Denver's Congress Park Neighborhood
Posted by Bruce Swedal on Monday, June 28th, 2010 at 2:24pm.
Congress Park is one of the most attractive and popular areas in Denver. It is a varied, historic neighborhood set around the park of the same name.
The Congress Park neighborhood features a range of properties including many Denver Squares and Bungalows. Most properties in this neighborhood tend to be fairly old, unlike some of the more recently redeveloped areas of Denver, although there are some high rise buildings dating from the 1960s. Other notable buildings include some Art Deco apartment blocks and the many grand houses along 7th Avenue.
Part of the 7th Avenue Historic District falls within the neighborhood of Congress Park. This is one of the most interesting parts of the city, with a range of architectural styles including Victorian, Mission, Italianate and Dutch Colonial homes, and a garden on each block.
The community is formed of a mix of young professionals and long-term residents who have raised their families in the neighborhood and who remain strongly attached to the area. The Congress Park Neighborhood Association is very active, running annual series of lectures for residents on the preservation of the area's historic homes, as well as regular social events.
The Cherry Creek shopping center can easily be reached from Congress Park and downtown Denver is only a quarter of an hour's commute away. Congress Park has many attractions of its own, and there are many small stores and family businesses tucked away in its historic streets.
Congress Park was once the site of a cemetery set on a piece of land that the United States government took possession of in 1860 after making a treaty with the local Arapaho. The cemetery had fallen into a state of disrepair and disuse by the 1890s and the local people were keen for it to be converted into a park. Congress gave permission for the work to go ahead, and in 1893 removal of the graves began. Most of the graves were removed at this time, but as development in the area has continued, more graves have been discovered and removed, even as late as the 1950s. Work on the park continued gradually and intermittently during the first half of the 20th century, with much of the current landscaping being created during the 1950s.
Once the cemetery had been replaced with the far more attractive park, the Congress Park area began to be rapidly developed as a residential area. Many new properties were built in the neighborhood between the late 19th century and the middle of the 20th century.
The Denver Botanic Gardens and the nearby Cheesman Park are also situated on the old cemetery, but it was Congress Park that was named in gratitude to the US Congress for the permission given to create a park on the site of the old cemetery, although the site of the modern park was not in fact used for burials.
The Denver Botanic Gardens are one of the most popular attractions in the area. They have an amazing selection of plants and also host regular concerts during the summer months. Congress Park is also popular with the locals, particularly when the weather is good. The park has a range of sporting facilities including eight tennis courts, soccer, softball and baseball fields and a multi-purpose sports field, a basketball court and an outdoor swimming pool. There are a number of picnic areas as well as a picnic pavilion, and there is also a children's playground.
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