Civic Center Park
100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy., Denver
HOURS: Daily 5 a.m.–11 p.m.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Civic Center Park is today the reflection of years of input from various mayors, architects, and landscape architects. In 1904, mayor Robert Speer was inspired by the City Beautiful movement and began to consult planners and designers for the project, but citizens rejected his request for funding for the park and by 1912 Mayor Speer was out of office.
The next mayor also hired experts to tinker with the park design and when Speer was reelected in 1917, bits of each plan were incorporated with the new architect’s design. The park was officially opened in 1919 and various statues and memorials have been added since.
Reflecting its name, Civic Center Park is flanked by government buildings, including the historic City and County Building (home of Denver’s mayoral offices today) to the west, and the Colorado State Capitol Building to the east. The Greek Theater (720/913-0700 for events and permitting) is the most distinctive structure within the park; it was used to hold public concerts as far back as 1920 and in modern times is often the staging area for a variety of cultural and political events.
Two bronze sculptures in the middle of the park represent the West, portraying both a cowboy and an Indian. Alexander Phimster Proctor created both Bronco Buster in 1920 and On the War Trail in 1922.
Civic Center Park extends east across Broadway where the 45-foot-tall Colorado Veterans Memorial was dedicated in 1990. The memorial is made of Colorado red sandstone.
The entire neighborhood around Civic Center Park has undergone tremendous growth in recent years, leading to more interest in its use and future design plans. In the spring and summer the flowerbeds in the center of the park are filled with vivid blooms and the Greek Theater and Voorhies Memorial provide welcome shade on hot days.
The park is used for a variety of free public events year-round, including a Cinco de Mayo celebration and the start of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade.
© Mindy Sink from Moon Denver, 1st Edition