Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Father Mucha's Retirement

In 1970, Father Jan Mucha stopped in Denver while visiting relatives in the United States - a visit that would change the course of his life and that of St. Joseph’s Polish Catholic Church in Globeville. Parishioners liked the young Polish priest and asked him to stay. Mucha accepted their invitation, assisting the pastor, Father Fraczkowski, and assuming the pastorate in January, 1974, after the death of Fraczkowski.

Under Father Mucha’s care, the parish has embraced its Polish heritage and traditions, with Sunday Mass in both English and Polish. Mucha also encouraged the practice of Polish customs associated with Christmas and Easter, and brought back the celebration of Corpus Christi with its procession through the neighborhood. The revitalization of the parish contributed to an improved self image for the Globeville area at a time when the neighborhood was under attack from both industry and Denver city planners.

Father Mucha completed a full restoration of the church in time for the parish’s 75th anniversary in 1977 and presided over the 100th anniversary of the parish in 2002.With the fall of Communism, the parish has become home to a new generation of Polish immigrants and a center for Polish activities. The church has been restored, and the front entrance proudly bears the church's name in Polish, a striking sight to those who pass the church each day on Interstate 70.

“When I came the parish was in danger of being closed,” Father Mucha told the Denver Catholic Register. “There was a small number of people who came here for Mass. Today we have many people, many youth. Our church has three choirs. It’s a wonderful community, one I will miss very much.”

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Good Time in Globeville

The photos say it best - Globeville knows how to throw a great festival. Father Alex Vallens of Holy Transfiguration of Christ Orthodox Cathedral gave a brief history of the church and explained the iconostas, or icon screen, originally built by parishioners in 1904 in the late 19th century Russian style. Outside, vendors offered ethnic foods from Eastern Europe, Russia, Italy and Mexico, as well as crafts, gifts and an icon demonstration. Sunday's entertainment included Planina, singing songs of Eastern Europe, and enthusiastic performances by children in native dress from the Science, Art & Sport Center for Children. Grupo Folklorico Sabor Latino explained the meaning and construction of each part of their costumes and the meaning in each dance.
Mark the third weekend in July for next year's festival.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Celebrating Globeville

Begin the weekend of celebrating Globeville's rich history at Riverside Cemetery for Walk-A-Bout: "The Other Side of Riverside" at 9:00 am Saturday, July 17. Historian Jeff Stoffel will honor Riverside's Globeville residents with a special focus on the Orthodox section of the cemetery. The walk begins at Riverside's office at 9 am and will conclude at 11 am. Bring water, wear sunscreen and your walking shoes. Remember that there are no facilities at Riverside. This event is free, but will be limited to 20 people, so make a reservation at events@friendsofriversidecemetery.org
Then follow the aroma of roasting lamb to the 7th Annual “Orthodox Food Festival and Old Globeville Days” on Saturday, July 17 and Sunday, July 18 at Argo Park, 349 E 47th Avenue (at Logan Street) in Denver. Sample food from Russia, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Eritrea, Greece, and Mexico while enjoying live music, activities for the children, entertainment and dance. Visit with your neighbors in the shade of the canopy, tour the craft booths or see a demonstration of iconography. Don't miss an opportunity to tour the beautiful 112-year-old Orthodox Cathedral, a historic landmark.
Saturday festivities will run from 11:00 am until 10:00 pm; on Sunday, the festival is open from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is free.
For information, visit http://orthodoxfoodfestival.wetpaint.com/ or www.transfigcathedral.org or call 303-294-0938
Top photo, the beautiful Orthodox section of Riverside Cemetery
Second photo, lamb roasting at the 2009 celebration
Third photo, crafts and food from the 2009 evvent
Fourth photo, Fotia from Hellenic Dance Academy of Denver. All photos by Mary Lou Egan

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ironton School

The Ironton School at 36th and Delgany Street was designed by architect John J. Huddart, a native of England who moved to Denver in 1882. Built in 1890, the school served children of workers at the Grant and Globe Smelters and the Union Pacific shops, who were mainly German, Swedish, Scotch, Irish and Slavs. As more industry moved into the neighborhood, families moved out of the area, the school was closed and students transferred to Garden Place School in 1937. The building then served as a temporary home to students of Annunciation Catholic Parish for two years while repair work was being done on the parish school. Ironton found new life as a WPA Sewing Center for several years and was then purchased by a private party and converted into apartments. This handsome building was demolished in 1955 and the site is now home to one of Denver's auto impound lots.
Photo of Ironton School, Denver Public Library
Photo of impound lot, Mary Lou Egan