Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Cozy Theater

In Globeville’s early years, Washington Street hummed with small businesses - grocers, feed stores, barber shops, blacksmiths, shoe repair shops and billiard and soft drink parlors. For kids, the only building they remembered was the Cozy Theater.
Andy Jackson recalled, “When we were kids, we used to go to the Cozy Theater - we’d pay a nickle to get in and a nickle to buy popcorn. An old Italian, Belforte, had a popcorn wagon that was glassed in with a gas burner, and he’d sit there and shake it. He had a little teapot that he’d melt butter in. We’d go in there with a bag of popcorn in our hand. And Annie Peterson, she used to play the piano in there — they were silent movies, you know — and when she got excited by something that was happening on the screen, she’d beat the hell out of that piano.

Ed Wargin was another kid who loved going to the movies. “They used to have these serials that would just keep goin’ and goin’ and so we would just keep goin’ and goin.’ ‘Ruth of the Rockies’ was the main feature with Ruth Roland. I remember that because we went all the time. Sometimes we’d go twice a week and see the same one. They weren’t open every day — it was Wednesday, Saturday and I think Sunday. It seemed like vacation time for us kids. We had so much to do, but this was really special.”
The theater was one of the many properties owned by Konstantly Klimoski. Originally located at 47th and Washington and then relocated farther north across the railroad tracks. Jackson recalled, “It was a storefront kind of thing, not very big.”
The repeal of prohibition led to the demise of the Cozy Theater since Klimoski could make more profit from a saloon than from dime movies. The tavern and the theater are both gone now, but the memories of Belforte and his popcorn wagon, live music and the drama of Western serials live on.


4855 Washington in 2016 - one of the addresses for the Cozy Theater


Ruth Roland starred in many Western serials


Theme music helped set the mood


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Midwives: Margaret Gugger and Emma Reisbick

Margaret Gugger and Emma Reisbick. Everyone knew them. They lived in the neighborhood, and were recommended by women you knew. More prominent than politicians, and more reliable. They were Globeville's midwives.
In Globeville, most babies were born at home with one of these two women in attendance; Mrs. Margaret Gugger served Catholic women and Mrs. Emma Reisbick tended to German-Russian ladies. In addition to delivering the baby, these women provided care for two weeks following the birth, coming each day to check on the mother and infant. They also did some light housekeeping, washed the diapers, looked after the siblings if necessary, encouraged and advised the mother. Neighbors would bring chicken soup, angel food cake or fruit soup - meals considered nourishing and appropriate for the confinement. Margaret Gugger and Emma Reisbick were both widows, and their profession became their livelihood. To mothers in Globeville, these ladies offered valuable help and a welcome respite during a special time.

Margaret Gugger's home on 4559 Washington Street
is gone now. Photo DPL


Emma Reisbick's home at 4367 Sherman
is freshly painted
Photo ® Mary Lou Egan


Friday, November 16, 2018

Thanksgiving - Share in the Community Feast

The Globeville Recreation Center was dedicated in 1920 as the Community House and became a gathering place, with an auditorium for plays, movies, dances, social functions, meetings and the home of a thirteen-piece orchestra.
The August 21, 1927 issue of the Denver Post reported that some 4,000 people in Globeville were served by Community House. 1. Over the years, additions and modifications have been made to the building, and the name has been changed to the Globeville Youth Center, then the Globeville Recreation Center. What seems to be constant is the city's lack of commitment to the neighborhood - residents pay taxes for services they don't receive.

That is about to change.

On August 13, 2018 Denver Parks and Recreation awarded Birdseed Collective a four-year contract to operate the Globeville Recreation Center, with Globeville native Anthony Garcia appointed Executive Director. 

Birdseed Collective had been operating a food pantry at the center, as well as art programs. Now Birdseed will be able to develop programs for the community it knows so well.

Join the community for a Thanksgiving dinner at the center on Saturday, November 17th from 2:00 pm until 6:00 pm and see what the future will bring.

1. Denver Post, August 21, 1927

 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Armistice Day, November 11, 1918

Many of Globeville’s immigrants came to America during the 1890s to escape the political unrest, constant territorial wars and changing borders in Europe. Young men wished to avoid conscription -  a six-year term in the military of the empire that had absorbed and erased your nation. But war eventually caught up with Globeville, exploding during the summer of 1914 following the assassination of Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand. By August 1914, all Europe had chosen sides and mobilized their forces, hoping to settle old scores and regain territory lost in recent conflicts. The United States wanted to remain neutral and so did Globeville. But by 1917, Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare had destroyed Allied, neutral and civilian ships, cost innocent lives and changed public opinion. When Congress declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, the announcement was met with enthusiasm, patriotism and romantic notions. For some Globevillians, the war offered an opportunity to prove that they were loyal citizens. Others sought adventure or wanted to fight for their adopted country. By the time the Armistice was reached, the world and the Globeville neighborhood would be forever changed. 
On November 11,1918, Poles in Globeville felt enormous pride in the restoration of their homeland. Their country had ceased to exist for more than a century after Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia carved it into three sectors in 1792.
Yugoslavia, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, was created in 1918.
The Russian Revolution in March 1917 meant Russia was out of the war and helped the allies. But it meant Holy Transfiguration lost contact with Orthodox Church officials, credentials and records. The church had been funded by Czar Nicholas II and lost its financial backing.
After the Revolution, German Russians were caught in a new conflict - regarded with suspicion by Bolsheviks, by Germans and the Allies. Their lands were seized by the new collectives and many were imprisoned in Siberia.
Although America had been triumphant, attitudes had changed and Americans turned inward. There were severe restrictions on immigration after the war, and citizens of Globeville found it difficult to bring family members to this country. Many lost touch with relatives and friends. The war also fostered suspicion of anyone who might be a Communist, Socialist, or anarchist led to a Red Scare that questioned the loyalty of Globeville’s people. By the end of the Great War, seeds were already planted for the next war.

Armistice Day Parade, 1918 Denver Public Library



Friday, October 12, 2018

3543 Brighton Boulevard

One of my favorite houses is gone. I travel through Globeville at least once a week and drive around to check on the places I love - barns, iron fences, shotgun homes built of railroad lumber. I reflect on the pride settlers must have felt in building these structures.
I hadn’t been on Brighton Boulevard for some time because of all the construction, and when I discovered the home at 3543 Brighton was gone, it felt like losing a family member.
Brighton Boulevard was once called Wewatta Street, and the area was platted as part of the Ironton subdivision in 1881. There were jobs nearby: Rocky Mountain Ore Production Works, Denver Rolling Mill, Colorado Iron Works (where The Source is today), Denver Ore Sampling Works, and the Omaha and Grant Smelter. By the late 1880s, single-family homes on 25-foot lots were starting to sprout up along Wewatta and Delgany Streets, close to the heavy industries. (It was advantageous to be able to walk to your job).   
The home at 3543 Wewatta was built in 1888 by William A. Farrow, who worked as a stone cutter for R.C. Greenlee and Sons, a firm that specialized in masonry and decorative architectural elements. Farrow demonstrated his artistic skill on his own home. Delicately carved lintels and faces adorn the windows, and stone quoins mark the corners. Even the chimney is decorated. This exquisite little gem is gone. If you google 3543 Brighton Boulevard, you can see what’s being built there now.
I get it - this tiny home sold for $400,000 and is worth more as redevelopment than as a historical site. Although the RiNo (RiverNorth) neighborhood touts its industrial roots, evidence of that story is being systematically erased, and with it, the community’s history and personality. The generic condos and apartments that line Brighton Boulevard could be anywhere - Glendale, Broomfield or Aurora. The area once attracted artists, painters, sculptors, and fabric designers, because is was more affordable than lower downtown. Can artists even consider the district now?
One artist, William A. Farrow, has had his work demolished. Farrow will join the nameless craftsmen whose artifacts are acquired by salvage firms and find another life in some new condo or trendy tavern - maybe even in RiNo.


With the completion of the Broadway Extension project,
Wewatta Street was renamed Brighton Boulevard
by the Denver City Council in 1924. Denver Urbanism

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Stapleton Public Housing Project

The October 8, 1952 issue of the Denver Post enthusiastically reported, $3 Million Housing Project Announced for Globeville. The project was the fourth largest in Denver’s history and would be erected in February 1953 beside the new Valley super highway.” Three hundred brick homes ranging from one to five bedrooms were to be built between 51st and 52nd Avenues, from Logan to Acoma Streets, and would be rented at low cost to eligible families. Each family would have a lot of approximately 1,700 square feet. The article continued, “Four old houses at East Fifty-first avenue and Logan street are the only structures that will have to be razed. If the Denver Post seemed excited about the venture, long-time citizens of Globeville were not. The heavy-handed construction of the new Valley super highway” had displaced residents on the western edge of the neighborhood without adequate compensation, and now the city was again making plans for Globeville without considering the wishes of the community.
The immigrant families who settled Globeville initially fabricated dwellings of tar paper, and then graduated to shotgun homes of about 500 square feet. These old timers viewed those who relied on public assistance as lacking in moral fiber and lazy. Worse yet, the city was bringing in “outsiders” - Mexicans and Blacks - who would be handed homes built of brick, with one to five bedrooms, and up to 1,700 square feet of living space.
But Blacks and Hispanics had fewer options for housing than Globeville's residents. Banks seldom granted loans to minorities, many landlords wouldn't rent to them and large areas of the city were off limits to them. For the Molock family, the projects promised stability and a better education for the children. Jacquelyn Molock remembers, “We were living on Grove Street and they were raising the rent again. My dad was working for Dr. Pepper and my mom was doing day work. She wanted to get some training to get a better job. We walked over to the projects to be interviewed to get in. My mother was worried because we were not on welfare, but we got in.
Both Jacquelyn and sister Roberta remember the good times. “We all walked to Garden Place School, under I-70, and we got along with all the German, Slovak and Polish kids. There were lots of children and places to play. In the projects, there was a common area with the homes all around it and we felt really safe there. We used to play and everyone would look out for us. 
We lived in the projects for about ten years and then we got a house at 5063 Logan Street. We did our grocery shopping at Westerkamps. The house belonged to them and they sold it to my mom.”
Jacquelyn west to East High, CU Boulder, joined the Air Force and traveled, while Roberta had a successful career with Wayside Upholstery in Boulder. Both have fond memories of the growing up in the projects and now call Globeville home. Roberta smiles, “You know how they say 'It takes a village?' We had that in Globeville.

Sisters Roberta and Jacquelyn Molock, 2016
Photo ® Mary Lou Egan



 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Globeville-Elyria-Swansea Memory Project

I could be in any church for any occasion, but a whiff of bees wax candles, or the spicy scent of incense calls up memories of Holy Rosary Church during Holy Week. My recollections are of the days before Vatican II, of Latin hymns, Tantum Ergo and Panis Angelicus. It is the Globeville neighborhood of that era that is etched in my memory: still intact, neat as a model train layout with small homes, tidy yards, barns and sheds, steeples and smokestacks.
What triggers a memory of the neighborhood for you? The sound of a trail whistle? The smell of the stockyards? A snapshot of the family home? History Colorado wants to hear reminiscences of both long-time and new residents of the Globeville-Elyria-Swansea Neighborhoods.
History Colorado uses site-based remembering techniques to jump-start writing and storytelling that reanimates the community history of a place. Neighbors write stories of resilience and community connection that forge stronger identities.
Wednesdays, September 26, October 3 and October 10
6:30 - 8:30 pm, Swansea Recreation Center
2650 East 49th Avenue
Denver, CO 80216
Call 303-866-4584 to schedule a time
What to Bring:
Pen, paper, an object of importance from your neighborhood/community,
lots of memories, family and friends!
A culminating Community Exhibit will take place on November 15th from 6–8 pm.

¡COMPARTE TU HISTORIA!
History Colorado presenta el
Proyecto Recuerdos de los Barrios: Globeville-Elyria-Swansea
El Proyecto Recuerdos de los Barrios es un programa de narración de historias que se centra en los residentes antiguos y actuales de barrios específicos. Empleamos técnicas de reminiscencia basadas en el sitio con el fin de estimular escritos y narraciones que reanimen la historia de la comunidad. Los vecinos escriben historias de resiliencia y conexión comunitaria que sirven para reforzar su identidad.
Qué traer:
Bolígrafo, papel, un objeto de importancia de su barrio/comunidad,
muchos recuerdos,  ¡Familia y Amigos!
Finalizaremos con una Exposición de la Comunidad el 15 de Noviembre de 6–8 pm.
Miercoles 6:30–8:30 pm
Swansea Recreation Center   •     2650 E. 49th Ave,    •     Denver, CO 80216
September 26, October 3 y October 10
303-866-4584

Holy Rosary Church ® Mary Lou Egan

Intact 4500 block of Sherman Street before I-70
® Mary Lou Egan