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Berkeley’s Howard Chapel officially designated as Denver landmark

Designation follows a year of community dialogue and action on the future of beloved structure

More than a year after it was initially reviewed for potential demolition, the Howard Berkeley Park Chapel at 4346 W. 46th Avenue is now officially among Denver’s 349 protected local landmarks. City Council voted Monday evening to approve an application for designation submitted by Councilwoman Amanda P. Sandoval on behalf of the building’s owners, who support the designation.

“Preservation is about our history, our homes, and ultimately about who we are. This designation is a culmination of months of hard work and tough, honest conversations, and I’m so proud of this community,” said Councilwoman Sandoval, who represents District 1, where the chapel is located.

“This outcome is the perfect example of how promoting community dialogue can lead to mutually beneficial solutions for property owners and neighbors eager to save places important to the community,” said Laura E. Aldrete, executive director of Community Planning and Development. “When we updated our demolition review process last year to provide more time for community discussion, this is exactly the kind of compromise we had in mind.” 

Built in 1960, the Howard Berkeley Park Chapel is the work of architect J. Roger Musick and was home to Howard Mortuary, a cornerstone neighborhood business originally founded in 1917. The mortuary served thousands of Denver families and served the community as a site for farmers' markets, architectural tours, and other neighborhood events.

Its designation caps an ongoing community dialogue that began in the spring of 2019 when the previous owners of the structure applied to demolish the building ahead of planned redevelopment of the site. As required by Denver’s preservation rules, city staff reviewed the application and found that the property had potential for landmark designation. A group of neighbors submitted an application for designation that paused the demolition process and led to a series of conversations about the future of the site. A compromise was eventually reached that made way for a sale of the property to its current owners, who pledged to preserve and adapt the building for re-use.

In September 2019, City Council approved a package of updates to Denver’s rules for landmark preservation that included changes to the demolition review process to extend the process to promote additional community dialogue. Although the ordinance change did not impact this property, the conversations between members of the community and the previous property owners of the chapel served as a model for additional community dialogue as a path toward preservation solutions that meet everyone’s needs.

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BUILDING COMMUNITY: Denver Community Planning and Development (CPD) is responsible for visionary city planning and ensuring safe, responsible, sustainable building. CPD regulates planning, zoning, development and maintenance of private property in Denver. We're working hard to make Denver a great place to live, work and play! Visit DenverGov.org/CPD, and follow us on Twitter @DenverCPD and Instagram @denver_landmark.