Look Up, Denver! A Walking Tour of the Civic Center
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. This walking tour of Denver's Civic Center is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes historical, architectural landmarks, cultural sites and ecclesiastic touchstones and provides step-by-step directions. More
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are preparing for a road trip or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a downloadable walking tour is ready to explore when you are.
Each walking tour describes historical and architectural landmarks and provides pictures to help out when those pesky street addresses are missing. Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.
After attending the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago every civic leader in America boarded the train to return home knowing exactly what his city should look like. Large swaths of landscaped grounds with plenty of green grass and surrounded by orderly sparkling white buildings designed to look like Greek temples. In Denver the main champion for the City Beautiful movement in the early 1900s was mayor Robert W. Speer.
Denver already had a leg up on achieving the urban ideal with its recently constructed State Capitol that looked a lot like the United States Capitol. The Capitol had been sited on a hill just a few blocks from the central business district and was already attracting its share of stately mansions. Speer hired Charles Mulford Robinson to develop plans for the area and Robinson proposed creating a Civic Center flowing down from the Capitol to be lined withe new municipal buildings around the park grounds.
All was proceeding according to Speer’s vision and then the plan was voted down in the 1907 election. An then Speer got voted out of office. He continued to collect ideas for a Civic Center, however, and was eventually voted back into office in 1917, with a new charter giving the mayor expanded powers. Civic Center Park was officially opened in 1919 and the area has been the center for government, the arts, history and learning in Denver ever since.
Our walking tour of Denver’s Civic Center will begin in the center of the 15 acres of landscaped grounds with the Rocky Mountains at our back and a golden dome in front of us...