Berkeley Lake Park

BerkeleyLakePark_sig.jpg
Denver, CO
United States
Berkeley Lake Park

Located in northwest Denver and surrounding the 34-acre Berkeley Lake, this 83-acre rectangular park provides exceptional views of the Rocky Mountains. Utilizing the lake to irrigate alfalfa fields, John Walker settled the land in 1879 and eventually developed a race track encircling the lake accompanied by a resort and dance hall. The City acquired the site in 1906 and a year later it was included on George Kessler’s plan for the Denver Park and Parkway System. By 1910 Denver’s first public golf course was built to the north of the lake and a boat dock, pavilion, lawns, and groves of trees were developed on the south shore. A year later two cobblestone comfort stations were constructed and by 1918 a Moorish-style bathhouse, an Italianate pumphouse, and the cottage-style William H. Smiley Branch of the Denver Public Library were built. In the 1920s landscape architect John McCrary developed designs for the north part of the park between the lake and the golf course. In 1927 S.R. DeBoer redesigned the roads through the park to discourage commuter traffic and developed a lily pond and additional plantings. Open lawns and meadows were interspersed throughout the park with mature specimens of cedar, pine, oak, and birch. A row of elm lined the south edge of the park and cottonwood was planted to shade the footpath along the lakeshore.

In the 1970s, a recreational facility was built on the southwest corner of the park and Interstate 70 bisected the park just north of the lake. Berkeley Lake Park is a contributing property to the Denver Park and Parkway System listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.