Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas visitors

Globeville is rich with the traditions of the many ethnic groups who have settled there. Early settlers from the Carpathian mountains, Slovaks, celebrated with a meal that featured 12 food items to symbolize the 12 apostles. Afterward, there might be a visit from the jaslickari or Star Carolers, young men and boys dressed as the Three Kings or shepherds and an angel carrying a star on a pole. One member of the group carried a creche and told the story of the nativity in song. An extra place was always set at the Christmas table to receive a traveling stranger who might be the Christ Child in disguise.
Globeville was also home to many German-Russians from Norka, Russia who brought with them the custom of the Christkind and the Pelznickel. The role of the Christkind was usually played by a young lady with a clear voice, dressed in white with a veil over her face to hide her identity. She would arrive on Christmas Eve to question the children of the house. Did you obey your parents? Have you said your prayers faithfully? If the children answered these questions satisfactorily, they were given small gifts (provided by the parents) and the Christkind departed to visit the other homes on her route. For unruly or disobedient children, the Pelznickel was summoned. The Pelznickel was portrayed by a strong young fellow with an unkempt beard dressed in a sheepskin coat, a long chain over one shoulder and a bundle of switches in his right hand. Children would hear a recitation of their misdeeds and would hear the sound of the switches. Only after the children had promised to behave in the future did the Pelznickel disappear into the night. The threat of the Pelznickel appearing would be enough to keep many children from misbehaving all year. 
Las Posadas is a wonderful Mexican tradition where travelers recreate the story of Mary and Joseph as they search for a place to stay in Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus.  The holiday ritual includes a procession of pilgrims or peregrinos dressed as Joseph, Mary, angels, shepherds and the Three Wise Men travel from house to house until they reach the home designated as the Inn. Upon arrival, the procession is met at the door by the "innkeepers" and sing a lyric asking for shelter. Joseph and Mary are finally recognized and allowed inside where everyone rejoices with songs, prayers, music and sweets. The custom can last nine days, from December 16 to Christmas and is practiced by families and congregations in Globeville, including one on Monday, December 17 from Holy Rosary Church. 

Christmas Traditions in Norka

Holy Rosary Church

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kohut Creamery

Today the intersection at 45th and Washington Street is a an exit from I-70, but the area was a busy commercial hub in Globeville before the highway was built. Jim Kohut remembers his family's business. "My mother and dad owned the Creamery. For many years, my dad had bought pieces of display counters here, there and stored them in the garage until the dirt was an inch thick on them. He always said, “One day, I’m going to open a business.” Eventually he went over to the old bar and restaurant on 45th and Washington there, run by Koprivics and rented an empty building adjoining their bar from them for $35 a month. Then he talked to Meadow Gold and they supplied our milk, eggs and ice cream. And Rainbow took take care of us on the breads. He put that all together and rented the building. My mother was scared to death. She got some material and made some outfits and hired Frances Popish, who was going to work for us. She was probably 18 at the time, her first job ever. She came in from 58th and Franklin in her little car to work for us. Our good friend Johnny Tanko helped dad make the sign for us that said Washington Creamery, and about killed himself putting it up. We got in there and everything was laid out, the ice cream, the bread, the milk, potato chips, can goods,you know, the basics. Johnny Tanko told my mother she had to take in 35 bucks that first day or go broke. And she took in $46. She was tickled to death.
“Later, we built a building at 4565 Washington on the west side of the street. The front part was all Creamery and we lived in the back. We had the business for four or five years, from 1942, and when I got out of high school, my folks sold it.”

Mary and Mike Kohut outside the Creamery
photo used with written permission from the Kohut family

Sunday, November 18, 2012

ASARCO clean up

The Globe plant began in 1886 as the Holden Smelter and was renamed the Globe in 1889 by Dennis Sheedy who took over the failing concern. Workers endured twelve-hour shifts six days a week, exposure to heat and toxic chemicals. But displaced farmers from Eastern Europe found meager wages and dangerous conditions preferable to starvation and conscription in the old country and lined up for available jobs. Houses were built nearby and the fledgling neighborhood was named Globeville. 
In 1899 the Globe joined the American Smelting and Refining Company, (ASARCO), a multi-national trust of smelters, mines and railroads. As valuable ores were depleted, smelting became more expensive and inefficient plants were closed - the company discontinued smelting at the Globe Smelter in 1919 and began recovering valuable metals in ore shipped from other ASARCO plants. 
During World War II, the Globe plant became the nation's largest supplier of cadmium, a corrosion-resistant metal used in paint, ball bearings and as a coating for aircraft, employing over 200 workers, many of whom lived in the neighborhood. It is that legacy of heavy metals and toxic processing that affects the neighborhood today. 
A series of lawsuits by neighbors led to settlements in 1993 and 1997. ASARCO replaced soil and vegetation around homes and businesses in Globeville and improved environmental conditions in the plant itself. But the transnational company that once seemed all powerful struggled financially and ASARCO filed for bankruptcy in 2005. In 2009, the ASARCO Multi State Environmental Custodial Trust was created and title to the ASARCO Globe Smelter property was transferred to the Trust. Globeville I, LLC is the contractor selected by the Custodial Trust to manage the completion of the remediation and ultimate sale of the ASARCO Globe Smelter property. On November 7th, 2012 a meeting was held at the Globeville Civic Association to present an update on the remediation efforts.
Community Outreach Coordinator Morgan Landers gave a brief history of the problems and the remediation efforts to date. Project Manager Chris Miller described the demolition of the plant, the grinding of brick and concrete, and the disposal of asbestos. Mary Hashem gave an account of the remediation of ground water and Joseph Harrington demonstrated the use of natural materials to strip heavy metals from the ground water. A question and answer period revealed neighbors' concerns about the effectiveness of the remediation and the kinds of development that might take place. The community expressed its hope that green industries, small business or hi-tech companies could be drawn to the area, and that jobs in the neighborhood might be available. Links were given to sources of information about the remediation process, submission of bids, training for jobs, health and environmental reports and community information. 

Morgan Landers listens as Chris Miller describes the work that has been done so far.

Joe Harrington demonstrates how natural materials strip heavy metals from groundwater

Project managers Globeville I, LLC
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Remediation Contractors, Alexco Resource U.S. Corp

Friday, November 2, 2012


In the 1880s people flocked to an area north of Denver that offered jobs in three large smelters, several foundries, brickyards, meat packing plants and railroads. Many were men who would accept any work to raise a little money and then seek their fortunes in the Colorado gold fields. Other newcomers were from Eastern Europe and Russia, recruited to work for less money than their American-born counterparts in
 gritty, dangerous work. Within a few years, this culturally diverse population had reached 2,000 and many residents felt the need for some sort of civic structure. In 1891 the community voted for incorporation as a town, officially calling itself “Globeville,” and chose William H. Clark as the first mayor. The city government consisted of the mayor, six trustees, a recorder, treasurer, magistrate and marshal, each serving a two-year term. The town council took its responsibilities seriously, meeting every second Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m., with additional meetings when necessary. 
Globeville existed as an independent town for only a short time, from 1891 until annexed by Denver in 1903, but in those years the governing body embodied many of the virtues today's politicians only talk about. There didn't seem to be any grandstanding about who was more American or any resentment of newcomers or immigrants. Mayor Clark was an American with a capital A, born in Iowa, homesteading in Nebraska and then joining the bands of gold seekers who rushed to Colorado in 1858. Clark did a little bit of everything, including prospecting and farming, while he watched his frontier home evolve into an industrial town. As mayor, he represented homesteaders, newcomers, native-born citizens and recent immigrants and treated all with respect. Likewise, men who would have been enemies in Europe, cooperated with each other and formed lasting friendships. German-Russians John Wolf, John H. Webber, Fritz Vogt, J. F. Heim and William Hellwig, Croatian Emil Forman, and Max Malich from Slovenia would all serve as trustees.
The minutes of board's meetings reveal the earnestness these men felt in making their community a good place to live. Since many were from countries where they had little to say about government, council members took special interest in the details of the ordinances they were creating. No one could carry a slingshot, bowie knife or deadly weapon without written permission from the mayor. Gambling, as well as dog or cock fights, was prohibited. ... “abusive, common, vulgar, indecent or improper language to incite others to commit violent offenses or crimes” was illegal. “Vagrant mendicants, common prostitutes and habitual drunkards” were to be restrained and punished by the enormous fine of $25 to $100. 
Globeville had only been incorporated for two years when a catastrophic national depression took place in 1893. Mayor Clark suggested a way to both continue civic improvements and relieve unemployment, appointing a man from each end of town to locate unemployed men who were married and had families. The men were given jobs working on street improvements and paid with credit at local grocery stores. With this solution, families in need received help while contributing to the community.
That same spirit of community could be seen in an 1899 ordinance that read, “Moved by Max Malich, seconded by Smith, that the town of Globeville buy 50 tickets from the Smeltermen’s Union #93 for their picnic and to distribute the 50 tickets amongst the people of Globeville unable to buy the same.”
Although Globeville has been part of Denver since 1903, the neighborhood is still defined by those characteristics of the earliest settlers, that of respect, cooperation and people surviving hard times by taking care of each other.

Mayor Clark in front of his homestead

Trustee John Wolf, photo used with written permission from Betty Patterson 

Mayor (1894-96) Emil Forman with infant Mamie Shaball, 
photo used with written permission from the Shaball family

Trustee Max Malich
photo used with written permission from the Shaball family

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Krautburgers, Kraut Bierochs, Runzas

Nothing evokes a memory like a certain smell. The fragrance of onions, cabbage and simmering ground beef. The heavenly aroma of the thin pastry pocket that encloses the mixture. The scent wafts across the parking lot of the First Plymouth Congregational Church in South Denver, but transports me to my grandmother's kitchen in Globeville.
Although my grandmother, Ida Ose Jackson, was Swedish and my Grandfather, Andy Jackson, was Slovenian, most of their neighbors on Sherman Street were Volga Germans and this recipe, like the local gossipwas probably exchanged over the back yard fence. Grandma didn't use a printed recipe but talked throughout the cooking process (so young apprentices needed to watch and listen).  
Like a lot of German Russian fare, krautburgers are made with humble ingredients, cabbage, onion, ground beef and a simple pastry, but can be dressed up with bacon, ham, sausage, cheese and potatoes. Economical, tasty and easy-to-make, these are great directly from the oven, reheated, or cold for a picnic lunch. 
Like the Volga Germans, the recipe migrated from the Rhinelands, to Russia and then to the heartland of America, the ingredients and instructions relayed by word of mouth. As the first generation of Volga immigrants to Colorado passed on, efforts were made to preserve the history, traditions, culture and unique heritage of this little known group and the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia was founded in Greeley, Colorado in 1968. The Society would eventually move its headquarters to Lincoln, Nebraska, which had been a clearinghouse for German Russian immigrants. Today, the organization hosts multiple chapters in 24 states and Canada with collections of photos, publications, resources for genealogy and educational programs.
Members of the Metro Denver chapter held their twice yearly bake sale October 6th at the First Plymouth Congregational Church. The funds collected help support the organization's meetings and events, including the next opportunity for ready-made kraut burgers in April. 

Members of the Metro Denver Chapter preparing the filling

American Society of Germans from Russia

North Dakota State University, Germans from Russia Collection

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fuel and Feed

In 1934, almost all Globeville people relied on coal to heat their homes and power their businesses. Many in the neighborhood (in defiance of Denver city ordinances) also kept horses, chickens, geese, rabbits, doves, and the occasional hog. For one-stop shopping, citizens could purchase what they needed at Globeville Fuel and Feed at 4425 Washington. Paul Goreski remembered, "They sold coal, animal feed and hay. The fellow who owned it, Jimmy O’Conner, used to go to South Park in the summertime to get hay and my folks used to go with him." David Freehling's Blacksmith Shop at 4627 Washington kept Globeville's steeds in shoes and harnesses, and produced metal parts for farm implements.
On the east side of block was the Ruff's Garage at 4492 Washington Street providing both coal for heat and gasoline for the growing number of cars and trucks. Navy Fuel and Gas at 4588 and the Merchant Oil Filling Station at 4601 Washington also catered to patrons with automobiles
Today, the area is at the interchange of I-70 and Washington, with a Conoco super station on the south side of the highway and a 7-11 service station on the north. Fuel and feed has been replaced by pump-it-yourself gas and fast food for travelers. 

Unknown man, Jimmy O'Conner (seated), Pete Goreski about 1930,
Globeville Fuel and Feed 4425 Washington Street, photo used with written permission from Paul Goreski

Ruff Coal Company, 4492 Washington Street circa 1937, 
photo used with written permission from Linda and Dennis Ruff

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

Monday, August 20, 2012

Working the beets

“No Race Suicide in Globeville Where Beetworkers Live on Summer Wages” proclaims the Denver Republican from December 8, 1911. The story begins, “Globeville, the suburb of Denver ... has just half the number of inhabitants in the summer that it has in winter. Its Poles, Russians, Slavs ...went forth in early spring to work in the sugar beet fields and earn their keep for the winter.” The Republican continues enthusiastically, “The Fijalkowskis spent the summer working in the beet fields at Monte Vista. They consider their farm lands regular resorts.”
Globeville resident Ann Morgan remembered it differently. “At that time, they had no machines - you were the machine. In the spring, it was always cold and we would wrap our legs with gunny sacks and then newspaper.” 
John Werner, whose family emigrated from Russia in 1914, remembers childhood summers in the fields. "Children were good beet workers because their small fingers could thin and weed around the plants. We stayed in these very crude beet shacks, a two room affair with a cistern. Periodically the farmer would haul water to the cistern and fill your tank. Outside plumbing, kerosene lamps. It was a minority job. You had no knowledge of the language and no particular skill."
Earnings weren’t guaranteed but fluctuated along with farm prices and the weather. Anna Machuga Worth recalled, "A neighbor took me over to work the beets. Sad deal. It was a bad year...the grass hoppers got all the beets. So our family, after three months of hard labor, had to come home without a dime. The farmer took a great loss."
Yet the sugar beet crop was a way for large immigrant families with few skills to supplement their income. As Globeville’s first generation of immigrants moved up to higher paying jobs in the 1920s, newer immigrants, the Mexican-Americans, began to take their places.
Globeville resident Bea Trevino recalled, "My dad came over here from new Mexico in 1938 to work the beet harvest for a farmer by Longmont. I was a kid working on the farms picking beets, beans, tomatoes, pickles...then in 1950, I started working at Plus Poultry at 40th and Colorado Boulevard. My husband and I bought a house in Globeville in 1965."
Today, sugar from beets has been supplanted by sweetener made from corn, but much of the hand labor in farm fields is still done by immigrants hoping to make a better life for their families.

"No Race Suicide in Globeville Where Beetworkers Live on Summer Wages"
Denver Republican, December 8, 1911

Photo of beet wagons near Fort Morgan used with written permission from Chuck Fortarel

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Women's Work

The women in the photo appear pleasant although few are smiling. Surely they welcomed a short break from the heat and noise inside the building to pose for the photographer. Their employer, the New Colorado Laundry at 2207 Larimer Street, was the kind of business that hired women in the early 1900’s, since they could be paid little money and required minimal training. Many ladies from Globeville worked at one of the commercial laundries in downtown Denver, such as Silver State at 2441 Broadway, Ideal at 2500 Curtis Street and Enterprise Laundry at 17th and Champa, all within a couple of miles from Globeville.
These women weren't pursuing satisfying careers but supplementing the family's income with the kind of jobs available to them. Steve Machuga remembered, "My mother worked outside the home when I was growing up, scrubbing floors and cleaning rooms at the Brown Palace Hotel for 50¢ a night. She walked with two other ladies from Globeville, up 38th Street to short Larimer and 20 blocks to the hotel. The street car cost 10¢ each way, so they walked."  
Many other Globeville ladies worked as "domestics" doing cooking, cleaning and laundry in the homes of Denver's wealthier citizens. There were also situations available in the many local family-owned taverns, with the bar in the front of the building, living quarters for the family in the rear, and rooms upstairs for the men employed in the smelters. Newcomers like Jennie Hocevar could prepare meals for the family, pack lunches for the boarders and begin the process of learning English and American ways. Jennie later worked at Cudahy, trimming the fat from meat as it came down the chute. “I trimmed more than anybody else and I couldn’t even speak English,” she remembered.
Most women in the 1900s regarded work was a necessity and appreciated the kind of job that would help their family live a better life.

Photo used with written permission from Agnes Tanko. Her mother, Mary Holland, is one of 
the young women in the photo.

Jennie Hocevar Sadar, photo used with written permission from Dorothy Nevelos

Friday, July 13, 2012

Orthodox Food Festival & Old Globeville Days

Strains of accordion music waft across Argo park, accompanied by the aroma of roast lamb, Romanian cabbage rolls, Mexican tamales, German sausage and Serbian Povitica. Tamburitzans perform while patrons enjoy ethnic food favorites, European beer and the potent plum brandy, Slivovitz. Each July since 2003, Globeville invites all of Denver to join in the celebration of its ethnic diversity, a characteristic that continues to define the neighborhood.
The festival takes place Saturday July 14th (11:00 am - 9:30 pm) and Sunday, July 15th (11:00 am - 5:00 pm) at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Cathedral and Argo Park, 349 E. 47th Avenue at Logan Street in the Globeville neighborhood. Admission is free. Sample foods from Russia, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Greece, Mexico and Italy. Relax under the tents to experience ethnic music and dance, enjoy the children's activities, visit the craft and gift booths, iconography exhibit and tour the historic Orthodox Cathedral with its stunning icons and images. Dance to the music of Willie & the Po' Boys, Saturday 7:00 - 9:30 pm.
The event is co-sponsored by Holy Transfiguration of Christ Orthodox Cathedral and Globeville Civic Association. Call 303-294-0938 for more information.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Polish Heritage Continues in Globeville

Poles began arriving in the area that would become Globeville in the 1880s before the town was incorporated in 1891. Seeking jobs in the Argo, Grant and Globe Smelters, a small number settled in the 4500 to 4800 blocks of Washington, Pearl, Pennsylvania, Logan and Grant Streets, and on Emerson Street near the Platte River. Poles were never as numerous as the other groups who arrived in Globeville but they made their presence known by establishing fraternal organizations that would provide assistance in the event of injury, illness or death - common occurrences in smelters. There was St. Martin’s Society, Lodge #134, of the Polish National Alliance founded in 1889 and Group 62, St. Joseph’s Society of the Polish Union of North America organized in 1897. In addition to these insurance organizations, Poles formed the Polish Literary Club, the Polish Harmony Club and the Polish Falcons, all social groups for young adults. All the organizations worked to build St. Joseph's Polish Catholic Church in 1902 and the school in 1926. All these institutions had the preservation of Polish culture as an integral part of their existence, hoping to convey that heritage to the next generation.  
As Poles succeeded in improving their lot financially and providing a better life for their children, they moved out of the Globeville neighborhood. (construction of two interstate highways through the heart of community accelerated their exodus.)
But Polish culture lives on in Globeville at St. Joseph's Polish Catholic Church, with Mass in both English and Polish, and celebration of traditions such as the Corpus Christi procession through the neighborhood. Classes in the Polish language are taught at the school, and Polish choirs and the Krakowiacy dancers hold regular performances.

Krakowiacy singers

Altar for Corpus Christi Procession

St Joseph's Polish Catholic Church


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

German-Russian Wedding

Although Globeville's German-Russian immigrants were incredibly poor, they knew how to have a good time. One of the most memorable of those good times would be a wedding. Sam Dreith remembers stories of his parent's celebration. "When my folks got married, the wedding lasted three days. The first day, when they got married, the band walked down the wooden sidewalks (Globeville still had wooden walks) and played in front of them on the way to the church. After the ceremony the couple went back to the house where they were going to live.
"The first day of the celebration was only for the family and real close relatives, who were supposed to cook the food. And the traditional dish was a noodle soup and a butter dumpling made out of butter, eggs and bread. The second day was for extended family, maybe 20 to 30 people, and the third day was for everybody, maybe 50 people. Small by today’s standards. And everybody was supposed to bring food."
There were many traditions for helping the young couple raise money for their life together. Any man who danced with the bride pinned money to her dress, or the bride's shoe would be stolen and have to be bought back (presumably, the shoe would reappear for the bride to continue dancing). A beautiful pillow made by the bride's godmother would be passed around and money pinned to it. Sometimes men would steal the bride and make the groom buy her back, (a custom adapted from the Slovenians).
By the 1900s, white gowns were the custom with white gloves that were a gift of the groom. The groom wore flowers in his lapel and a long sash or ribbon. If the bridal couple traveled to church by horse and wagon, the horses were also festooned with flowers and ribbons.
Sam continued, "Folks used to chivareebeat on drums and wash tubs the night of the honeymoon. The groom was supposed to come out and throw money so you’d go away and leave them alone.”

from a conversation at the home of Sam Dreith, August 5, 1995 with Sam, Mary Dreith Modic, and Linda Dreith Kornafel.

1912 Wedding photo from First German Congregational Church, used with written permission from Sarah Wolf

Left to right, Christine Schwartz, groom John Lehl, Hrch Kildau, bride Katherine Hilzer Lehl, 
minister Adam Traudt at right, man with hat is Henry Treber. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

The rumble of freight trains and trucks is constant and the smell of diesel and the nearby refineries competes with that of the native flowers. But when Riverside Cemetery opened in 1876, Denver was a young city hoping to appear civilized by dedicating a park-like setting to remember its dead. In 1876, Decoration Day was also a relatively new observance, created to honor soldiers killed during the Civil War
Today, Riverside Cemetery is home to over 1,200 Civil War veterans, both Union and Confederate, who came to Colorado after the war to seek their fortunes in the gold fields, homestead, ranch or farm. Others found work on the railroads, as storekeepers, tradesmen, lawmen, politicians and preachers. Block 27, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Block, is the location of the majority of Union soldiers buried at Riverside. 
The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a fraternal organization open to all men who had honorably served in the Union Army or Navy, regardless of race. The motto of the GAR was "Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty" and the organization lived up to its ideals, with members looking out for former soldiers in the area. A needy veteran and his family might find a box of groceries or a load of coal on their doorstep. The fraternal was instrumental in obtaining increased government pensions, the creation of federal and state veterans' homes and government-supplied headstones. In Denver, any veteran who was financially unable to afford a funeral was given one paid for by the post.
As the veterans of the Civil War passed away, the GAR also faded into history. There are many ways to hear their stories at Riverside Cemetery, including several self-guided tours and booklets.
(Information about the GAR can be found in a booklet by Raymond C. Thal "The Civil War at Riverside" available from the visitor's center at Riverside, open Thursday and the 1st Wednesday of each month from 10:am to 3:00 pm. 5201 Brighton Blvd. Denver, CO 80216    303-293-2466) 

Decoration Day 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Once a Major Employer...

ASARCO's Globe Plant, once a major employer in the Globeville and surrounding neighborhoods, is now vacant. According to Globeville I, LLC, remediation of the environmentally contaminated site is on schedule, with the demolition of the external buildings completed in March 2012. Once cleaned up, the site will be home to a new "Globeville Commerce Center" with a potential 1.1 million square feet of commercial space. Although restoration of the area has been a goal of the community for a long time, it is hoped that the stories of the men who worked there will not be lost. 

51st and Logan, October 2011

51st and Logan, January 2012

51st and Logan, May 2012

55th and Washington, July 2016

Thursday, May 10, 2012

John and Katherine Peketz

The story of John and Katherine Peketz is one of opportunity and upward mobility in America. An immigrant from Slovenia, John Peketz is listed as a laborer in the 1905 edition of the Denver city directory, but by 1911 he is recorded as working as a bartender at John Predovich's saloon. In 1915, Peketz opens his own tavern at 4511 Washington Street.
Before Prohibition (Colorado went dry in 1916, four years before the rest of the nation) immigrant saloons operated as banks, social clubs and clearinghouses for newcomers where a recent arrival could get a drink, a good meal, news from the Old Country, a place to stay, a loan, and advice concerning jobs and meeting other young and single people from home. Tavern owners like Peketz knew everyone and everything happening in Globeville.
By Globeville's standards Peketz was prosperous, owning his own home and operating a successful business, but he never forgot his humble beginnings. Peketz helped found the Western Slavonic Association (WSA), a fraternal organization that provided financial help to families in case of sickness or injury. Katherine Peketz then formed a women's branch of the association, Holy Rosary Lodge, Number 7, which focused on service to the community. Using their business and fraternal connections, the couple then worked to raise money to build Holy Rosary Church in 1919. Their lives and contributions can be remembered in two windows in the church that feature St. Catherine and St. John the Baptist.
Top photo: John and Katherine Peketz in their grocery store. After Colorado went dry in 1916, many former taverns became grocery stores. Photo used with written permission from Don Snider
Second photo: 4511 Washington, site of the Peketz Saloon
Third photo: Location of Western Slavonic Hall, today the McDonald's on Washington Street. Photo used with written permission from Joe Sadar
Bottom photo: Peketz windows in Holy Rosary Church.

Western Slavonic Association
Holy Rosary Church

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Commemoration of Holy Rosary School

The original photo is 24 inches long and shows Father John Judnic and 152 students posing in front of the Holy Rosary School building in September 1930. Completed in September 1928, the school was the dream of Holy Rosary parishioners, Slovenian and Croatian immigrants who sought to preserve the faith and heritage of their homeland.
Southern Slavs had arrived in Globeville during the 1890s and worked 12-hour days in the smelters, railroads and meat packing plants in hopes of building a better life for their families. Hard working and painfully frugal, they built their parish church in 1919, a handsome brick rectory in 1921 and began to collect funds for a parish school in 1927.
The school opened in September 1928, on the eve of the Great Depression, but was sustained by volunteer labor, bake sales, choir performances, raffles, and the dedication and perseverance of the Slovenian and Croatian community. For 40 years, Holy Rosary School provided a faith-based education to the Catholic children of Globeville.
The construction of two interstate highways through the neighborhood and industrial encroachment forced many residents to move from Globeville, and enrollment at the school dwindled. The school was forced to close in May 1969. 
Photos of each of the 40 graduating classes of the school were discovered in the former rectory in February 2010 and have been assembled, along with the students' names, in a small booklet. The publication is a touching tribute to the faith of these immigrant families and is available from the parish for a donation of $10.

                                       1929: Mary Marolt, Ignatius Mearsha, Rev. John J. Judnic, 
                                        Amelia Lesser, Lenore Theisen

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


The 1880s were a heady time of optimism and expansion in Denver. The arrival of the railroads in the 1870s had fostered a sense of permanence - the rough frontier town was here to stay. Industries sprouted along the rail lines, and men looking for jobs followed. As the city's population exploded, real estate developers set to work.
William D. Todd, a prominent businessman who had extensive real estate holdings in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood, platted the Ironton Addition in 1881. Bounded by the Platte River on the west, Union Pacific rail lines on the east, 38th Avenue to the north and 32nd Avenue to the south, Ironton featured small plots for houses close to the factories, foundries and rail yards. In an era before streetcars or automobiles, it was a selling point that a person could walk to his job. Blocks of neat, cozy homes lay adjacent to heavy industries - 
Denver Fire Clay (33rd and Blake), Colorado Iron Works (34th and Wynkoop), the Ironton Machine Company (36th and Wynkoop) and the Union Pacific
It wasn't all work - the Ironton Social Club is listed at 3419 Delgany. 
A handsome school building was constructed at 36th and Delgany in 1890, part of the Denver Public School system, and some children attended Annunciation School in the Cole neighborhood (34th and Humboldt).
The industries that attracted workers eventually overtook the neighborhood, and families moved away. 
Today, the area is undergoing a metamorphosis with former factories and foundries being adapted by artists for studios and living spaces. Ironton is now part of the vibrant River North District, or RiNo, adjacent to Globeville and Denver’s Five Points neighborhood.
RiNo Neighborhood

This jewell on Brighton Boulevard, photo