- Discover Denver launched.
- Discover Denver will catalogue the city’s 160,000 buildings.
- Discover Denver’s benefits expected to be huge.
Discover Denver, a project to identify historic and architecturally significant structures across the city, kicked off its full citywide survey on Friday.
Historic Denver and city staff demonstrated technique that will be used to survey the 160,000 buildings in the city. The demonstration took place in the Golden Triangle, although Discover Denver wasn’t launched from that neighborhood at the edge of the central business district.
Rather, the survey comes on the heels of three recently completed pilot projects.
Like the pilots, the citywide survey will gather information about buildings using public records, neighborhood canvassing, academic research and tips from the public. Indeed, community input is the key to the success of the project.
Findings from this first-ever citywide survey of Denver will eventually be accessible online so that everyone from property owners to history buffs to real estate agents can learn about the city’s past — building by building.
“Discover Denver is a way for all of us to discover vintage buildings that matter to our community,” said Annie Levinsky, executive director of Historic Denver Inc.
“The pilots just scratched the surface of the treasures Denver’s neighborhoods hold,” she added.
It’s a daunting task, but will be well worth it, according to Brad Buchanan, executive director of Denver Community Planning and Development..
“The Discover Denver survey is an ambitious project, but there are huge benefits,” Buchanan said.
“It can help us make more-informed decisions about places — as a city and as individual property owners,” Buchanan said.
Historic Denver and the City and County of Denver are leading this collaborative project, funded mainly by a grant from History Colorado’s State Historical Fund.
The launch demonstration was part of the 2015 Saving Places conference, hosted by Colorado Preservation, Inc.
For the pilots, survey teams looked at 3,000 buildings in five Denver neighborhoods:
- Pilot 1 – Harvey Park: This southwest Denver neighborhood has a wealth of mid-century modern architecture, including the only Colorado homes designed by famed architect Cliff May.
- Pilot 2 – Park Hill and Berkeley: Mainly 1920’s small homes, and homes that belonged to some of Denver’s earliest entrepreneurs, including Dave Cook and James Covillo. Cook founded a namesake sporting goods chain in 1923 in Denver. In 1986, it was bought by its biggest local competitor, Gart Sporting Goods. The companies and others later were merged into what is now Sports Authority, based in Englewood. Covillo started the Covillo Brother’s Fruit Co. in the early 1900s. In 1970, it consolidated with Grand Junction Food Co. to create United Food Service. United Food Service was purchased by Shamrock Foods in 1975. It is one of the world’s largest food distribution companies.
- Pilot 3 – Cole and Globeville: Buildings in the Cole and Globeville neighborhoods, built around streetcar corridors, provide insight into what life was like for Denverites before the automobile.
With the launch of Discover Denver, Denver joins other major cities including Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Tulsa that are currently conducting building surveys.
The benefits of building surveys, such as Discover Denver, include:
- Uncovering buildings of historic and architectural significance
- Providing property owners and real estate agents up-front information about buildings to inform reinvestment and sale decisions
- Equipping city planners with information about historic resources when creating neighborhood plans
- Bolstering civic pride and heritage tourism
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