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Washington Park

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1899, Reinhard Schuetze. 400 S. Marion St. Pkwy. (NR)

This 160-acre park with Grasmere Lake and Smith Lake as its centerpieces is connected by a Great Meadow reminiscent of London's Hampstead Heath. The narrow, rectangular park is relieved by looping roadways, paths, and City Ditch ( DV204.1; 1860s), which makes the lakes and greenery possible. This irrigation channel originates as a diversion of the South Platte River in Waterton Canyon and ends in City Park's Ferril Lake. Within the park it is kept open as a landmark that historian Louisa Ward Arps called “the oldest working thing in Denver.” Buildings include the twelve-sided Shelter House (1912) on the east side of the Great Meadow and a picturesque, late nineteenth-century Farm-house and barn expanded as the park headquarters and maintenance center. Wynken, Blynken, and Nod (1919), a sculpture by Mabel Landrum Torrey, stands at the southwest corner of Exposition Avenue and Franklin Street, next to the Eugene Field Cottage, the poet's residence and a rare example of simple 1880s frame cottages that were once common in Denver. It was transplanted from its original site at 307 West Colfax Avenue. The Boat House ( DV204.2; 1913, Jacques Benedict; 1987 restoration, Anthony Pellecchia Associates) is on the south shore of Smith Lake. The two-story facade, a mix of Prairie Style, Italianate, and Arts and Crafts elements, is outlined with electric lights, creating a dreamy nocturnal reflection.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Thomas J. Noel

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