The University of Denver grew up out of the prairie where there once there were unobstructed views of the front range of the Rocky Mountains.
Originally founded in downtown Denver, DU was relocated to the city of South Denver in the 1880’s by its creator and chancellor, John Evans, who had already built Northwestern University outside of Chicago. Appointed territorial governor of Colorado in 1862 by President Lincoln, Evans wanted to provide a stellar university for the young citizens under his care. Evans Avenue, which travels across Denver, is named for this early visionary. The land acquired to build the university and subsequent buildings became known as University Park.
With the addition of the university, the future of South Denver was secure. With this in mind, the city of Denver extended its electric streetcar line to accommodate the students, faculty and residents of the tiny suburb and subsequent Denver homes.
In 1888, Humphrey Chamberlin, a successful Denver businessman, donated funds to build an observatory for the college’s use and study. The structure was built using native sandstone and is a testament to the romantic architecture of the day. There is also a smaller “student’s observatory” next to the larger unit. The green space around the observatory was set aside as a residential park, and plays that role today. The Chamberlin Observatory is still in use and there are a variety of events and public nights where you can gaze into the heavens.
The Chamberlin Observatory
With the growth of the university and the need for housing, the area surrounding the observatory became a popular home site for many professors and administrators. In fact, the 2100 block of South Milwaukee was known as “professor row”. There are quite a variety of housing styles in the neighborhood. Queen Anne Victorians, brick Four Squares (Denver Squares), colonials, bungalows, and Italianate are only a small sampling of the styles selected for the early residences.
University Hall was the first building on the campus grounds and housed the entire learning establishment until 1892 when the Iliff School of Theology was constructed. Andrew Carnegie also donated two buildings to the University of Denver, the first was a library and the second was Science Hall.
In 1893, the town of South Denver was annexed by the city of Denver as a repercussion of the silver panic surrounding the repeal of the Stamp Act. The city was gobbling up all of the Denver real estate it could find during the crisis.
University Park and the University of Denver grew together and prospered from Denver’s new found economic stability. The neighborhoods to the west of the university consist of smaller bungalow styles that date from the 1920’s–1950’s.
The intersection of Evans and University avenues is a vibrant area with a distinct college vibe. Fun bistros, coffee shops and hot dog stands are filled with professors and coeds enjoying the mountain views and sunshine between classes. There are several festivals, performances, concerts and sporting events held on campus throughout the year. The “Pioneers” in their crimson and gold, have a strong community following and an active alumni association. They have consistently delivered solid seasons, especially in ice hockey and basketball.
The University Park area has long been a favorite of Denver citizens. Whether you’re heading out for a day at the People’s Fair, taking a class, or enjoying a walk among the stately Denver homes, University Park is sure to not disappoint.
For more information on University Park or any other Denver real estate, please contact Vintage Homes of Denver.
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