Mestizo-Curtis Park

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Denver, CO
United States
Mestizo-Curtis Park

This nine-acre park, the oldest in the city, is named for Samuel Curtis, one of Denver’s founding fathers. In 1868 Francis Case and Frederick Ebert donated a lot on Curtis Street for park use in the nascent Curtis Park streetcar suburb. In 1874, cottonwoods were planted and an enclosing fence was erected. In 1905 a playground was built, and in 1914 a comfort station constructed. A year later, two additional blocks on the opposite side of Curtis Street were added, separated from one another by 31st Street. Play facilities were relocated to the northern block and augmented with a bathhouse and tennis court, while the southern block remained open. Earlier, in 1913, Olmsted Brothers developed a planting plan for the original parcel. By 1935, a modified version of this plan was realized, comprising a cross-axial network of straight and arcing red sandstone walks, open lawns, garden beds, and canopy trees. In 1936 a pool was built in the playground block. In the 1950s, the walks, gardens, and several trees in the original parcel were removed, and replaced by straight paths and an open lawn. Tennis courts were added to the playground section and 31st Street was closed, uniting the newer parcels.

The park’s condition declined in the following decades, while play equipment was downsized. The pool and playground were upgraded in the 1980s, and Eyes on the Park, a mural by Emanuel Martinez, was installed, reflecting the neighborhood’s diversity. In 2005 the closing of Curtis Street between 31st and 32nd Streets finally unified all the parcels. The park is a contributing property of the Curtis Park Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.