Historic walk reveals Auraria’s storied past

Photo: Sophia Shappell • CU Denver Sentry


One may wonder about the history of the Ninth Street Historic Park and the Tivoli Student Union on Auraria campus. The Historic Walk, sponsored by Atlas Obscura, takes its participants on a walk from Ninth Street all the way to the Tivoli to learn about Auraria’s long past.

The Historic Walk is led by CEO of the Auraria Higher Education Center, Barb Weiske. Weiske first discusses how the park is the oldest residential street in Denver. It was originally going to be torn down, but Historic Denver, Inc. raised $900,000 in order to save it, and it is now one of the most important characteristics of the Auraria Campus. Weiske does not mention the complicated history of displaced Agrarians.

The buildings were restored with the original wood panelling. The exteriors are nearly the same as they were when they were built in 1875, and a few of them were constructed as early as 1872. Weiske noted that the 1050 building on 9th Street is the most active spiritually, meaning many believe it to be haunted.

She also said that 1020 used to be a restaurant and gathering place for the community. The neighborhood housed mostly middle-class families in the 19th century. A few of the buildings are made of wood because they were built before the requirement of all buildings in the city to be made of brick, a decision that was made because of the many fires in Denver that burned down buildings in the 19th century.

The Emmanuel Gallery was originally a synagogue, and it is the oldest church structure in Denver. It now showcases the artwork of many local artists. Lawrence Street and Larimer Street used to connect all the way through the school but they were turned into walking pathways for the students when the school opened in 1977.

The tour then goes to the Tivoli Student Union. The Tivoli was built and founded as a brewery in 1864 by Sigi Moritz and was originally just called Sigi’s. It was bought by John Good in 1901, who changed the name to Tivoli after the Tivoli gardens in Copenhagen. It closed down in 1969 because of the flood of 1965 and numerous labor strikes. Luckily, in 1973 the building was placed on the National Register of Historic places, so it remained untouched. It was bought by the Denver Urban Renewal Authority and transferred ownership to AHEC. Unfortunately, the costs to renovate the building became too expensive, and it was sold and became a shopping mall in 1984. It was bought back by the Auraria Campus in 1991, and fully restored a decade later in 2001.

The next stop is the Tivoli Brewery. This part of the tour is led by owner of the brewery, Stephanie Raymond. Raymond then discussed how most of the brewery equipment is the original equipment from the 1800s, but most of it doesn’t actually work anymore.

The tour is fascinating and great for any history nerd or student that wants to learn more about the rich history of the Auraria campus.

Photo: Sophia Shappell • CU Denver Sentry

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