Jul 27, 2015
The former Welton Street Cultural Historic District got a bit of a makeover in the last week — new signs proclaiming its new name:Five Points Historic Cultural District. The change comes in response to the community’s request that Denver Community Planning and Development give the district this name, which better reflects the corridor’s longstanding identity and cultural heritage.
“It’s a change that symbolizes a lot to the people of this community,” said Brad Buchanan, executive director of the Denver Community Planning and Development Department, which oversees landmark preservation in the city. “A historic cultural district helps to tell the story of our city’s development, so it’s important that its name reflects the district’s true identity.”
In 2002, the City and County of Denver designated the Welton Street corridor between 24th and 30th streets a historic district. It was the cultural and commercial heart of Denver’s African-American community from the post-Civil-War era through the mid-1960s. Today, nine historic buildings from this era remind residents and visitors of the neighborhood’s unique origins. Last year, as part of an effort to create design guidelines for the historic district, the community requested the name change; it was approved by Denver City Council earlier this year.
“Residents in my community have long awaited this name change,” said Albus Brooks, city councilman for District 9. “Five Points is an iconic historic area that will now forever be preserved in the city of Denver.”
The district’s most distinctive building, the Rossonian Hotel, anchors the Five Points intersection. Historic buildings contributing to this district are:
1. The Rossonian Hotel, 2640 Welton St., c. 1911-1912
2. Atlas Drug Store, 2701 Welton St., c. 1889
3. Radio Pharmacy – Wise Harris Building, 605 26th St., c. 1889
4. Alta Cousins Terrace, 521 25th St., c. 1903-1905
5. Original Fire Station #3 (Hose Company #3), 2563 Glenarm Pl., c. 1888
6. Fire Station #3, 2500 Washington St., c. 1931
7. Douglas Undertaking Building, 2745 Welton St., c. 1890s
8. Metropolitan Investment Company – Equity Savings and Loan – Cousins Building, 2559 Welton St., c. 1925
9. Rice’s Tap Room and Oven-Simpson Hotel – KC Lounge, 2801 Welton St., c. 1895
“The pride of the community is reflected in the name Five Points, which denotes entrepreneurship, resourcefulness and artistic creativity,” said Tracy Winchester, executive director of the Five Points Business District. “With the economic activity we are experiencing today, these new signs will reflect our incredible past and inspire our future development.”
Why It’s Historic
The Five Points Historic Cultural District is historically significant for its direct association with Denver’s African-American population from the 1870s through the mid-1960s, serving as a center of cultural and commercial activity. Until the 1960s, due to segregation, the majority of Denver’s African-American population lived north of downtown, as well as in the neighborhood we know today as Five Points. The name “Five Points’ came into use in 1881 to describe the unique intersection of Welton Street, Washington Street, 27th Street and E. 26th Avenue. Many early social, educational and religious institutions were established by and for African-Americans in this area. By 1910, the majority of Denver’s African-American population resided in the area surrounding the Five Points intersection. In the 1920s, the Welton Street corridor in Five Points became the heart of African-American commerce and culture in the region, and was later dubbed “Harlem of the West.” As the Five Points neighborhood continued to grow following World War II, the area became the mecca for jazz music. Learn more about Five Points at fivepointsbiz.org/history-culture.
Where to Find the New Signs
New Five Points Historic Cultural District signs are posted at the following locations:
About Landmark Preservation in Denver
Denver’s landmarks and historic districts enhance the community’s unique identity, quality of life, and economic vitality. There are 6,600 buildings in Denver’s 51 historic districts. In addition, Denver has 331 historic landmarks. Learn more atDenverGov.org/Landmark.