Nowadays the streets of West Colfax are filled with shopping centers, healthcare facilities and commercial offices that blend with residences in this Hispanic and Asian multi-ethnic neighborhood. However, more than 100 years ago, West Colfax developed as the residential and commercial home of Denver’s original Jewish population.
Colfax long served as a route for travel and trade through Denver. Westward travelers used the Golden Road as a way to the mountains, meeting wagons of hay and other agricultural goods destined for Denver. With the turn of the century, West Colfax and other Westside neighborhoods were fast becoming the heart of a vibrant, working-class community. With immigrants from the eastern United States, as well as more recent arrivals from central and eastern Europe, the neighborhood of modest homes and small businesses was a distinctly Jewish community.
Today, West Colfax is identified by the Piton Foundation as one of the city’s at-risk neighborhoods, with residents who are younger, poorer, and less educated than those who reside in almost any other Denver neighborhood. But, as a recent study suggests, West Colfax is also a neighborhood of diverse households — poor, rich, and the degrees between — who have decided to make it home, and one local publication recently designated it as a up-and-coming city neighborhood. Light rail construction, redevelopment of St. Anthony Central Hospital, a new library decades after the closure of the beloved Dickinson branch, and the neighborhood’s proximity to downtown jobs and amenities offer the prospect of renaissance.
This history of West Colfax provided by Dr. Jeanne Abrams, Director of the Peryle H. and Ira M. Beck Memorial Archives Beck Archives, through the Denver Public Library. Read the full article here.
To learn more about the West Colfax Association of Neighbors (WeCAN) and their participation in the Sustainable Neighborhoods Program, click here.