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Three Denver Neighborhoods to Walk with Great Mid-Century Architecture

Three Denver Neighborhoods to Walk with Great Mid-Century Architecture

harvey park south urban hiking eatwalklearn

Mid-century residential architecture, with its angular roof lines, spontaneous circles, and slanted fences, captured the imagination of several neighborhood developers in Denver. They couldn't put homes up fast enough as the post-WWII housing crunch in Denver demanded dense suburbs for relocating soldiers-turned-families.

Fortunately, many of these neighborhoods remain intact, and they provide great eye candy for super walks. Here, I list three neighborhoods stuffed with mid-century architecture and fantastic ~3-mile loops to walk within them. Take your own walking tour of mid-century homes. (Click on the neighborhood title to get a complete description of walk with map!)

Virginia Village

There are two mid-century neighborhoods in Virginia Village; they were built at a time when watermelon and asparagus fields gave way to affordable homes of the future. Before the growth spurt, the area was known as Sullivan. This area, a toll-call away from Denver, grew quickly, and soon the Denver Gardens and Cherry Creek Gardens subdivisions sported their futuristic "atomic" models.

The Harvey Parks

harvey park south urban hiking eatwalklearn

Actually two neighborhoods which split at Yale, Harvey Park and Harvey Park South have local reputations for having the best collection of mid-century homes. Think George Jetson meets California. Influenced or actually designed by architect Cliff May, you can find gorgeous original, mostly single-story homes graced by carports and jutting angles. But what many people don't know is that the Harvey Parks have several lakes, an historic college campus, and homes ranging from the 40s to now.

University Hills/Wellshire

Actually, these are two neighborhoods abutting each other near University of Denver, but don’t confuse them with the University neighborhood. Sitting next to each other, University Hills and Wellshire contain a variety of homes from many decades, but the mid-century homes might be the most charming. A famous resident once lived near here, do you know who she was?

Did you have a good time on these walks? Which was your favorite? Post your pics and tag them with @denverbyfoot so I can see them!






Windsor Neighborhood Denver Walk Hike

Windsor Urban Hiking Denver

Most people think of the neighborhood of Windsor being just Windsor Gardens. But it also includes a small subdivision tucked into the SW corner of Alameda and Havana, Windsor Gardens, Fairmount Cemetery, Windsor Lake, Windsor, and a couple of miles of the High Line Canal. It's a fun neighborhood to explore.

Mile of Trails

Windsor Gardens is Denver's largest senior living complex. With a golf course, trails, its own restaurant and even a fitness center, its active living residents take great care in enjoying the amenities and even decorating for the holidays. Often you'll find neighbors walking on the High Line or planting colorful gardens.

Active Living!

The subdivisions surrounding Windsor Gardens range from 1970s homes to town homes and condos that welcome all ages. These neighborhoods can access the High Line Canal and make their way all the way to Green Valley Ranch or Waterton Canyon. If they're not that adventurous, they can meander over to Fairmount Cemetery for a lovely walk.

Amazing Buildings

Fairmount Cemetery, Denver's second oldest grave yard, has buried Denver's rich and famous. It's also the last resting place for the infamous, too. You'll find a giant arboretum of champion trees, an historic rose garden of over 200 varietals, and historic mausoleums, churches and synagogues on the property.

The secret to walking among these neighborhoods is to connect them along the High Line as you cannot walk between them while within each neighborhood. In class subdivision style, they are all walled with little to no access from neighborhood to neighborhood. Thus, you'll need to walk along Alameda or the High Line to get between them.

Buy my ebook that has all the 78 neighborhoods and their interactive maps, Walking Denver's 78 Neighborhoods.

The Route:

Start at 9801 E Ohio Ave. Walk west to S Dayton St, then cross it to the west. Jump on the High Line Canal and walk west behind Windsor Gardens. Cross S Valentia.

You'll come to a break that allows you into Fairmount Cemetery. On the left will be the pump house that pumps water from the High Line Canal into Windsor Lake to reserve it for watering the cemetery. On your right will be gravestones and a large white building.

The white building is the Fairmount Mausoleum. You may enter it during the day. There are restrooms in the basement. Be sure to tour it and enjoy the fabulous stained glass art pieces at the hallways' ends.

After leaving the Mausoleum, walk along the road toward the small traffic circle. You'll see small square markers at the end of the row with numbers on them. Find the 25. Take a right between 25 and 24, and you'll be walking "Millionaire's Row" within the cemetery. Along this row are Denver's most famous residents, including Mayor Speer and his family.

Meander along the rows and marvel at the historic tombstones, graves, and artwork. Notice the plethora of giant trees, part of Fairmount's arboretum. Be sure to come back during one of their tours to gather more information about the cemetery's history, its trees, and its roses. Walk easterly in the cemetery.

You'll come across the military and veteran's section. There's even a women's auxiliary section and an area for the Spanish-American war soldiers. After finding the military section, make your way back toward the mausoleum. Along its northern side is a special section for babies and children.

Exit the cemetery in the rear along the High Line where you entered. Walk east back across S Valentia, but this time, head north on Valentia.

At Fairmount Dr, head east and walk along the town home subdivision. Take a right on Alameda, then take a right on Clinton.

You'll enter Windsor Gardens. Continue along Clinton, enjoying the residents' enthusiasm to decorate for any holiday. At S Alton Way, take a left. At Dayton, take a right. Turn left on Ohio, returning back to your start.

~See you on the trail, Chris
Click here to see the route, map, and turn by turn directions.

Washington Virginia Vale Neighborhood Denver Walk Hike

Washington Virginia Vale Urban Hiking Denver

It's a long name for a neighborhood. Although the area contains Denver's oldest home, the current configuration of this neighborhood occurred in the 1950s after over 20 annexations. Let's imagine the name came from a compromise during the annexations where different smaller communities from Washington Park, Virginia Village and possibly the now non-existent Vale merged together. It's a good guess. Nonetheless, this Denver 'hood claims Four Mile Historic Park.

The Last Stop

Washington Virginia Vale shares much of the same history as Virginia Village. First was the Brook Ranch which claimed to be four miles from downtown and the last stage stop on the Cherokee trail. Through a long series of Denver annexations, the Ranch shrank to just around 12 acres, which is now the historic park. Running on the west side of Washington Virginia Vale is Cherry Creek. Leetsdale splits the middle; Alameda Avenue is to the north and  South Quebec Street is the eastern boundary.

A Few Consulates, Too!

The Mexican, Peruvian and Guatemalan Consulates sit here in this neighborhood, although the consulates don't seem to be influencing the restaurants or the local neighborhood makeup. Most of this neighborhood's homes on the southwestern side of Leetsdale are similarly designed brick cottages. On the north side of Leetsdale are larger custom homes.

Parks and Creeks!

The western edge has several super parks, including the large Garland Park with a fun lake supporting large geese populations. The Cherry Creek and its trail make the western boundary, offering up a walk or ride to either downtown or Cherry Creek Reservoir. To the southeast, you'll find Jacobs Park. Thus, although the neighborhood does feel like Leetsdale is the belt around its middle, there's good walking to be had. Enjoy this 2.5 mile loop.

The Route:

Start at 1095 S Krameria St. Walk north to E Exposition Ave. Take a left on Holly, crossing Leetsdale.

Go up the hill, then take a left on E Dakota Ave. Take a left on S Forest St. Cross Leetsdale again. At E Exposition, take a right.

On your left will be the Four Mile Historic Park. If the visitor's center is open, be sure to stop in and enjoy Denver's early history. When you're finished, exit the center and go behind it to the Cherry Creek trail. Head southeasterly on the trail.

Cross Holly St into Garland Park. Head to the east toward the ball fields and around the northeast side of the lake back to where you started.

What did you like about this walk? Post it on Facebook and tag your posts with #denverbyfoot
Click here to see the route, map, and turn by turn directions.

See you on the trail



Montclair Neighborhood Denver Walk Hike

Montclair Urban Hiking Denver

Drop in a mansion or two. Montclair, sitting silently below Colfax between Holly and Quebec and north of 6th, hides off by itself. But it has a lot to say.

The Red Baron

Let's start with its start. Named after its founder's home town of Montclair, NJ, its other more famous resident, Baron von Richtofen, put it on the map. This baron, not the other less famous scoundrel who founded Park Hill, was the original Red Baron. He came into Denver on his flying aces and sadly died before his vision of Montclair becoming a world-class health spa destination could flourish. Appendicitis got him.

Double the Size

Before he died, he convinced 88 others to build homes in Montclair that doubled the size of typical Denver homes. With 3-story mansions of brick and stone gracing what is now Montclair's historic district, he topped them all with his mansion. 15,000 square feet of opulence sits at Montclair's high point. Surviving renovation after renovation, the current owners, the Jepersons, host Halloween parties that highlight the beautiful architecture of Montclair's famous mansion.

Single Soldiers!

The rest of the neighborhood has its treats, too. From other majestic homes to WWII housing built for single soldiers starting out fresh, you can find various parks strewn throughout the 'hood. When Denver tried to annex Montclair, it resisted. So strongly did it resist that the Supreme Court had to rule, eventually, in Denver's favor. Rumor has it that Mayor Speer felt badly about the City's strong-arm tactics and threw the newly-annexed town some favor by creating a couple of extra parks just for them.

With Colfax to its north, you can always find something fun in Montclair. When walking through this neighborhood, be sure to throw in a couple of blocks on Colfax. From its northern border to its tony southern edge, enjoy a nice 3.5-mile walk through Montclair.

The Route:

Start at 7298 Richthofen Place.  Take a right on Pontiac. Enjoy the east side of the Richthofen Mansion. Take a left on 12th and enjoy the front.

At Oneida, check out the restored home that is now Montclair Civic Center. It was once a tuberculosis home, and can now be rented from Denver Park and Rec for events. Head north on Oneida to Colfax.

Turn left on Colfax. At Monaco Parkway, cross then head south on 14th and take a right.

Take a left on Locust, a right on 13th, a left on Leyden, right on 12th, then a left on Jasmine.

Take a left on 9th and then a right on Kearny. Take a left on 8th and a right on Krameria. Take a left on Leyden then a right on 6th Ave Parkway.

Go west on 6th, enjoying the large homes along the Parkway. Cross Monaco, take a left on Monaco and then a right on 7th Ave.

Take a left on Niagara St, a right on E Severn Place. Take a left on Oneida, enjoying Montclair's historic district. Continue past Kittridge Park, take a right on 9th.

Take a left on Olive and then a right on 10th. Take a left on Pontiac and then a right on Richthofen, returning you back to your start.

Click here to see the route, map, and turn by turn directions.

Virginia Village Neighborhood Denver Walk Hike

Virginia Village Urban Hiking Denver

It's the battle of the 1950s in Virginia Village. With two "mid-century" neighborhoods sandwiched between several parks and along the Cherry Creek, Virginia Village has lots of personality. Similar to the Harvey Parks to its south, Virginia Village is a great place for a 2.75 mile walk.

Virginia Village sits with Mississippi to the north, Evans to the south, Cherry Creek to the east and Colorado to the west. It's Swiss cheese boundaries abut the rebel Glendale, its own little jurisdiction in the middle of Denver.

Watermelon Turns into Atomic Homes

There are two mid century neighborhoods in Virginia Village, built at a time when watermelon and asparagus fields were giving way to affordable homes of the future. Before the growth spurt, the area was known as Sullivan. This area, a toll-call away from Denver, grew quickly, and soon the Denver Gardens and Cherry Creek Gardens subdivisions sported their futuristic "atomic" models.

One neighborhood, Krisana Park, named in honor of the owners of the alfalfa field, Christian and Ann Noe, has the majority of the mid-century homes. Just down the street in an area called Lynwood, you'll find the others. Watch out for the annual home tour, often done in July.

Whether walking through the 1950s homes or elsewhere in this neighborhood, there is a sense of pride in the homes regardless of their time periods. There is nothing newer than homes from the late 60s. With a quick access to the Cherry Creek trail, Virginia Village is also a great place to live for walkers and bikers looking to use the regional trail system.

The Route:

Start at 5398 E Mexico. Go east to S Holly St and turn left, north. Pass by 1640 S Holly St, which used to be the home of Elsie Fleming Henderson. She managed the telephone lines that came into her house, connecting folks through the switchboard in her house.

At E Iowa Ave, take a right. Take a right on Ivy Way. At Jasmine St, take a left, then take a right on Iowa.

At S Leyden St, take a left, then take a right on E Florida Ave. Cross S Monaco Pkwy and take the ramp down to the Cherry Creek Trail. Follow the trail to the left to S Holly St.

Cross Holly into City of Potenza Park. Part of the Denver Sister Cities project, make sure you read the plaque in the NW corner of the history of Denver's relationship with Potenza, Italy.

Head southwest out of the park on Glencoe. Take a right on E Louisiana and then a right on Elm. Enter Krisana Park and enjoy the mid century homes.

At Mexico, take a left. At E Colorado Ave, take another left. At Holly St, take a right and cross Holly. Take a left on E Colorado Ave, then take a left on S Ivy St. You'll now be in Lynwood; enjoy the 1950s homes again.

At Mexico, take a left and continue your walk back to where you started.

Click here to see the route, map, and turn by turn directions.

Did you enjoy this walk? Post your pictures on Facebook and tag them #denverbyfoot

See you on the trail,