Thursday, December 31, 2015

Peter Nazarek and Nettie Homyak wedding photo

In 2014, K Stone wrote, "I recently discovered your blog, Globeville Story. My great-grandfather, Panko Homyak, is mentioned in your post, “Historic Holy Transfiguration of Christ Cathedral.” He was one of the church founders. I have been doing genealogy research and recently received from a distant cousin a November 1901 wedding photo, of a wedding that likely took place in that church. Panko Homyak is in the photo (far right), as a witness. We know the identity of one of the couples, but do not know who the other two couples are. The couple in the center is Peter Nazarek/Nazaryk and Mastazia Chomjah (Nettie Homyak). We contacted the church, but many church records were lost in a flood. I wonder if you would consider posting the photo on your blog, asking if any of your readers can identify those people?"
Some observations: Since the church was founded in 1898, this wedding would have been performed by Father Nicholas Seregelly, a Greek Catholic priest. In the Denver city directory of 1896, Panko Homyak is listed as a cigar maker and may explain his holding cigar in a wedding photos. Is Nettie his daughter? Why is Panko's wife not in the photo?
Does anyone have any information about these couples?
The wedding couple in the center is Peter Nazarek (Nazaryk) and Mastazia Chomjah (Homyak),
and the man on the far right (holding the cigar) is Panko Homyak.
The wedding took place November 3, 1901. Probably at Holy Transfiguration of Christ Orthodox Cathedral, then called Greek Catholic Church, Transfiguration of Christ

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Stories to tell - Discover Denver

Janet Tekavec Wagner explains, “My great grandfather, Conrad Jacoby, and my grandfather John Jacoby, built this house at 4438 Lincoln Street, across from Garden Place School. The entire family, adults and children, worked in the sugar beet fields. My mother, Leah Jacoby, and her four brothers were born there. After they married, my mom and dad, Joe and Leah Tekavec, lived there. I was born in that house. Long after we sold the house in 1990, people still referred to it as the ‘Jacoby House’.”
Every building has a story to tell and Globeville's houses, businesses and churches have been gathering tales for over a hundred years. Do you know the history of your home? Would you like to? Discover Denver, a building and neighborhood survey means to identify historic and architecturally structures citywide. Led by Historic Denver in partnership with the City and County of Denver and History Colorado, the survey will gather information using public records, academic research, neighborhood canvassing, and tips from the public. Findings will be accessible online so that everyone can learn the stories form the buildings in their neighborhood.
To find out more, access survey reports from pilot areas, to volunteer, or offer information about your home, business or church in Globeville, visit or contact
Far right, Janet’s grandmother Mary (Claus) Jacoby holding baby Floyd Jacoby.
Man on porch is her father Conrad Claus, and middle woman is Mary’s sister.
Photo about 1915. Used with written permission from Janet Wagner.

Jacoby house about 1938.
Used with written permission from Janet Wagner.

4438 Lincoln summer, 2014
® Mary Lou Egan

Thursday, November 12, 2015

James Benton Grant

1882 was a momentous year for James B. Grant. In July, ground was broken for what would be Denver's largest smelter, the Omaha and Grant, and in November, Grant would be elected the third governor of Colorado, the first Democrat to hold the office. He was thirty-four years old.
Born in Russell County, Alabama in 1848, Grant grew up in the Old South and served briefly in a Confederate regiment during the final months of the Civil War. With the southern economy in ruins, he set out for Davenport, Iowa and persuaded a well-to-do uncle, also named James Grant, to finance his education. Grant attended Iowa State and Cornell Universities, then the Bergakadmie in Freiberg, Saxony, studying metallurgy and mining.
Following his education, Grant began working as a mining engineer in Central City, but it was in the carbonate camp of Leadville that he would make his fortune and reputation. Examining ore in the region for the Pueblo & Oro Railroad in 1877, Grant visualized the profitability of building a smelter. In 1879, Grant enlisted financial backing from that same uncle, and formed a partnership with Edward Eddy and William James to construct the Omaha and Grant Smelter in Leadville. Processing ore from local mines like Horace Tabor's Little Pittsburgh, the smelter shipped $2,400,000 worth of metals the first year, contributing to Leadville's mining boom and influencing railroads to build to the camp. Grant was well regarded in Leadville, paying investors, suppliers, mining and coking firms promptly. On the night of May 24, 1882, a fire engulfed the Leadville smelter and it burned to the ground. Even as Grant and his associates scrambled to process ore already purchased, they decided to rebuild the plant north of Denver, east of the Platte River and near existing railroad lines. While the smelter was under construction, ore and fuel was shipped from the mountains, ready to be processed as reduction units were completed.
That summer, the Democratic Party persuaded Grant to run for the office of governor, and at the same time the Omaha and Grant Smelter became fully operational in November, Grant assumed the office of Governor. Like other politicians in the Gilded Age, Grant was able to devote time to both his role as governor, improving conditions for Colorado's commerce and mining industries, and to the profitable smelting business.
Grant's success in the smelting business brought him considerable wealth, and in 1902, he built a mansion at 770 Pennsylvania Street in Denver. The following year, strikes by the Mill and Smeltermen's Union, outdated methods of reduction and a scarcity of rich ores led to the closure of the smelter. When Grant passed away in November, 1911, his wife remained in their big mansion for six years before selling it to oilman Albert E. Humphreys in 1917. Today, the smelter site is occupied by the Denver Coliseum and the Grant Humphreys Mansion is owned by Historic Denver.

Thirty-four year old James B. Grant, third Governor of Colorado, in 1882

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Death and burial in Globeville

Zombies, coffins, haunted houses - death is entertainment during Halloween, but for Globeville's early settlers, it was a constant companion and wakes and funerals were important rituals.
In the first decades of the twentieth century, the departed was given a three-day send-off with the coffin in the parlor of the family home, surrounded by flowers, and family and friends eating, drinking and sharing memories. Visitors often kept an overnight vigil with the corpse. Before motorized hearses were common, horse-drawn vehicles draped in black fabric with silver trim transported the coffin from the home to the church and then to the cemetery.
One of the largest and most memorable funerals was that of Antoni Benca's (Benson) in 1910. Aside from the sheer numbers, the service was notable because, on the way to St. Joseph's Church, the horses drawing the hearse suddenly refused to go any further in front of Konstanty Klimoski's home on 48th and Washington. The procession was forced to turn around and proceed to the church by another route. The incident contributed to an Old World superstition that the home of prosperous and ostentatious Klimoski was inhabited by a devil. More probable was the explanation that the horses were disturbed by the fumes from the Smith Brothers and Keith tannery on Washington Street.
By the 1920s, the Denver Tramway ran a funeral car from 38th and Walnut Streets to Mt. Olivet (the coffin still had to be transported from the neighborhood to the tramway stop, and then carried by the pallbearers from the funeral car to the gravesite, an uphill walk. Mt. Olivet Cemetery would later provide a wagon to meet the funeral party and carry the coffin). Mourners would then return to the family home for more food and reminiscing. 1.

1. Cuba, Stanley. "A Polish Community in the Urban West", Polish American Studies - A Journal of Polish American History and Culture. Volume XXXVI, Number 1, Spring 1979, pg 48

Antoni Benca's funeral 1910, photo ® Mary Lou Egan

Before Holy Rosary Church was built in 1920, Slovenians and Croatians held wakes and funerals at St. Jacob's Hall at 4485 Logan Street. Photo used with written permission from Alma Mandarich.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Preserving, canning, roasting in Globeville

The Eastern Europeans and Russians who settled Globeville in the 1880s came from humble roots where everything was preserved and nothing went to waste. Self sufficient and painfully frugal, families planted substantial vegetable gardens, as well as raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, grape vines and fruit trees in their tiny yards. In the spring, asparagus could be harvested along the Farmers and Gardeners Ditch or the banks of the Platte River. (the employees of the Globe Smelter even had a vegetable garden on the grounds of the smelter).
In an era before refrigeration, canning, pickling and salt were a means of preserving food. All summer long, fruits would be canned as soon as they were ripe - cherries in July, peaches and pears in August. Raspberries and strawberries turned into jam, apples into applesauce, while grapes were made into juice, jelly and wine. And there were dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, pickled watermelon rinds, onions, and beets. And, of course, sauerkraut.
In addition to "putting up" fruits and vegetables, people preserved meat in infinite varieties of sausage, pickled pigs feet, head cheese, and pork chops packed in a barrel between layers of salt. Sausage would then be smoked, and all would be stored in a cool cellar.
Today's residents continue the tradition of raising fruits and vegetables, in part, because there is no grocery store in the neighborhood, but also because they enjoy growing their own and preserving their culinary heritage. Tomatoes are still a staple and varieties of chili peppers complement tomatillos, onions, squash, and beans. Chili peppers are then roasted, skinned and frozen for use during the rest of the year.
In the fall, the aroma of smoked sausage rises from "Polack Valley" and the fragrance of chilies roasting throughout the neighborhood are reminders of traditions - of preserving food and your ethnic heritage.

Photo @ Freepik

Photo @ Mary Lou Egan

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Denver's First Labor Day Celebration Held at Argo Park

During the 1880s, Denver was booming. The arrival of the railroads attracted manufacturing, meat packing, food processing and small businesses. That growth spurt would include the Boston and Colorado, the Omaha and Grant and the Holdenville Smelters, brickyards, Denver Rock Drill and several meat packers offering jobs to both immigrants and American-born workers. Clusters of workers settled near their jobs in rural-sounding tracts like Garden Place, Greenwood Addition, Tacoma heights, and Cranberry Place. (Globeville would not be incorporated until 1891).
Industries focused on productivity, with workers toiling 12 hours a day, six, sometimes seven days a week, in gritty factories with few safety regulations, little fresh air, sanitary facilities or breaks. Women found employment in sugar factories, cigar making, commercial laundries or as domestic servants, while children could be found in factories, mines and agriculture. Injuries and deaths were common and left families very much alone and often destitute. The only holidays were Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and Sundays, and employees were not paid if they took the time off.
Workers responded by banding together, campaigning for shorter hours, more pay, better working conditions and recognition of their right to organize. New York City was home to the first Labor Day celebration on September 5, 1882, a peaceful event organized by the Central Labor Union (CLU) promoting the notion of a 10 hour work day. By 1885, “Labor Parades” were being staged in a number of industrial cities across the U.S., and municipal ordinances recognizing the holiday emboldened workers to take part. The first statewide Labor Day law was passed by the Oregon legislature on February 21, 1887. Colorado followed suit, with the measure being put before the voters, passed by the Colorado Legislature and signed into law by pro-labor Governor Alva Adams on March 15, 1887.
The city's first Labor Day celebration was held Monday, September 5th, 1887 with Denver's labor unions deciding to hold picnics and concerts, rather than a parade, in Argo Park.
The Rocky Mountain News from September 6, 1887 described the festive celebration, reporting that around 2000 people attended, listening to a band play at the pavilion and speeches by Governor Adams and various labor leaders. 
The inaugural holiday was a celebration of a day off, as well as the contributions of workers. It would be many years, and hard-fought battles before labor won the many rights we take for granted today.

Workers pose in front of the Boston and Colorado Smelter at Argo
Photo Colorado Historical Society

Map of the area in 1887, before the appearance of the Globe Smelter 
and before Globeville is incorporated

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The odor - packinghouses

For many people a whiff of apple pie or fresh-baked bread can evoke memories of a visit to their grandma's house. For me, that sensory connection occurs when the breeze carries the odors from the Purina Plant in Swansea during a temperature inversion or ozone alert.
Visiting my grandparents, Ida and Andy Jackson, during the 1950s and 60s was a trip to another world. Although the construction of the Valley Highway had lopped off the western edge of the neighborhood and taken out most of the adjacent town of Argo, Globeville was mostly intact, with several small groceries, a drug store, hardware and numerous shoe shops and barbers. We walked everywhere - to the swimming pool at Argo Park, Holy Rosary Church and to the grocery where grandpa worked as a butcher (in anticipation of purchasing penny candy).
Also prospering in the 1960s was the city's largest industry, meatpacking. The Big Four, Swift, Armour, Wilson and Cudahy, as well as the smaller firms, Pepper, Litvak, Linders and Plus Poultry, were all within walking distance of Globeville. The stockyards held cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep and the feed to fatten them, all adding to the distinctive smell. But the most offensive odor came from several rendering plants  where “bone crushing, bone boiling, bone rendering, bone burning, fat boiling, gut cleaning...and the manufacture of fertilizer material..." occurred. * The stench, particularly during the summer, could take your breath away.
Residents of Globeville constantly complained and demanded that Denver regulate odors.
Denver passed regulations but they were difficult to enforce (and still are) and the city seemed to adopt the attitude the the neighborhood was already polluted and additional odors hardly made any difference.
In the end, consolidation and mergers accomplished what regulation could not. Firms like Monfort in Greeley raised, fed, slaughtered and shipped cattle from a central location, gradually eliminating the meat packers near Globeville.
I confess that the smell that permeated Globeville didn't bother me. I didn't deal with it every day and associated the stench with the happy memories of visiting my grandparents. The Purina Plant in Swansea is the last vestige of that era and sometimes, when there is a temperature inversion, I'll catch a whiff that takes me back to a visit to my grandma and grandpa's. It's apple pie to me.

*As defined by Denver City Ordinance No. 760.12

Built in 1928, Purina still provides jobs to the neighborhood.
Photo @ Mary Lou Egan

Saturday, July 4, 2015

4th of July, 1920

The Denver Catholic Register began, "The Yugo-Slavs * of Globeville celebrated the Fourth of July on Sunday by dedicating their beautiful new church at 47th and Pearl." The church, named in honor of the Queen of the Holy Rosary, was the culmination of years of effort.
Before World War I, Slovenes and Croats had been under the rule of Austria-Hungary, their language and culture suppressed and their young men forced to serve in the military forces of their oppressor. As early as the 1880s, they begin arriving in Globeville, recruited to work in the smelters, railroads and meat packing plants. Soon after they settled, Slovenes and Croats organized fraternal organizations that provided sick and death benefits, life insurance, and fostered singing and dramatic groups and social activities. These societies were a clearinghouse for information, a source of political power and the way to achieve common goals, one of which was to build a church of their own.
In the early years of the community, Catholics in Globeville could attend Annunciation Church at 36th and Humboldt, or Sacred Heart at 27th and Larimer, each about a two mile walk. After 1902, Slovenes and Croats could attend St. Joseph's Polish Catholic Church in the neighborhood, but the situation was far from satisfactory. The pastor, Father Jarzynski, felt that his mission was primarily to the Polish congregation and didn't offer to send for a priest who could say Mass, administer sacraments or hear confessions in the Slovenian or Croatian language. Southern Slavs, not feeling welcome, didn't contribute monetarily to St. Joseph's, adding to the hard feelings. The larger concern was that people weren't attending church at all - it was too much trouble.
In 1916, the community began organizing in earnest, with the heads of several fraternal organizations meeting at St. Jacob's Hall, appointing representatives from each lodge to raise funds in all their societies, in Leadville, Pueblo, Salida, and Aspen as well as in Globeville. A delegation was appointed to ask the new bishop, J. Henry Tihen, permission to organize the new parish, a block away from the Polish church. Permission was granted and the fundraising began, with delegates going door-to-door asking for money, glee clubs and dramatic societies giving performances, and businesses contributing. Father Cyril Zupan, OSB, agreed to take on the role of shepherd of the new parish, in addition to his duties as pastor at St. Mary's Slovenian Parish in Pueblo.
Ground was broken on May 27, 1919, the cornerstone blessed on August 17, and the building completed in April of 1920. A spring blizzard caused the dedication to be moved to July 4, 1920.
Bishop Tihen congratulated the congregation on their efforts, reminding them that poor people, rather than princes, built the cathedrals of Europe. Tihen also remarked that it was fitting to hold the religious celebration on the national holiday, for he said that true independence could only flourish side by side with religious freedom.

After 1919, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia, were part of the newly created country of Yugoslavia, which means Southern Slavs.

Photo used with written permission Holy Rosary archives

Photo used with written permission of Betty  Zalar

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Father Joseph Albert Meznar

"Dear family in Christ" the bulletin would begin. The following pages, sometimes as many as four two-sided sheets, would continue with the scripture readings for each day, Mass intentions, prayers for the sick (and those who cared for them), comments on Sunday's readings, and parish activities as diverse as bingo nights, the fall festival, parish breakfasts, bake, craft and rummage sales. Although the grade school had been closed in 1969, the building was used for religious education classes, receptions for First Communion and funerals and meetings of the ladies society, men's club and Knights of Columbus.
Father Meznar was particularly proud of his Slovenian heritage and was thrilled when Rich Eurich and the Preseren Glee Club from Pueblo would celebrate a Polka Mass during the month of October (to coincide with the Feast of the Holy Rosary on October 7th), followed by a breakfast of Klobase and Potica. Another expression of Slovenian culture was the Easter procession around the block, parishioners singing Zvelichar (Savior), with a strong man carrying the statue of the Risen Christ.   
Father Joseph Albert Meznar: was born in Denver on July 11, 1932. His father Joseph P. Meznar emigrated from Slovenia (then part of Austria-Hungary), worked as a bookkeeper at ASARCO's Globe Smelter and died in 1951. His mother Mary Rose Berce was born of Slovenian parents in Golden, and was a homemaker until 1951, going to work at the Denver Dry Goods for 29 years. She passed away in 1996.  Joseph Sr., and Mary Rose were married at Holy Rosary Church on May 7, 1928. Father Joseph and his brother Father Robert P. Meznar were both baptized and confirmed at Holy Rosary Church and graduated from Annunciation High School and St. Thomas Seminary. Father Joseph was ordained in 1958, Father Robert in 1960. Father Joseph served at Holy Rosary from 1982 until 2009,  overseeing a complete restoration and painting of the church in 1995, funded by the Western Slavonic Association and obtaining state historic designation for the church, convent and school in 1999 (5DV.349).  After struggling with many health issues, Father Joseph retired in November 2009 and passed away June 6, 2015.

Rich Eurich entertaining the crowd in 2006

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Globeville and the Platte River Flood of June 1965

Like many frontier towns, both Denver and Globeville started near a river, the usually 
sleepy, muddy Platte. The Arapaho and Cheyenne respected the river, gypsies camped along its banks, but white settlers mainly used the stream to dispose of refuse and paid little attention to what went on there over the years.
As Denver and Globeville grew, so did their abuse of the Platte. Animal carcasses from meat packing plants, refuse from factories, railroads and the city of Denver found their way into the river. Power stations, chemical plants, oil storage tanks, landfills, weeds, car bodies, tires and hobo camps lined the river's banks as it meandered through Denver. Storm drains poured road salt and raw sewage into the Platte. No one seemed to notice. Over the years, the river gained attention only when it overflowed after cloudbursts or record amounts of snow melt. There were periodic attempts to remedy the problem in Globeville, including a WPA project during the 1930s that redirected parts of the river and installed riprap along the banks. But the neighborhood, like much of Denver, wouldn't pay much attention to the river until June, 1965. 

The spring of 1965 must have seemed like the end of the world along Colorado's front range, with small earthquakes, cool temperatures, rain, hail and tornadoes. Streams were running high with heavy spring snow melt. On Wednesday afternoon, June 16, a cloudburst dumped record moisture over an area south of Denver, turning normally quiet creeks into powerful rivers that  joined the swollen South Platte near Littleton to become a half-mile-wide rampaging flood. 
By early 7:00 pm, mud, cars, trailers, dead animals, parts of houses, uprooted trees, propane tanks and boxcars slammed against bridges in Denver, propane tanks exploded, power outages darkened much of the city, and radio and television stations periodically went off the air. 1.
The rail yards near Globeville, the Slovenian Gardens, the Polish Hall, Holy Rosary Church and 
the meat packing plants all sustained flood damage. When the power went off, the city’s north side sewage treatment plant near East 52nd and Franklin shut down and raw sewage spilled into the river and backed up through floor drains the in neighborhood. Holy Transfiguration, as well as St. Joseph's Polish Church lost records and many homes and businesses suffered damage. 
The Colorado National Guard was mobilized Wednesday evening, June 16, and remained in the damaged areas all summer, while neighbors helped each other put things back in order. Denver and Globeville would be forever changed by the 1965 flood, but it would take almost a decade for any meaningful change to take place. One of Globeville's citizens would play an important part in the change.

John Zapien remembers, "This river trail, the whole thing came about under the administration of Mayor Bill McNichols, who appointed his Republican rival, Joe Shoemaker, to form a committee to decide how to 
use $1.9 million in federal revenue-sharing money." The Platte River Development Committee [PRDC] included Dana Crawford, Hiawatha Davis, Jr., Daniel Trujillo and John Zapien. 
"So we formed this committee and we got busy and our biggest adversary was the city! They washed out their concrete trucks in the river and they wanted to put an asphalt plant right where that little park is by the McDonald's.
"We identified 240 places that were polluting and got all but 40 of them to agree to change. Do you remember the old dynamite plant, the Hercules Powder Company, that used to be where the Pepsi plant is now? They had these elevated stands and balls of black powder with little tin roofs over them! That's the kind of challenge we had." 
The first successful projects were Confluence Park and Globeville Landing, with a multi-use trail connecting the two sites. More parks and trails were completed and hundreds of sources of pollution were identified and eliminated. Over the past 40 years, the committee has evolved into the 501(c)3 Greenway Foundation, responsible for over 100 miles of hiking and biking trails, 20 parks and natural areas and has improved the quality of the South Platte River. 2.
Zapien sums it up, "That's the best thing we ever did."

1. Deluge of Century Unloads Fury Upon Foothills, Plains. Denver Post, June 20, 1965 
2. The Greenway Foundation

John Zapien

Globeville Landing Park

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Globeville Feasts, Festivals and Food Summer 2015

Where can you experience the faith traditions of Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Croatia and Mexico and enjoy pierogi, pelmini, potica, tamales and beer? At one of several religious feasts, festivals and parish events in Globeville this summer.
The first event, the feast of Corpus Christi (the body of Christ) occurs at St Joseph Polish Church at 46th and Pearl on Sunday, June 7, after 10:30 am Mass. Four altars are decorated throughout Globeville and parishioners form a procession under a canopy, praying, singing, and scattering rose petals at each site. The first Altar will be decorated by the English-speaking congregation, and the rest by the Polish-speaking members of the parish. This tradition is observed in Europe and also in Mexico. St. Joseph's Polish Catholic Church

One of the Polish altars

The largest festival is the two-day Orthodox Food Festival and Old Globeville Days, July 18yh and 19th. There will be lamb roasting on a spit, every kind of ethnic food a person could want, craft beer (and that Eastern European specialty a shot of Slivovitz - Slovenian plum brandy - and a beer) Irish dancers, Ukranian choirs, Serbian musicians, Aztec dancers, bands, and accordions provide entertainment, as well as activities for the children, crafts, books, toys and representatives from neighborhood associations. There will be demonstrations of icon painting as well as tours of historic Orthodox Cathedral

Tour the beautiful Orthodox temple

The Annual Polish Food Festival will be on Saturday, August 22nd and Sunday, August 23rd in the parking lot behind the school. Galumpkis, pierogi, sauerkraut, kielbasa, sausage and Polish beer. Polish bands and Krakowiacy dancers entertain you.

Holy Rosary Parish bazaar, Sunday, September 5th. Plans are underway for a festival that features Slovenian, Croatian and Mexican food, music and entertainment.
Holy Rosary Parish

Monday, April 20, 2015

Globeville - Doors Open Denver 2015

Doors Open Denver, presented by the Denver Architectural Foundation, is the premier event showcasing Denver's unique urban fabric.
Denver Auditor and Globeville advocate, Dennis Gallagher, will be leading a tour on Sunday Sunday, April 26th, Old Slavic North Denver - the Globeville Neighborhood, which is already sold out. But you could hang around St Joseph's Polish Catholic Church at 46th and Pennsylvania about 3:00 pm and join the throng who signed up for the Gallagher tour. 

The tour begins here at St. Joseph's Polish Catholic Church, which was constructed in 1902 (by many of the people who had attended Transfiguration, built in 1898, as well as by many Slovenians and Croatians). The parish struggled as Poles moved away from Globeville after the construction of I-25 and I-70, but enjoyed increase membership after the fall of Communism in 1989, and the papacy of John Paul II brought newcomers from PolandSt. Joseph's is proud of its "Polishness" with ethnic food events, lessons in the Polish language and performances by the Krakowiacy Polish dancers. The church is listed on the National Register of Historic properties (1983 - 5DV.782).

The oldest of Globeville's three Slavic churches is Holy Transfiguration of Christ Cathedral, founded in 1898 by immigrants from the Carpatho-Russian region of Eastern Europe. Working 12 hours a day, six days a week in Globeville's smelters, these families mortgaged their homes to purchase lots and build their temple. The church glows with icons and has a rich, complicated history, which Dennis Gallagher will enthusiastically recite. Holy Transfiguration received state historic designation in 1997 - 5DV.782, and today enjoys a diverse and active congregation.

Holy Rosary Parish was built by Slovenian and Croatian immigrants, who attended St. Joseph's Church even while they were saving money to build their own parish (leading to some hard feelings when Slovenians and Croatians didn't contribute to the parish - Dennis will enlighten attendees) Ground was broken in March 1919 and the church was dedicated on July 4, 1920. Today's parish consists of the descendants of the Slavic founders, as well as a robust Hispanic congregation. Holy Rosary received state historic designation in March 1999 - 5DV.349.

Info: Dennis Gallagher, 303-477-7089or

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dennis Sheedy

“…among the men who have witnessed and aided in an empire’s development the like of which will never be seen again.” This florid description in Jerome Smiley’s 1901 History of Denver applies to Dennis Sheedy,  a recognized leader in several business ventures in Colorado and the man responsible for the success of the Globe Smelter. 1.
Born in Ireland in 1846, Sheedy moved with his family to the United States when he was a small child, first to Massachusetts, then Iowa. In 1858, his brother, sister, and father died, leaving him the sole support of his mother and surviving sister, Ellen. He attended school during the winter months and worked the rest of the year at a general store, “acquiring a practical knowledge of business.” 
In 1863, at the age of 17, Sheedy came to the young city of Denver and found work in a general store. By 1868, he had saved enough money to move to the Montana Territory, set up his own wholesale grocery and begin buying and selling cattle in Wyoming, Texas, California, Kansas, Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico. By 1882, Sheedy had made a fortune, married Katherine V. Ryan, daughter of a prominent Leavenworth businessman and returned to Denver to settle permanently. 
Success in business led to other opportunities. Sheedy acquired an interest in the Colorado National Bank, becoming a director, and then, in January 1886, vice president. When the bank became concerned about losing their investments in the Holden Smelter in 1889, Sheedy was elected to take over as the President and General Manager, reorganizing, renaming the company the Globe Smelting and Refining Company and turning the business into one of the most successful smelters in the country.
Sheedy’s success in transforming the Globe may have put him in a position to rescue the McNamara Dry Goods Company, which had gone bankrupt during the Silver Panic of 1893. Sheedy’s experience in merchandising led to his being named the president of the re-organized Denver Dry Goods Company in 1894. Once again profitable, the store built a six-story building designed by architect Frank Edbrooke, on the corner of California and Fifteenth Street in downtown Denver. 
Sheedy contributed generously to many Catholic institutions, including St. Joseph's Hospital and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and to many other civic causes. On October 16, 1923, at the age of 77, Dennis Sheedy passed away at his home from pneumonia and is buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Wheat Ridge.
Photo Denver Public Library
The Sheedy mansion at 11th and Grant was built in 1892.
Photo ® Mary Lou Egan
1. Smiley, Jerome C., History of Denver, Denver, Colorado. 
The Times-Sun Publishing Company, 1901, page 562

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Old time medicine

Illness was a threat to the immigrant families in Globeville. Many immigrants were somewhat suspicious of doctors, had little money and spoke limited English, so it was up to the mother to do the nursing when a member of the family was sick. Mustard plasters, a paste made from mustard seed and encased in a cloth coating, were used to treat bronchitis, pneumonia, chest congestion and wounds. Healing techniques brought from the Old Country, such as strong tea brewed from sage, chamomile or yarrow were given to those suffering from indigestion, nausea or sluggishness. Ear aches were treated with a sock filled with oats, heated in the oven and applied to the ear. Kerosene, menthol, and the ever dependable whiskey and honey were also useful remedies.
If these methods were not effective enough, medicines could be purchased at the Globe Pharmacy or Harry Heck's Drug Store. Balsamea, a tonic expectorant, promised relief from bronchial colds, chronic bronchitis, croup and hoarseness - for 50 cents. The Martinitz Remedy Company at 3036 Humboldt in Elyria made liniments, cough remedies, formulas that purified the blood and a wonder salve. To appeal to the immigrant population, the company's ad was written in both Slovenian and English. A belief in these methods probably aided in their effectiveness.