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Hilltop is an accurately named suburb east of Denver's city center.  Once a barren point of topographical interest, the area saw no economic value until the late 1880's when the city's Highline Canal was extended to encompass the future Denver neighborhood.  After the completion of the irrigation ditch, several land speculators and real estate agents moved in, including Robert Leet.  Mr. Leet established the farming community of Leetsdale in 1889.  Unfortunately, the silver panic of 1893 hit Denver real estate hard.  Those circumstances, when combined with the distance from Denver, sealed the little town's fate.  The area, which is now a commercial center at the corner of Leetsdale Avenue and Quebec Street, would lay dormant for years. 

The Denver street car line would be extended east in the late 1890's.  The line was built to service the Agnes Phipps Memorial Sanitarium at 6th Avenue and Quebec, as well as the newly opened Fairmount Cemetery.  Unfortunately, that was a mile from the tiny town that boasted only three properties in the 1893 census.

While a few of early Denver's prominent businessman chose the Hilltop area for their estates, most of the area's early residents were agricultural or artisan in nature.  These hardworking individuals consisted of clerks, cobblers, seamstresses, blacksmiths, brick layers, construction workers and railroad employees.  Denver was literally built by the Hilltop community.

In 1907, 23 acres of Hilltop was purchased as party of Denver's "City Beautiful" plan that set aside land for the purpose of installing parks throughout the city.  The future of Hilltop was secure with the establishment of Inspiration Park in 1909. 

George Cranmer, a popular and powerful Denver businessman would find the 150-mile view of the Rocky Mountain front range from Hilltop so beautiful that he would construct his estate atop the hill and alongside the future park in 1916.

Cranmer Home
Cranmer is most famous for his efforts as Denver's Manager of Parks and Improvements from 1935-1947. 
The Denver home of George Cranmer in the Hilltop neighborhood.
Cranmer is most famous for his efforts as Denver's Manager of Parks and Improvements from 1935-1947.  While manning this post, Cranmer would be instrumental in the development of Red Rocks, Winter Park and the bulk of the Denver park system.  In 1935, Inspiration Park would be redesigned and renamed Cranmer Park.

It was not until the mid-1920's that Hilltop began to sprout as a true suburb.  The introduction of automobiles helped to shorten the distance to the city center, making the area more accessible and desirable to Denver home buyers.  The construction in 1925 of the Colorado School of Medicine at 8th and Colorado, also aided the growth of Hilltop.  It's close proximity to the hospital made it an ideal location for medical personnel to live. 

Several developers took advantage of the changing demographics, offering a variety of Denver homes with diverse architectural styles.  These included bungalows, two-story English revivals, and affordable Tudor's, many of which included a free radio with every purchase.

The growing community held together through the Great Depression, with many local children enjoying the hospitality of the Cranmer's and their swimming pool.

In 1937, the Lowry Air Force Base took over the Agnes Phipps Memorial Sanitarium location.  The new base saved the day with its need of construction workers, both for the new buildings on base and the homes required in Hilltop for incoming officers.  The Colorado School of Medicine expanded its campus, adding to the need for housing and services.  The Hilltop neighborhood was a desirable and stable community far away from the filth and degradation of Denver.

With this stable foothold, the Hilltop neighborhood continued to prosper.  A wave of modern architecture swept through the area in the 1960's, many of which remain today.  These differ from many enclaves of modern architecture in Denver, due in part to their size.  The modern, or mid-modern, Denver homes seen are on a larger scale than those found in nearby areas, such as Krisana Park or Arapahoe Acres further south.

The area is also a religious center for many in the Denver area.  There is a wide array of religious institutions welcoming people from almost every faith.

In the 21st century, Hilltop is on Denver's A-list of residential neighborhoods.  Close to Cherry Creek, City Park and downtown Denver, the area is an oasis in the metro area.

The Hilltop neighborhood is bordered to the west by Colorado Boulevard, to the north by Seventh Avenue, to the south be East Alameda Avenue, and to the east by Monaco Parkway.

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