Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Children who grew up in pre-World War II Globeville could experience many adventures without ever leaving the area. Particularly boys. "I don’t believe any youngsters had a better neighborhood than we did. We were all over." Joe Sadar recalled. "You know where the Slovenian Hall was? That was an area with trees and stuff and there were railroad tracks around there. The hobos would get off the train, get a fire going and they would heat up their beans. They’d be talking, telling stories and us kids would listen. You know, we kids went to all these camps where these hobos hung out and nobody ever bothered us. When the train started leaving out of the yards, they’d be going and run for the car." Joe also played around that old Grant Smelter stack, a 350 foot remnant of Colorado's mining days. "There were a couple of ponds there and hills we could ride our bikes up and down." Paul Goreski hung around the big chimney too. "You could get inside the chimney but there was a trap door to go through to get to the top and it was too high up — we couldn’t reach it. But some guys did and climbed to the top." Paul had better luck with the nearby city dump. "Oh I used to go over to the Denver City dump at 48th and Washington every day after school and pick up all kinds of stuff, copper and brass, anything we could sell to the scrap collectors. My first bike I got from the old dump and I brought it home piece by piece until I got enough to make my own bicycle." 
Another popular place for boys was the nearby stock yards. Rudy Okoren confessed, "We would ditch church, go over to the stockyards and ride the calves, with our suits on mind you. Our parents would go to the 8 ’o clock Mass and we would go to the 10 o’clock  — they just assumed we were at church. There would be a sermon in English and then one in Slovenian. We got in a bad habit of slipping out during the second sermon and sneaking a smoke." 
Ed Wargin recalled the improvised swimming hole, “We boys used to go up to a place called Fritz’s Lake, where I-25 and 58th Avenue are today, and skinny dip. That would take three fourths of the day because we’d walk there barefoot from Globeville and come back just as dirty as when we went.”
The Southern end of Globeville also offered swimming. Lauren Summers reminisced, "We went go to the Waterhole, the 'vasulach'. We’d go through Miss Hahn’s yard at 4364 Lincoln and then through the railroad property to the sand pits that had filled up with water. Everyone from our end of town learned to swim there. We weren’t supposed to go there because there was no guard and the trains were backing up, but my mother would know where I had been because I would come home so clean." 
Somehow these boys survived the visiting hobos, stock yards, rail yards, smelter ruins and unsupervised swimming and have the stories to share.

Mencin brothers, Tony and John, ready for adventure
Photo used with written permission from Ed Krasovich