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  #1  
Old Posted Sep 20, 2007, 6:45 AM
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DenverAztec - Historic Denver Schools

With the school year beginning again, I felt the urge to post a Historic Denver school tour. In the late 1800’s, the Denver Public School system had as part of its mission a goal to become the best school system in the United States. Not only offering the highest salaries in the country to attracted the best teachers and professors, the school system also sought out some of the countries best architects to design hundreds of schools encompassing unique and incredible structures. The best designs came to fruition in the early 1900’s and most of those beautiful schools are still in existence as schools to this day, public or charter. Along with the public schools came the private early education schools, and colleges. Some were demolished and others have become condos/lofts but their elegance can still be found in almost every neighborhood in Denver today. I photographed below mostly public schools but did include a few of the parochial schools and private colleges plus some that became condo units. In 2000 Historic Denver received a National Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for its work land marking Denver Public Schools.

I had the privilege of attending two of the schools in the thread below, but as a child I did not appreciate how fortunate I was to walk into these buildings daily. But I do recall during the winter the steam heaters in the rooms and how hot it was in the spring without air conditioning. In most of these buildings, only the windows have been replaced and some have had expansion additions added. Almost all have marble floors and staircases, some with flying buttress ceilings in their lunchrooms and auditoriums and molded walls and ceilings in their libraries. Inside is just as beautiful as the outside. Here are just a few of the schools that run deep with history, imagined and true legends, but for me, wonderful memories. I hope you enjoy the photos and the structures.


Elementary Schools:

Denver Public Schools Logo








Valverde Elementary School – 1923







Wyatt Edison Elementary School - 1887




Smedley Elementary - 1911



Saint Joseph’s School



Sherman School, now Art Student League





Garden Place







Emerson Elementary School - 1884







Asbury Elementary





Berkley School - 1908







Edison Elementary School









Dora Moore Elementary School









Junior High Schools and Middle Schools

Lake Junior High School at Sloan’s Lake Park, built in the 1920’s (this is the Junior High I was fortunate to attend)
















Cole Junior High / Middle School – circa 1900









Horace Mann Junior High School designed by Temple Buell in the 1920’s







Byers Junior High School



Morey Middle School





Skinner Junior High School





High Schools

Denver West High School

Was originally founded in 1884 but the original structure was too small for the city's ever combining districts. The new building pictured was built in 1925 and viewed from Sunken Gardens built in 1907. West boasts the oldest established High School Alumni Association in the country. I was in the 100th graduating class, yes I am old.










North High School

Classic Beaux-Arts style structure, built in 1911.






East High School

Built in 1925 – Modeled after Independence Hall in Philadelphia by architect Robert S. Roeschlaub. Used recently in a video from the Denver band The Fray and as amongst it’s alumni Don Cheadle, Judy Collins, three members of Earth, Wind and Fire (Philip Bailey), Dianne Reeves, Hattie McDaniel from “Gone with the Wind” and Pam Grier.














South High School

The High School was designed by the architectural firm of Fisher & Fisher in the time's popular Romanesque style. Sculptor Robert Garrison created many of the building's adornment, including the 3 foot (1 meter) tall gargoyle above the building's main entrance; the symbolic protector of South inspired by a gargoyle at the Italian Cathedral of Spoleto. South's Clock Tower is thought to be a replica of the one at Santa Maria in Cosmedin.








College/Universities

Johnson and Wales University
















Originally the Sisters of Loretto Girls School, circa 1900, then the Salvation Army and now condos. Next door to Molly Brown’s house.





Clayton College Campus – Victorian Romanesque, Late 1800s











Regis Jesuit University - Built in 1884

















The University of Denver Campus, 1890





The Iliff School of theology at the University of Denver, built in 1892





















Chamberlin Observatory at the University of Denver built in 1890 and houses the famous 20-inch Alvan Clark-Saegmuller refractor telescope which is still in use today.







Loretto Heights

Built 1891, the campus has 19 buildings on 74 acres. It is now a part of the Teikyo Group and known as Teikyo Loretto Heights University. It is focused on international studies.












I will post other photos of the various historic Denver churches, government building, libraries and a few of the hundreds of historic homes in later threads. Thank you for looking, hope you enjoyed and I look forward to your comments!

Last edited by denveraztec; Sep 21, 2007 at 2:33 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Sep 20, 2007, 8:21 PM
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Wow!!! Beautiful. And thanks for the comments providing the history and architects of the buildings.
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Old Posted Sep 20, 2007, 9:23 PM
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that is a gorgeous array of buildings. Quite impressive photos and background....great work!
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Old Posted Sep 20, 2007, 10:00 PM
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These school are pretty impressive and thanks for the history of them.
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Old Posted Sep 20, 2007, 10:05 PM
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Beautiful! A lot of those look like university buildings. They seem to be in excellent condition too. I wish that modern schools were as beautiful, it says something about society's priorities then and now I guess.
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Old Posted Sep 20, 2007, 10:16 PM
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Great pics!!! I went to Morey for 7th grade and Skinner for 8th grade. Brings back lots of memories. Oh of note Morey and Skinner were the only two DPS JHS/MS to be built with pools.
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Old Posted Sep 21, 2007, 1:34 AM
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Thank you for all the comments! So true Flar, today's society is not so concerned with the educational systems as they were back when these schools were built. Just in looking up the dates of when they were builit, what came forward was concern, respect, appreciation and incredible dedication for the school systems. The belief that one can only learn the most from the best teachers in the best environments was very evident in their structural development process.
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Old Posted Sep 21, 2007, 2:02 AM
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What an impressive group of public schools. Thanks so much for sharing such a well put together, interesting and beautiful thread.
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Old Posted Sep 21, 2007, 4:09 AM
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Unfortunately, given the age of these schools, can you imagine the costs of retrofitting many of them to accomodate today's modern HVAC systems, not to mention the likely amount of asbestos and lead in these buildings?

The costs of upkeep and renovation on such beautiful buildings is one huge reason why Denver Public Schools is in such dire straits when it comes to its finances.

Sad, but true. Old, architecturally beautiful structures cost a LOT of money to keep up. Much more than new buildings.

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Old Posted Sep 21, 2007, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glowrock View Post
Unfortunately, given the age of these schools, can you imagine the costs of retrofitting many of them to accomodate today's modern HVAC systems, not to mention the likely amount of asbestos and lead in these buildings?

The costs of upkeep and renovation on such beautiful buildings is one huge reason why Denver Public Schools is in such dire straits when it comes to its finances.

Sad, but true. Old, architecturally beautiful structures cost a LOT of money to keep up. Much more than new buildings.

Aaron (Glowrock)
Denver Public Schools are not in dire straits with their finances. Yes the age of these buildings are not conducive to helping conserve energy, hence I mention new windows. But to remain landmarks, little can be done to the structures. Denver tax payers have always approved bond issues for our schools, (just like we have done for our stadiums, airport, convention center, libraries/art museums, and most recently the light rail system). This support is unlike many other cities in the country. Most of these old schools have had significant additions to keep them competitive. Since my graduation, my High School, Denver West, almost doubled in size with a new swimming pool, library and international studies building.

The current problem facing DPS is low attendance and low scores on national standarized tests. Teachers salaries are based on the national level, which is horrid, and the amount of teachers in each school is based on how many kids attend. Additionally, if the scores are too low, DPS has a tough policy placed on that school and district. The school will litterally close as a public school and become a charter school. Almost 30 schools were closed this year due to low attendance. The attendance issue is due to neighborhoods like Highlands where there are so many young couples moving in, without children, due to massive renovations of the victorian homes there. My friends in Park Hill would rather send their kids to private schools due to the lack of a strong emphasis on the basics as well as the arts.
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Old Posted Sep 21, 2007, 8:31 PM
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That's an amazing architectural collection, and Denver is lucky to have it. It's also a good thing that, should demographics in a neighborhood change, these buildings can easily be converted into something else such as condos. Can you imagine having to come up with a new use for the prison camp-style modern schools we build now?
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Old Posted Sep 22, 2007, 1:10 PM
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Quote:
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That's an amazing architectural collection, and Denver is lucky to have it. It's also a good thing that, should demographics in a neighborhood change, these buildings can easily be converted into something else such as condos. Can you imagine having to come up with a new use for the prison camp-style modern schools we build now?
It is a great thing that only two of the structures pictured are now condos, the rest are still schools. I would live in one the converted school/condos in a heartbeat as they have hardwood floors in the classrooms, 15 to 24 foot high ceilings and enormous windows. But you are so right that there will be little appeal in moving into and living in a modern day school in the future.
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Old Posted Sep 22, 2007, 1:54 PM
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I took swimming lessons......

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Originally Posted by navyweaxguy View Post
Great pics!!! I went to Morey for 7th grade and Skinner for 8th grade. Brings back lots of memories. Oh of note Morey and Skinner were the only two DPS JHS/MS to be built with pools.
...in that basement pool at Morey. Wow!.....I can still see all that tile and the lights reflected off the water. My buddies and I caught the two lifeguards laying on a cot together after class one day..the girl and guy were sharring this big towel because they were cold.

wonderful pics by the way, Denveraztec!
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Old Posted Sep 22, 2007, 7:24 PM
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Magnificent!
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Old Posted Sep 23, 2007, 1:50 PM
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...in that basement pool at Morey. Wow!.....I can still see all that tile and the lights reflected off the water. My buddies and I caught the two lifeguards laying on a cot together after class one day..the girl and guy were sharring this big towel because they were cold.

wonderful pics by the way, Denveraztec!
I am jealous of you TOTP and Navyweaxguy as I am a swimmer and would have loved a pool at my Junior High! I walk past Morey often as I live in Capitol Hill now and check out concerts at the Filmore. The walk past Saint John's Catherdral and Morey it like walking back in time.

Thank you to everyone for the comments!
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Old Posted Sep 24, 2007, 8:01 PM
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TOTP... I loved gym class on Fridays, that was the day we could pick what we wanted to do.. my friend and I always went swimming that way we could be in there with the girls.. lol.
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Old Posted Sep 25, 2007, 1:21 AM
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Wow what a great idea for a thread!
I'm surprised we don't see too many similar ones out there.

Great job on capturing some excellent beauty!!
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Old Posted Sep 25, 2007, 1:33 AM
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The Red Cross offered swimming lessons in the Summer....

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TOTP... I loved gym class on Fridays, that was the day we could pick what we wanted to do.. my friend and I always went swimming that way we could be in there with the girls.. lol.
.... So
It was either Congress outdoor pool...brrrr...(so damn cold), or Morey. So we all opted for Morey and it was awesome. I actually went to Hill Jr High at 3rd and Clermont. It was weird...we had 1800 students and no pool. I've always wondered why someone with money somewhere hasn't built another Sutro Baths or at the very least, another oversized pool like we had at Celebrity Center on South Colorado. I think the public would really go for another big public pool.

Its funny, but I will never forget the lights reflecting through the water off the tiles at Morey. I was sorry we interupted the two life guards after class. It was funny how they made us promise not to rat on them. We told him we figured he was just trying to keep her warm. He said "Yeh"
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Old Posted Sep 26, 2007, 9:26 PM
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I LOVED going to Celebrity Sports Center as a kid. That was the highlight of our school year(s). My friends and i would ride our bikes over there from time to time also.
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Old Posted Sep 26, 2007, 9:50 PM
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Such an amazing variety! And soo well preserved too!!
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