Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Projects in Denver

Marilyn and I are project people.  We like to have something to do when we get together.  Karlee made sure we felt useful while we were in Denver.  We went to garage sales for two days, searching out the best bargains for the kids and for Karlee's new apartment.  They found the best deals at the home of an elderly gentleman who recently moved to an assisted living facility.  I walked through the home thinking, "this represents a man's life and he's not here to even tell us about it."  Mirrors and furniture were not the right color so off we went to Home Depot for find real and spray paint!  Luckily, it was a nice day and Karlee could paint that desk outside in her tiny back yard.

We first sprayed this mirror and then spread metallic paint over - no final picture, but it looked awesome on her living room wall.

Karlee and John live near the heart of Denver in an area known as Five Points.  Mom and Aunt Theresa had some concerns as we drove through the neighborhood to the apartment.  Some streets still look like ghettos with windows boarded up and weeds and trash in front yards.  But when we finally found their apartment, our concerns faded.  They have a tiny back yard for their dogs, plus a larger green space between apartment buildings.  I copied the following information from Wikipedia that explains the history and recently developments in this historic neighborhood.

Five Points was known as the "Harlem of the West". It became a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Denver because discriminatory home sale laws in other neighborhoods forbade black people from settling in them. From the 1920s to the 1950s the community thrived with a rich mix of local business and commerce along the Welton Corridor offering the neighborhood butcher, real estate companies, drug stores, religious organizations, tailors, restaurants, barbers and many other main street services. Welton Street was also home to over fifty bars and clubs, where some of the greatest jazz musicians such as Billie HolidayDuke EllingtonMiles DavisNat King ColeCount BasieDizzy Gillespie and others performed. Black performers that other hotels in Denver would not accommodate stayed at the Rossonian Hotel, built in 1912, and performed there, making it a famous music venue.

Five Points district c. 1885
The Five Points community suffered from the late 1950s through the late 1990s because of drugs, crime, and urban flight. Many properties were abandoned, the local economy became somewhat irrelevant and the larger market found local business conditions unappealing. Attempts at redevelopment were made but there were many hindrances to reinvestment. The district became a no-man's land in need of a larger vision and a new generation of leadership.
Five Points has always been a neighborhood with a diverse economic mix of residents, evidenced by the variety of houses there. Mansions were built next to row homes. Many of the rich began moving out of Five Points in the late 19th century to live in the more popular Capitol Hill neighborhood. Five Points was also home to a large Jewish population and is still home to a former synagogue, Temple Emanuel, on the corner of 24th Street and Curtis Street. After World War II, many Japanese-Americans lived in Five Points. Agape Church on the corner of 25th Street and California Street was once a Japanese Methodist church.

Five Points today 

Attempts to rebuild a strong business economy on Welton Street began in 2009 with the formation of the Five Points Business District. Progress is being made, with a new coffee shop at The Points development, as well the rehabilitation of older properties on the East end of the street. In early 2013 another coffee shop and a fitness studio leased space in a newly renovated property on 30th Street. The long empty Rossonian Hotel continues to be a reminder of the glory days but does not yet have any firm prospects for a tenant. Live music venues account for a sense of vibrancy on the nights when a concert is scheduled. Residents in the neighboring blocks are anxious for services that cater to the needs of the changing community.
A new apartment complex will be built started in 2014 at the corner of Park Avenue West and Welton, directly across the street from Sonny Lawson Park. And in 2013, Sonny Lawson saw many improvements with new ball field fencing and facilities as well as improvements to the layout of the park.
Five Points history is recorded and exhibited at the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center and at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library. A number of African-American churches and businesses still exist in the community.
Denver's Juneteenth festival draws thousands of people every year. A parade starts at Manual High School and goes down to Welton Street where vendors sell merchandise and street performers entertain the crowd.
In the early 1990s, Denver's first light rail system connected the downtown business district to Five Points. With the expanded light rail system and the forthcoming train to the airport, residents have better public transportation to all over the metro area. A new transit stop is being constructed at 38th and Blake which will provide train service to DIA in 2015.
In the 2010 Census, the neighborhood was 56.95% white, 15.23% African American, 1.72% Asian, and 0.81% Native AmericanHispanic or Latino of any race is 22.53% of the population.[1]

We couldn't spend all day working so John, Karlee's special friend and roommate, joined us for a great meal at Pete's Greek restaurant near Washington Park.  Marilyn and I appreciated being just that much closer to Littleton - we could drive all the way on Broadway instead of negotiating the freeway and Santa Fe Blvd.  The owner of the restaurant insisted we all have a shot of Ouzo - an anise-flavored apertif.  John's pretending and Marilyn declined.  I took a sip, but Karlee downed her shot and before we left she managed to drink mine as well.  Another new experience for this senior citizen!!!

Karlee's new sofa pillows - forms from garage sales, new fabric from Joann's.
While I slaved away on the sewing machine Marilyn and a movie entertained the kids.

Maureen has a new sewing and scrapbooking space, but she doesn't like the concrete wall!

Voila, wall covered with a DIY curtain made out of fabric featuring her favorite color!

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