Denver’s Cheesman Park Neighborhood

This week I bring you pictures and info about Cheesman Park in Denver. You can think of it as Denver’s Central Park, as it were.

The most striking feature of the park is the pavilion:

This Greek-style building has been around since 1910 and was once apparently called Denver’s Temple in the Sun. I’ve read they show free movies here in the summer. Haven’t made it to one of those yet. Yet.

When I visited, I came through the gate from the Botanic Gardens next door, which means I came upon the back of the pavilion. There was a taping of a music video in progress:

The weird thing was that the dancers and musicians were performing more or less silently. There was a music source – probably someone’s mobile phone – but the musicians were miming their song. And the dancers had to muster dancing enthusiasm with very little musical inspiration. It was fascinating for me as a photographer to watch this.

On the other side of the pavilion that day was a man practicing his Cyr wheel moves:

FYI, the Cyr wheel was named after its inventor/perfecter Daniel Cyr around the mid 1990s. His motto: Just watch your fingers.

Despite the interest of the pavilion, my overall impression of the park was one of immense green lawns with laid-back denizens enjoying their free time. It reminded me of Munich’s English Garden.

I made mention of the park in the Botanic Garden post last year because they are adjacent to one another. In fact, the Botanic Garden was carved out of Cheesman Park. Still, the park covers 81 acres as it stands. And the most intriguing thing about the park, for me, is its history. Here’s an excerpt from my post on the Botanic Gardens:

Interestingly, Cheesman Park is located on the site of the first city cemetery. In fact, when they decided to move the cemetery in 1890 to build the park, families of those buried there were required to have their family members’ remains moved. Not all of the bodies were claimed, however, since some were paupers and criminals, etc. There was some kind of scandal about the company that was supposed to move the rest of the unclaimed bodies; apparently they didn’t actually move all of them. And apparently there are still a couple thousand bodies under the park today! So, when the Botanic Gardens was moved to the park, it was also on top of some of those bodies. In fact, when they were building a parking garage in 2008 for the Botanic Gardens, human remains were found, so the coroner had to come rebury them. Also, several websites I read in researching this blog post say that the park and Gardens are haunted.

It brings to mind the scene in “Poltergeist” where Craig T. Nelson is yelling at James Karen: “You only moved the headstones!”

More recent history: Obama gave a speech in Cheesman Park in 2014. And, as you might guess, the pavilion is a popular place for weddings. In fact, I saw a wedding party doing their pictures that day:

Plus, there must have been five or six quinceaneras there that day, too.

Cheesman Park refers not only to the public park, but also to the surrounding neighborhood, and that is technically part of the Capitol Hill area. More trivia: there are about 1,880 trees in the park comprising about 57 different species. The neighborhood began with upscale mansions in the late 1800s, though now there are also lots of apartment buildings. And all you singles out there: the area has more single/unmarried people than Denver’s overall average.

I recommend this peaceful, huge, green space in the midst of Denver as a relaxing place to unwind and people-watch. I might even go there today…

Photo for No Apparent Reason:

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