Rafael, Magdalena, Belen, Ramon Jr., Martha, Celia and Arnalda. The Casa Mayan became known for its has-pitality. It became somewhat of a cultural center. The house vibrated with sonorous sounds of Mexican and Spanish music, sung to the strums of guitars and the piano. Young girls with colorful costumes eagerly learned the dances of Mexico and Spain.86 The lessons were free. Celia Gonzalez was the teacher and reciprocation for the free lessons was the girls would perform at various functions all over Colorado. The Casa Mayan became a meeting place for famous musicians and singers. Some of these famous people included: Carlos Montoya, Judy Collins, Tito Guizar, Jose Greco's Spanish Dance Troop and Jose Feliciano. These famous people would go to eat at the Casa Mayan. After they ate, they would entertain in a home atmosphere. Some local organizations which had their beginning at the restaurant include: The Latin American Cultural Society, The Corrida Club of Colorado and the Pena Taurina Club.87 Magdalena Gonzalez Zimmerman told me these clubs were poetry clubs, guitar clubs and social clubs. She remembers the Pan-American Club. This was a social club for the people from different South American 21.

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Countries. Magdalena said, "The Sixteenth of September fiestas were organized at the Casa Mayan and the dances were held at the Tivoli Hall."88 Life in Auraria was remembered by Helen Quezada La Roe. Since the family lived at 1311 Tenth Street, Helen remembers Tenth and Larimer vividly. She recalled that most businesses were owned by Jewish people. "There was a Robert and Ruth Butler who had a grocery store on Tenth Street. The T-ivoli was built by Austrians and Germans. I remember the dance hall. They used to rent it out to the Mexican people for weddings and for Mexican holidays."89 Ramon Quezada remembers the "Westurn Hall" (Turn Halle was the official name for the Tivoli Hall but the people in the neighborhood made up their own name) in the Tivoli. "It was a gorgious place. It had a stage, a balcony and a dance floor. They had stag shows there. One evening, I was playing with my friends and we heard a loud applause. I was only eight years old at the time. We all climbed up to see what was going on. In those days, there was no airconditioning, so the windows were always open. Through the open window, I saw my first strip show. The free show ended when a policeman spotted us and chased us away."90 Helen went on to tell me about the area. "In the late Thirties, there was a drug store right across the street from the jail. At that time, the jail was on Fourteenth and Larimer in the old City Hall. Then there was the German bakery, Roederer's, at 1022 Larimer. They had the best Danish rolls in the worl8. The nuns from St. Cajetan would buy boxes of 91 the Danish rolls for First Friday breakfast." Helen remembered the junk yard on the southwest corner of Tenth and Larimer. The Buffalo Inn was one of the last places to go when Urban Renewal took over. It had been a permanent part of the Tenth and Larimer 22.

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scenery for many, many years.92 Helen remembered the potato chips. 11The potato chip factory sat next to the bakery but I can1t remember the brand name. We never paid attention. Everyone in the neighborhood bought potato chips at the back door. The potato chips came in brown bags and cost a nickle. These were the left over broken chips that could not be packaged and sold. They sure tasted good. They used to have fires at the potato chip factory all the time. As soon as you heard a fire engine coming, you knew where the fire was. The grease used to catch on fire all the t . 1193 1me. 11My father1S pool hall was on the northeast corner of Tenth and Larimer,11 Helen continued. 11And there were two barber shops on Eleventh and Larimer. One was owned by Frank Ulibarri and he lived in the back of his shop.1194 Helen remembered, I'There was a funeral parlor where the Ulibarri Barber Shop was. They took one of my friend1s mother to that place. After that, every time I went by that place, I thought of that woman.11 11Talking about funerals,11 she went on, 11We used to have a neighbor who belonged to the Morada (Penitentes) and anytime there was a wake, he would sing-and ohh-it sounded like dogs were howling. They had wakes in the houses in those days. The first wake I remember was when Herman Spencer died in 1937. He lived across the street from us on Tenth Street. I remember that old man. Then I remember the last wake in the neighborhood in the very same house where Herman Spencer died. Rudolph Salazar died there in 1949. The wake must have lasted 96 for three days." Helen recalled the shoe repair shop that was owned by a German. 11It 23.

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was located on the southside of Larimer between Tenth and Eleventh Streets. When the war started, they closed for the duration and never opened up again. You know, the neighborhood had its very own boot-legger. That woman made so much money, she bought up all kinds of 97 property." Helen told about the oldest hotel in the history of Denver. The El Dorado was built in 1858.98 Helen remembers, "It was an old log cabin on Tenth Street across from our house. It burned down around 1940 •, and I think the museum has what is left of it.99 Helen also remembered the Lindal. "It was on the northside of Larimer between Tenth and Eleventh Streets. It was next to the alley and Ben's Bar was part of the building on the.street level. I used to sneak into the hotel to see my friends who lived upstairs. The lobby was pretty run down. The furniture looked old but I could tell that it was once elegant. At that time, there were mostly old men living there. I would watch them sitting in the lobby, smoking thick cigars and waiting for the evening paper. If my parents would have kDown that I used to sneak in there, I would have gotten a beating."100 The most outstanding feature of the hotel as Helen recalls were the fermi ca tiles on the front walkway. "They were square fermi ca tiles set into the cement. Each tile had L I N 0 A L written across it in blue letters. I wonder what ever happened to them?" Helen commented.101 Ramon Quezada has his own memories of the old neighborhood. He went to kindergarten at Lawrence Street School. First grade was at Franklin School on Colfax. "I was going to Franklin at the time they were building the Lincoln Projects. After school, I would play in the 102 foundation with the other kids," Ramon related. 24.

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Franklin School was closed when 01Meara Ford bought the school. Ramon thinks that the ichool was traded for the Denver Public Library because 01Meara Ford used to occupy the site where the new Denver Public Library now stands.103 110n my way home from school ,11 Ramon remembered, 11I would walk with all the kids past the Perkins Pickle Factory and we would all steal pickles from the barrels. The pickle factory was right across the street from St. Cajetan1S Church.104 11In those days, people had ice boxes. I would go to 5th and Walnut where box cars were being loaded with ice. Sometimes the men would miss the box car on purpose and a chunk of ice would fall on the ground. All the boys watching would run and pick up the pieces and take the ice home 105 or try to sell it.11 Ramon remembers that the old Fire Depot sat on the corner of Walnut and Fourteenth Street. 11vJhen the Fire Station moved to Fourteenth and Speer, the old building was abandoned. The kids in the neighborhood would climb up the building and ring the bell in the clock tower. On 106 V Day, we rang it al1 day and no one stopped us.11 Ramon remembered the horse stable on Ninth Street between Larimer and Lawrence. 11The Tivoli Brewery owned it,11 he recalled. 11They had beautiful Clydesdale horses that pulled the beer wagons all over town right up into the Forties.11107 11The street cars were said Ramon. 11They were still running in the early Fifties. The #75 and #84 went up and down Larimer. The right side of the Lawrence Street viaduct was reserved for the street cars. The boys in the neighborhood made carts out of old buggies and 108 rode down the vi a duct in them. 11 25.

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"Sundays were spent on Curtis Street," Ramon recalled. "I remember the Tabor, Rialto, Palace and Plaza Theatres. It only cost a nickle to get in. A first run movie would cost fifteen cents. After the movie, we would all go to Sam's #1 on Curtis to eat the best hotdogs in the 1d 11109 wor .. Helen told me, "Most of the Mexican children in the neighborhood went to Lawrence Street School. When St. Cajetan School opened, all the Mexican children transfered there. After that, Lawrence School closed down because it lost the majority of its students. At that time, the neighborhood became less and less Anglos. It became very segregated. Come to think of it, it was always segregated. For in-stance, my brother Mike was baptized in the basement of St. Leo's Church. The Anglos were baptized upstairs in the main church. The reason St. Cajetan's School was built was because St. Elizabeth's School would only allow so many children to attend. They were very choosy about who they would admit. They did allow some of the Spanish children to attend, but they were very choosy. I remember the Greenings. They went to St. Elizabeth's School. They were Spanish from Trinidad. I think they changed their name in Trinidad so that they could get jobs. I heard that a lot of people changed their names so they could get jobs."110 The 1940s brings the war to peoples' minds. Helen recalls dances at the "Westurn Hall" for the soldiers being shipped out. "I wasn't old enough to go to the dances, but I can remember what happened. They would go to the YWCA and bring bus loads of girls to the Tivoli. They had wires on the windows but we would ciimb up and hang on the wires to 111 peek in." 26.

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Another thing that Helen remembered about the Forties was the W.P.A. That was the Works Progress Administration and $111 Million was 112 spent on the program in Colorado. Helen's aunt worked at a sewing factory at Ashland School in North Denver. Her aunt sewed dresses in different sizes out of the same material. Helen says, "All the girls in the neighborhood wore dresses that looked the same and they hated those dresses. My aunt also worked cleaning the trains. My brother worked in.the section gang at Denver & Rio Grande before he went to the Army. That's when there was a shortage of men. All the families in the neighborhood got patriotic around that time. Everyone's house had a picture of a soldier. And every house had a flag from the Dime Store. If a family had two sons in the army, they had two stars on the flag. If a son died in the war, they had a purple star on their fl 11113 ag. During the Thirties and Forties, the people of West Denver were active in the community and were involved in many projects. One of the projects was the St. Cajetan Parish Credit Union which was founded in 1939. In 1949, the Credit Union's Board of Directors included: Elmer Tenorio, President; Samuel Lucero; Pete Greening; Phillip J. Torres, Secretary; and Father Ordinas, Treasurer. The auditing committee were Ed C. Nieto, Frank Barreras and Abel Naranjo. The credit committee was made up of Joseph D. Martinez, Frank V. Romero and Alfonso Valdez. The office of the Credit Union was housed at the St. Cajetan's rectory, 1170 Ninth Street.114 Joe Martinez, Lupe Arguello and Phil Torres were three of the people in the neighborhood involved deeply in politics. Joe Martinez was a committeeman and Lupe Arguello was a committeewoman for their 27.

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precinct. Lupe gave me a printout of the list of registered voters from West Denver. The year was 1968. (Appendix I) The list attests to the fact that the community was predominately Hispanic and politically active at the time. The people in the area voted at the fire 115 station at Ninth and Colfax. Joe Martinez told me about working for Public Service and getting involved in politics. In 1952, Public Service Co. needed a new fran-chise. Because Mr. Martinez was Spanish speaking, they asked him to form an organization in the neighborhood. The purpose of the organ-ization was to educate the people about Public Service and to get them to vote for the new franchise. The club organization was called Alianza Para Americana. It was also an insurance company. Mr. Martinez got a lot of people to join and Public Service Co. won a thirty year contract 1 . 116 at the e ect1on. In the late Sixties, the people in the neighborhood did not know what was being planned for them until the decision had already been made. Louise Vigil and her family had moved out of the neighborhood in the late 1950s. But she could not stay away from her old friends and the West Side. During the 1960s, she went back and opened up a cafeteria at St. Elizabeth's School. In her words, "That is when I first heard rumors of plans to build a college and displace the re-sidents. I remember St. Elizabeth Church trying to buy up all the property on that block. The relocation plans hit the residents like a ton of bricks. Most people had lived there all of their lives and 117 they were heartbroken." Lupe Arguello, still upset after ten years told me, "The first time people in the neighborhood heard about the relocation was when 28.

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leaflets were passed out to every house. The community was invited to a meeting at the basement of St. Cajetan's Church. Someone from the city told the people that the whole community would be moved somewhere and that they could all stay together. But it was never done. In my family, there were five generations and we all lived together on the same block since 1922. Now we're all split up and it will never be 118 the same. In 1967, Auraria was as the location of the Auraria Higher Education Center (AHEC). It was expected to cost $73 million dollars and it would occupy 169 acres of land.119 The residents of Auraria did not want to move and 155 families filed 1awsuits.120 That is when Governor John Love created the AHEC Board to act as land-121 lord and mediator. Father Pete Garcia, Assistant Pastor of St. Cajetan Church became the leader of the people. He helped to organize the Auraria Residents Organization, Inc. (ARO). The city needed bond money to complete the project. There was to be a special bond election by the vote .of .the people in 1969. Pete Garcia stated in an interview, "There were three factions involved: The People (ARO), the Church (St. Cajetan's verses 122 Archbishop Casey), and Government (Bond Election). The ARO got help from city planners. They became informed on what was happening. They went to battle to defeat the bond election. Their campaigning went on all over the city. The group was positive that they were winning their struggle. Then, the Sunday before the election, Archbishop Casey sent a letter to all the Catholic Churches in Denver. He had the parish priests read the letter from the pulpit encouraging 123 all Catholics to vote for the Bond Issue. The Bond Issue won and 29.

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the people's organization was sure that the letter is what made the difference. The ARO went to Washington to get compensation for the residents. In the end, they did not get very much for their property. Mrs. Isabel Ramos who owned three houses only received $35,000 for 124 all three. In 1972, the ARO called a meeting. They threatened to erect a "tent city" because of the excessive amount of evictions. Residents of Auraria were to be given funds for relocation even if they were renters. Some of the houses were in violation of building codes and rather than fix up the houses that were to be torn down anyway, the landlords started to evict their renters. These people who had lived in the area for years were now losing their homes. They were 125 also losing out on money to help them to relocate. 30.

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SUMMARY A few Hispanics were residents as early as 1859, but large numbers did not start to arrive until after 1916. It took them awhile to establish roots. Many settled in West Denver or Auraria. The non-Hispanics were apprehensive to the cultural differences of the Mexican people, so they moved out of the neighborhood. This left vacancies for more Spanish speaking people to move in. The discrimination from the outside brought the Hispanic community closer together. There was a sense of belonging in the neighborhood. The bonds became cemented. In becoming a close community, the people were able to do things they might not have been able to do. It didn't matter if the outside world did accepted them, they accepted themselves. The community lasted fifty years. The community was broken up and relocated to different sections of town. Ten years after this relocation, I am finding these people and talking to them. They are eager to tell the story of West Denver as they knew it. When they happen to see each other in the street, it is like homecoming. I have found out that the community is still alive in their hearts. Auraria Higher Education Complex now occupies the land where this community once resided. One street of houses remains as an historical reminder of what was. The plaques in each house are dedicated to the first residents of the homes back in the 1800s but there is not a reminder of any of the Hispanic families who occupied these houses for more than fifty years. I therefore dedicate this piece of history to all the families who have been a part of Auraria. The memories of the past will be in the history books of tomorrow.

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REFERENCE NOTES 1. Thomas J. Noel, Denver: Rocky Mountain Gold, Publishers: Larry P. Silvey and Douglas S. Drown, Copyright 1980 by Continental Heritage Press, Inc., Tulsa, Oklahoma, p. 24 2. Louisa Ward Arps, Denver in Slices, Copyright, 1959, Swallow Press Books published by Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio, p. 16 3. Noel, p. 24 4. Noel, p. 25 5. Noel, p. 26 6. Noe 1 , p. 28 7. Noel,p.28 8. Thomas J. Noel, Lecture, History of Denver Class, University of Colorado at Denver, 4-20-84 9. JoAnne Ditmer, "9th Street," The Denver Post, June 23, 1976, p. 68 1 0. Noe 1 , p. 46-4 7 11. Denver Catholic Register 12. Agneda Looez Stoner, Oral History taped interview, 4-23-84, Denver, Co 1 ora do Andres Perez de Ribas, Triumfos de Nuestra Santa Fe, I. 1 3. 14. 15. 16. 1 7. Arthur L. Camoa: Treasure of the Sangre de Cristos, p. 4 Ibed , p. 6 Ibed , p. 6 Ibed , p. 7 18. Perry Eberhart: Treasure of the Rockies, p. 13 19. F. C. Spencer: The Story of the San Luis Vallev, o. 17 20. L. Colo., A Literary Chronical, p. 12 21. Olibama Lopez Tushar, The People of "El Valle," Published by Olibama Lopez Tushar, 1975, xi 22. Ibed, p. 4

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23. Ibed, p. 5 24. T. H. Cornelius: Sheephearder's Gold, p. 13 25. Perry Eberhart, Treasure of the Rockies 26. Olibama Lopez Tushar, p. 5 27. I bed, p. 6 28. Henry Bamford Parkes: A History of Mexico, First Sentry Printing 1938, p. 221 29. Patricia Bell Blawis, Tijerina and the Land Grants, Copyright 1971 International Pub., N.Y., p. 20 30. Olibama Lopez Tushar, p. 9 31. Ibed, p. 6 32. Ibed, p. 10-11 33. Patricia Bell Blawis, p. 26 34. Francisco and Isabel Benavidez, Oral History taped interview, 4-7-84, Parker, Colroado 35. Agneda Lopez Stoner 36. Benavidez 37. Olibama Lopez Tushar, p. 9 38. Helen Quezada La Roe and Anita Quezada, Oral History taped intervie\-J, 4-12-84, Denver, Colorado 39. I bed 40. I bed 41 . I bed 42. I bed 43. Louisa Ward Arps, Denver in Slices, 1959 Swallow Press, Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio 44. Henry Bamford Parkes, A History of Mexico 45. 450 Years of Chicano History 46. Joe Torres, Oral History taoed interview, 3-21-84, Denver, Colorado

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47. Felix Gallegos, Oral History taped interview, 2-23-84, Denver, Colorado 48. Thomas J. Noel, p. 153 49. Joe Torres, 3-21-84 50. Denver City Directory, 1933 51. Agneda Lopez Stoner, 4-23-84 52. Ibed 53. El Reino de Dios, Nov., Dec., p. 15 54. I bed , p. 1 5-16 55. Ibed, p. 17 56. Denver Catholic Register, 7-1-37 57. Ibed, 7-1-37 58. Agneda Lopez Stoner, 4-23-84 59. Denver City Directory, 1916 60. Louise Tenorio Vigil, 9th Street Oral History Project, taped interview, Spring, 1982, Metro State College, Denver, Colorado 61. Ibed 62. Denver City Directory, 1922-1936 63. Louise Tenorio Vigil 64. Helen Quezada La Roe, 4-12-84 65. Denver City Directory, 1926 66. Ramon Quezada, Oral History taped interview, 2-11-84, nenver, Colorado 67. Helen Quezada La Roe, 4-12-84 68. Lupe Arguello, 9th Street Oral History Project, taped interview, Spring, 1982, Metro State College, Denver, Colorado 69. Denver City Directory 1926 70. Lupe Argue 11 o 71. Joe and Grace Martinez, Oral History taped 4-9-84, Denver, Colorado

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72. !bed 73. Denver City Directory, 1925 74. Delfine Navarro Carpio, Oral History taped interview, 3-15-84, Denver, Colorado 75. !bed 76. Lupe Argue 11 o 77. Helen Quezada La Roe, 4-12-84 78. Delfine Navarro Carpio, 3-15-84 79. Henry Bamford Parkes 80. Francisco and Isabel Benavidez, 4-7-84 81. !bed 82. !bed 83. Ruben Aguire, Telephone Conversation, 4-20-84 84. Magdalena Gonzalez Zimmerman, Telephone Conversation, 9-18-84 85. Gene Vigil, 9th Street Oral History Project, taped interview, 1982 Metro State College, Denver, Colorado 86. Lydia DeNecochea, 9th Street Oral History Project, 1982, Metro State College collection 87. !bed 88. Magdalena Gonzalez Zimmerman, 9-18-84 89. Helen Quezada La Roe, 4-12-84 90. Ramon Quezada, 2-11-84 91. Helen Quezada La Roe, 4-12-84 92. I bed 93. !bed 94. !bed 95. I bed 96. !bed

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97. I bed 98. Dan Hopkins, Denver's Vintage Hotels, Rocky Mountain Motorist, The Magazine for Colorado Motorists and Travelers, 59th year, Issue 5, May, 1984 99. Helen Quezada La Roe, 4-12-84 100. I bed 1 01 . I bed 102. Ramon Quezada, 2-11-84 103. I bed 104. I bed 105. I bed 106. I bed 107. I bed 108. I bed 109. I bed 110. Helen Quezada La Roe, 4-12-84 111. Ibed 112. Thomas J. Noel, p. 143 113. Helen Quezada La Roe, 4-12-84 114. Denver Catholic Register, 11-24-49 115. Lupe Arguello 116. Joe and Grace Martinez, 4-9-84 117. Louise Tenorio Vigil, 118. Lupe Arguello 119. RichardS. Johnson, "Auraria: it All About," Empire Magazine (The Sunday Denver Post Supplement,) clune 1, 1975, p. 10-11 120. Ibed, p. 11 121. Auraria: Golden Chance or Another Bum Deal? The Rocky Mountain Nev1s, Oct. 28, 1969

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122. Pete Garcia, Lecture, 9th Street Oral History Project, 3-2-82 123. Ibed 124. Ibed 125. Evicted Residents Threaten 'Tent City' in Auraria, The Denver Post, Feb. 10, 1972, p. 35

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Arguello, Lupe, 9th Street Oral History Project, taped interview, Spring, 1982, Metro State College, Denver, Colorado Aguire, Ruben, Telephone Conversation, 4-20-84 Arps, Louisa Ward, Denver in Slices, Copyright, 1959, Swallow Press Books published by Oh1o Un1vers1ty Press, Athens, Ohio Auraria: Oct. 28, Golden Chance or Another Bum Deal? The Rocky Mountain News, 1969 Benavidez, Francisco and Isabel, Oral History taped interview, 4-7-84, Parker, Colorado Blawis, Patricia Bell, Tijerina and the Land Grants, Copyright, 1971, International Publishers, New York Campa, Arthur L.: Tireasure of the Sangre de Cri stos, Copyright, 1963 by the University of Oklahoma Press Carpio, Delfine Navarro, Oral History taped interview, 3-15-84, Denver, Colorado Cornelius, T.H.: Sheephearder1s Gold Ditmer, JoAnne, 119th Street, 11 The Denver Post, June 23, 1976 Denver Catholic Register, Archdiocese of Denver Denver City Directories, Denver Public Library, Denver, Colorado DeNechochea, Lydia, 9th Street Oral History Project, 1982, Metro State College Collection Eberhart, Perry: Treasure of the Rockies, Denver, Allan Swallow Press Inc., 1961 11El Reina de Dios,11 Catholic Archdiocese of Denver Files Etter, Don. Auraria: Where Denver Began, Boulder, C.U., 1972 Evicted Residents Threaten 1Tent City1 in Auraria, The Denver Post, Feb. 10, 1972 Four Hundred Fifty Years of Chicano History, Published by the Chicano Center, Albuquerque, New Mex1co, 1976 Garcia, Pete, Lecture, 9th Street Oral History Project, 3-2-82

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Gallegos, Felix Oral History taped interview, 2-23-84, Denver, Colorado Hopkins, Dan, Denver•s Vintage Hotels, Rocky Mountain Motorist, The Magazine for Colorado Motorists and Travelers, 59th year, Issue 5, May, 1984 Johnson, RichardS. 11Auraria: Nhat•s It All About,11 Empire Magazine, (The Sunday Denver Post Supplement), June 1, 1975 La Roe, Helen Quezada, and Anita Martinez Quezada, Oral History taped interview, 4-12-84, Denver, Colorado Martinez, Grace and Joe, Oral History taped interview, 4-9-84, Denver, Colorado Noel, Thomas J., Denver: Rocky Mountain Gold, Tulsa, Oklahoma: Continental Heritage, Inc. , 1980 Noel, Thomas J., Denver•s Larimer Street, A Publication of Historic Denver, Inc., 1982 Parkes, Henry Bamford, A History of Mexico, First Sentry Printing, 1938 Perez de Ribas, Andres, Triumfos de Nuestra Santa Fe, I Quezada, Ramon, Oral History taped interview, 2-ll-84, Denver, Colorado Spencer, F.C., The Story of the San Luis Valley, Alamosa: Alamosa Journal: 1925 Stoner, Agneda Lopez, Oral History taped interview, 4-23-84, Denver, Colorado Storrs, L.W., Colorado., A Literary Chronical, New York Torres, Joe, Oral History taped interview, 3-21-84, Denver, Colorado Tushar, Olibama Lopez, The People of "El Va11e," Published by Olibama Lopez Tushar, 1975 Vigil, Gene 9th Street Oral History Project, taped interview, 1982, Metro State College, Denver, Colorado Vigil, Louise Tenorio, 9th Street Oral History Project, taped interview, 1982, Metro State College, Denver, Colorado Voter Registration Printout List, 1968 Zimmerman, Magdalena Gonzalez, Telephone Conversation, 9-18-84, Denver, Colorado