Saturday, November 13, 2010

Argo Park

The Rocky Mountain News described Argo Park as “…a delightful retreat on the banks of the Platte…whose grounds have been prettily laid out… a charming suburban retreat.” The occasion was the dedication of the park on July 25, 1880, a decade before Globeville existed as a town. The park, which extended from Logan Street on the West to Washington Street on its eastern edge, was intended to serve the residents of Argo, the company town built by the Boston and Colorado Smelter, as well as the citizens of Denver. Philip Zang purchased the “resort” in January, 1885 and made improvements that included a theater, dance pavilion, bowling alley and a small zoo. The park was home to the Strawberry Festival, picnics, band concerts, athletic activities, community gatherings and “pleasure parties of all kinds.”1. Welsh workers from the Boston and Colorado Smelter held annual eisteddfods, or singing contests, in remembrance of customs in their native land.
Martha Kulik Birch remembered, “It was one block square and they had a dance pavilion with an orchestra. People used to work hard all week and then come on the streetcar and dance under the stars. 
In the summer, there were swings, sandboxes, and a little cement wading pool for us kids. When I was about nine or ten [1917], we had this wonderful, husky teacher named Mrs. Roosevelt who wore a middy blouse, a big skirt, and carried a big whistle. We kids never ran wild because everyone obeyed her. She showed us how to make baskets by soaking rattans, and at the end of the summer, we each had a little basket.”2.
The park diminished in size as various owners sold parcels for development, and became part of the Denver parks system when Globeville was annexed in 1902. As part of the New Deal, a swimming pool, changing rooms and baseball fields were added in 1940, and a memorial honoring Globeville veterans killed in World Wars I and II was dedicated on August 25, 1948. More recent improvements have included a lighted baseball and softball field, basketball court, playground, and picnic tables. The pool underwent $1 million in renovations in 2005, a “sprayground” was added in 2007 and walking path in 2014.


1. Rocky Mountain News, July 25, 1880
2. An interview with Martha Kulik Birch with her niece Debbie Strein.
3. Fell, James E., Jr. Ores to Metal: The Rocky Mountain Smelting Industry. Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1979
4. www.recreationparks.net/CO/denver/argo-park-denver
Top photo, Miss McCammon taught the third and fourth grades - 
photo of her class taken in 1914 with the dance pavilion in the background. 
Photo used with written permission from Minnie Boge Herbert.
Middle and bottom photos, Argo Park today, Mary Lou Egan

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