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Civic Center Park and Capitol Hill
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Denver's Civic Center was established in 1868 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012. The Civic Center includes the grounds of Civic Center Park, the Federal Revival Colorado State Capitol Building, the Georgian Revival Denver City and County Building, the Greek Revival McNichols Building (once the Carnegie Library), and the park's historic monuments and statuary [1; 2].


  • Alfred Dach Memorial in Civic Center Park (image from Historic Marker Database)
  • Colorado Soldiers Monument (image from Historic Marker Database)
  • In Honor of Christopher Columbus Monument (image from Historic Marker Database)
  • Joe P. Martinez Memorial (image from Historic Marker Database)
  • Sadie M. Likens Memorial (image from Historic Marker Database)
  • USS Colorado BB-45 Memorial (image from Historic Marker Database)
  • Voorhies Memorial Archway (image from Wikimedia Commons)
  • Civic Center Greek Theater (image from Wikimedia Commons)

Denver's Civic Center was established in 1868 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012. The Civic Center includes the grounds of Civic Center Park, the Federal Revival Colorado State Capitol Building, the Georgian Revival Denver City and County Building, the Greek Revival McNichols Building (once the Carnegie Library), and the park's historic monuments and statuary [1; 2]

In 1868, the land which is now the Civic Center became the property of the state of Colorado, with construction on the capitol building beginning in 1886. Mayor Robert W. Speer, elected in 1904, spearheaded civic beautification and public projects a part of the City Beautiful Movement, aiming to increase the appeal of the city to newcomers and tourists [1]. He created Civic Center Park, designed by Frederick MacMonnies, with the city's first public library (now the McNichols Building), designed by Albert Ross and funded by Andrew Carnegie, as its first building, completed in 1910 [1; 2]. Over the following decade, the park gained the French Beaux Arts Pioneer Monument sculpture (1911), which was also designed by MacMonnies; the open-air Greek Theater (1918), designed by Marean & Norton of Denver in collaboration with Edward H. Bennet of Chicago; the Voorhies Memorial Gateway (1919), funded by John Voorhies and designed by Denver Architects Fisher & Fisher; and sculptor Alexander Phimster Proctor's pair of bronzes, "Bronco Buster" (1920) and "On the War Trail" (1922). The models for these statues were Slim Ridings (a horse rustler for whom Proctor paid bail in order to finish "Bronco Buster") and Jackson Sundown (Nez Perce), Gray Eagle (Blackfoot), and Eddie Beaver (from Montana). Denver artist Allen True was commissioned to paint murals at the Greek Theater, the Voorhies Memorial Gateway, the State Capitol Rotunda, and the nearby Brown Palace Hotel lobby. In 1932, the City and County Building, designed by Edward H. Bennett, was completed. For a time, the Denver Art Museum was temporarily housed in parts of the public library and the City and County Building [1].

Colorado was the first state to celebrate Columbus Day; in recognition, Civic Center Park received the bronze and stone monument to Christopher Columbus (1970), sculpted by William F. Joseph and donated by Alfred and Anna Adamo. In 1989, anti-Columbus Day protestors covered the sculpture in fake blood, but did no permanent damage. The Civic Center Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and was designated a local landmark in 1976. In 2012, the National Park Service designated the Civic Center as Denver's first National Historic Landmark [1]. Civic Center Park is also home to several military monuments and memorials to historic figures, as well as a historical marker dedicated to streetcar transportation (see inscriptions below).

In 1955, Denver's Civic Center public library had been relocated (see Denver Public Library), the 1910 building becoming home to the Denver Water Board and later, other municipal offices. In the 1990s, it was renamed the McNichols building in honor of Colorado Governor Stephen McNichols, and from 2010-2012 was renovated to remove non-historic elements and restore the interior and exterior. The building hosted the Biennial of the Americas in July of 2010, dedicated to the art and cultures of North, Central, and South America, and was officially reopened in 2012 by Denver Arts & Venues as a cultural center and public event space [1; 2]. Programming includes music, dance, and other cultural performances; lectures, workshops, and seminars; art, fashion, design, and film exhibitions; and other public events [2].

Inscriptions:

In Honor of Christopher Columbus

(Cristoforo Colombo 1451-1506) / Italian Visionary and Great Navigator / This bold explorer was the first European to set foot on uncharted land, on a West Indies beach in 1492. His four voyages brought Europe and the Americas together, forever changing history. A new nation was to rise. A new Democracy was born. / Sculptor Willaim F. Joseph / Erected 1970 by Alfred P. Adamo and Anna E. Adamo [12].

Passing of the Streetcar

This tablet is the Property of the State of Colorado / This plaque was presented to the City of Denver by the Colorado State Historical Society and the American Pioneer Trails Association on June 3, 1951, the day street cars were retired and the city's transit system was converted to rubber-tired vehicles. / The plaque commemorates the passing of the street car which served the city's transit needs for nearly 80 years starting with the horse car December 17, 1871. The plaque is placed here near the site, at the corner of Colfax and Broadway, of the large cable house which provided power for transit lines during the era when the Welton Street Line was one of the longest street car cable lines in the world 65,600 feet. / Erected 1950 by The State Historical Society of Colorado, The Mrs. J. N. Hall Foundation. (Marker Number 73.) [14]

In Memory of Sadie M. Likens

1840-1920 Who devoted many years of her life aiding the survivors of the Civil War and other wars. / Erected A.D. 1923 By the Grand Army of the Republic, affiliated orders and friends [13].

Joe P. Martinez

Dedicated to honor Private Joe P. Martinez, Colorado’s first Congressional Medal of Honor recipient of World War II [8].

Alfred Dach

This masonry labor for this memorial is donated by Stephan Dach in loving memory of his father Alfred who perished in the early years of World War II in a Nazi Concentration Camp. May this be a reminder of him and all those others who have perished in the fight for liberty and freedom which this liberty bell represents. August 9, 1974 [3].

Colorado State Veterans Memorial

Dedicated by the people of Colorado in gratitude and respect for the men and women who have proudly served and sacrificed in our nation’s armed forces [6].

Colorado Soldier's Monument

Colorado Territory - Organized February 28, 1861 / Colorado Admitted as a State August 1, 1876 / Census of Territory in 1861 - 23,331 / War Governors / William Gilpin / Richard Ed Whitsitt Adjutant General / 1861-1862 / John Evans / David H. Moffat, Jr. Adjutant General / 1863-1865 / Military Organizations in the Civil War / First Colorado Infantry / Later First Colorado Cavalry / Col. John P. Slough Col. John M Chivington / Second Colorado Infantry / Col Jesse H. Leavenworth / Third Colorado Infantry / Later consolidated with Second Inf. to form Second Colo. Cav. / Col. James H. Ford / Third Colorado Cavalry / Col. Geo L. Shoup / McLain's Independent Battery / Captain Tyler's Mounted Rangers / Volunteer Soldiers Credited to Colorado - 4,903 / Highest average of any state or territory and with no draft or bounty / Battles and Engagements / Val Verde, N.M. 1862 / Apache Canon, N.M. 1862 / Pigeon's Ranch, N.M. 1862 / La Cloretta, N.M. 1862 / Peralta, N.M. 1862 / Cabin Creek, Ind. TY. 1863 / Honey Springs, Ind. TY. 1863 / Camden Point, MO. 1864 / Fredericksburg, MO. 1864 / Little Blue, MO. 1864 / Big Blue, MO. 1864 / Westport, MO. 1864 / Marias des Cygnes, MO. 1864 / Mine Creek, MO. 1864 / Little Black, MO. 1864 / Newtonia, MO. 1864 / Trading Post, MO. 1864 / Fremont's Orchard, Colo. 1864 / Smokey Hill, Colo. 1864 / Cedar Canon, Colo. 1864 / Sand Creek, Colo. 1864 / Gold Discovered… [11]

Irving Hale

Scholar, Soldiers, Citizen / Valedictorian of the first class, Denver high School, 1877. Graduated from United States Military Academy 1884 with record of 2070.4 out of possible 2075. War with Spain, Colonel 1st Colorado infantry U.S.V. His regiment led the advance in capture of Manila and there raised the first American flag. Brigadier General U.S.V. Aug. 13, 1898, Philippine Insurrection, thirteen engagements, wounded Meycauayan awarded silver medal for gallantry in action at Calumpit. Installed Denver’s first successful electric street railway system 1889. Erected 1932 by First Colorado Infantry U.S.V. 1861-1930 [7]

Logan's Memorial Day Order

General Orders, No. 11, Headquarters Grand Army of the Republic, Washington D.C. May 5, 1868. I. The 30th day of May, 1869, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and those bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances my permit. We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things of soldiers, sailors, and marines, who united to suppress the late rebellion. What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains and their deaths a tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton food tread rudely on such hollowed grounds let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and found mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming connections that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remains to us.

Let us then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionate grounds above them with the greenest lowers of springtime. Lt use raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor. Let us in this solemn presences renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us sacred charge upon the nation’s gratitude. The soldier’s and sailors’s widow and orphan.

II. It is the purpose of the commander in chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be lift up from year to year while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his dead comrades he desires the public press to call attention to this order and lend its friendly aide and bringing it to the notice to comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith. III. Department commanders will use every effort to make this order effective.
By command of-
John Logan, Commander in Chief
N.F. Chirman, Adjutant General [9].

USS Colorado BB-45

Dedicated to the men who served aboard the U.S.S. Colorado (BB-45) / March 1921-June 1959. / Tarawa • Kwajalein • Eniwetok • Saipan-Guam • Tinian • Leyte • Mindoro • Luzon • Okinawa • Japan. / Dedicated March 21, 1997 [10]

Colorado State Capitol Time Capsule

Memorial Stone commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the Colorado State Capitol. The time capsule beneath this stone contains messages and memorabilia from the people of Colorado in 1990 to its people in 2090. Dedicated by the most worshipful Grand Lodge AF and AM of Colorado, Donald P. Smith Jr. Grand master, August 4, 1990. Governor Roy R. Romer, President of the Senate Ted Strickland, Speaker of the House Carl Beverly Bledsoe, Chief Justice Luis D. Roviro. Contributors: Burlington Northern Railroad, Rocky Mountain News, Martin Marietta Corporation, Olinger-Moore-Howard Mortuaries [5].

Armenian Genocide

April 24, 1915, in memory of one and one half million Armenians, victims of the first genocide of the twentieth century [4].

Also See: Sand Creek Massacre Historical Marker

1. Civic Center Conservancy. "Civic Center Park." Accessed June 20, 2016. http://www.civiccenterconservancy.org/ 2. Denver Arts and Venues. "McNichols Building History." Accessed June 20, 2016. http://mcnicholsbuilding.com/about/building-history. 3. Harrell, Charles T. "Alfred Dach." Historic Marker Database. August 14, 2011. Accessed June 20, 2016. http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=46101. 4. --- "Armenian Genocide." Historic Marker Database. August 13, 2011. Accessed June 20, 2016. http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=46057. 5. --- "Colorado State Capitol Time Capsule." Historic Marker Database. August 13, 2011. Accessed June 20, 2016. http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=46059. 6. --- "Colorado State Veterans Memorial." Historic Marker Database. August 13, 2011. Accessed June 20, 2016. http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=46079. 7. --- "Irving Hale." Historic Marker Database. August 14, 2011. Accessed June 20, 2016. http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=46108. 8. --- "Joe P. Martinez." Historic Marker Database. August 14, 2011. Accessed June 20, 2016. http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=46100. 9. --- "Logan's Memorial Day Order." Historic Marker Database. August 14, 2011. Accessed June 20, 2016. http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=46107. 10. --- "USS Colorado BB-45." Historic Marker Database. August 13, 2011. Accessed June 20, 2016. http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=46195. 11. Light, Christopher. "Colorado Soldier's Monument." Historic Marker Database. January 15, 2008. Accessed June 20, 2016. http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=4745. 12. --- "In Honor of Christopher Columbus." Historic Marker Database. January 15, 2008. Accessed June 20, 2016. http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?MarkerID=4743. 13. --- "In Memory of Sadie M. Likens." Historic Marker Database. January 22, 2008. Accessed June 20, 2016. http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=5616 14. --- "Passing of the Streetcar." Historic Marker Database. January 11, 2008. Accessed June 20, 2016. http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?MarkerID=4679.
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