From the Archives: St. Cajetan's Church barely escaped demolition

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Auraria has been around for a long time -- longer than Colorado has been an actual state -- but it's changed quite a bit since 1858. It started out as Auraria Township, a pioneer settlement that served as a popular destination during the gold rush; the root of the name comes from the Latin word for gold. The settlement eventually merged with the City of Denver, and the Auraria neighborhood became home to a large Hispanic population. It wasn't until the 1960s that the site became the home of the Auraria Higher Education Center, the campus that would serve three institutions of higher learning -- and also displace the longtime residents. These photographs, taken in 1977 by Jonathan Pite and housed in the Auraria Library Special Collections Department, give a sense of what the area looked like at that time. Pite was a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder, where he earned a master of fine arts in photography.

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Below is a look at the Tivoli in the late '70s. It's now known as the Tivoli Student Union, and has been used for that purpose since 1994; it was originally known as the Colorado Brewery. In 1901, a brewer named John Good bought the brewery and renamed it Tivoli, after the Tivoli Gardens in Denmark. At the time of this photo, the brewing company had shut down and plans were already being made to redevelop the building; it has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973.

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This is a similar view of the Tivoli from 2008:

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Photo by Jeffrey Beall, Creative Commons License

Location Info


Auraria Library

1100 Lawrence St., Denver, CO

Category: General

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A great story and photographic record. Although the Auraria campus is beautiful, the pictures remind us of the once vibrant neighborhood, culture and heritage. Their history lives in those wonderful photos.

Gentrification, highways, industrial encroachment and poverty threaten other historic communities, such as Globeville, Swansea and Elyria. Easily accessible from I-70 (one of the highways that decimated those communities) and worth the visit. Bring your camera.


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