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Civic Center

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Civic Center (NRD), with its border of city, state, federal, and commercial office buildings, is the core legacy of Denver's City Beautiful era. Charles M. Robinson's 1906 plan used the state capitol as the eastern anchor of a civic mall connected to the central business district by a pedestrian mall along 16th Street. (The latter scheme was not constructed until 1982, with an I. M. Pei design.) Sculptor Frederick MacMonnies refined the Civic Center plan while working on his Pioneer Monument Fountain (1911; see DV013). He introduced the semicircles formed by curving Colfax and 14th avenues between Broadway and Bannock and placed the City and County Building on Bannock opposite the capitol. Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., also contributed a plan (1912), as did Chicago city planner Edward H. Bennett (1917). Saco R. DeBoer subsequently refined the landscape design for the central park. The park was restored in 1991, but a jagged skyline of glass and masonry skyscrapers around Civic Center has blocked the mountain view and shattered the old dream of classical harmony.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel

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