Our communities’ residents have talents that we are proud to share. Mille Van Wyke researched and wrote a book called The Town of South Denver chronicling local history. Van Wyke is a Holly Creek Life Plan Community resident.
2017 is the 25th year after the book’s initial publication.
Do you know the common thread that links the historic Denver neighborhoods of Harvard Park, Platt Park, Washington Park, the Polo Grounds, Cory-Merrill, University Park and Bonnie Brae? In 1886, the land that comprised these neighborhoods was known as the Town of South Denver, and was independent of the City of Denver.
“The Town of South Denver explores the little-known town, why it was founded and the legacy it left behind,” said Van Wyke. “In the 1880s, University Park, home to several of the town founders, was a prohibitionist neighborhood. But just one mile to the west, saloons dotted South Broadway, a short horseback ride away.”
According to Van Wyke, the Town of South Denver was incorporated, in part, to drive away the South Broadway saloon owners and it didn’t take long for the temperate town’s city attorney to shutter the saloons within his jurisdiction.
But the Town of South Denver’s existence as an independent city, with its own mayor, town council and police force was shuttered when it was annexed by the much larger City of Denver in 1894.
Van Wyke has been a professional freelance writer since 1968 and was prompted to write her book after a conversation at the Denver Press Club.
“It was the early 1990s, and I was talking to fellow female Press Club members who had written regional books. It was mentioned no books on the Town of South Denver existed and that’s when I decided to change that,” said Van Wyke.
The legacy of the Town of South Denver is creating some of the most desirable neighborhoods in the Denver metro area and wooing the University of Denver to relocate from downtown Denver.
“The founding fathers of the Town of South Denver were visionaries. They laid the foundation for the beautiful neighborhoods we have today. They were instrumental in getting the University of Denver, founded in 1864 in downtown Denver to relocate in 1890 to its current location.”
This article was written by Chuck Montera and originally appeared in The Denver Post’s YourHub. It is published here with permission.