The Washington Park West area grew as a natural expansion in the 1880's southward from the original Denver settlement. The area had a good water supply (mostly artesian wells) for small farms and gardens, and there was an excellent view of the mountains. At that time the grounds surrounding the Platte River were like a park. When the land for the University of Denver was donated in 1889 by Rufus "Potato" Clark, more people began traveling through South Denver (which was incorporated in 1886), and building commenced in earnest. Many churches were built between 1890 and 1910. Lincoln Elementary School was built in 1891.
Several streets are unique to the neighborhood. Exposition Avenue was named after the National Mining and Industrial Exposition of 1882-1884 which was located at Broadway and Sherman, Virginia and Exposition. City Ditch (providing water for both Washington Park and City Park) was enclosed along Marion Parkway in 1933, and Buchtel Boulevard was built in 1935, both as WPA projects.
Residents have always wanted to improve the area. In 1886 citizens contrived to close roadhouses and saloons by imposing a $2,500 liquor license. The first improvement association, the Citizens Improvement Association, organized for annexation for the City of Denver (which occurred in 1892). Around 1900, the South Side Improvement Society met at their hall at Cedar and Broadway to petition for sidewalks and grading. Another group prevented Marion Parkway from going through Washington Park early in the century.
WWPNA continues the tradition of community preservation and improvement. For more than forty years, West Washington Park Neighborhood Association has meant leadership to our community. WWPNA confronts the issues of most vital concern to our neighborhood, issues ranging from zoning to transportation, crime to general livability. And in facing these issues, WWPNA always uses our neighborhood's most valuable and versatile resource - those who live and do business in West Washington Park.
WWPNA was founded (as South Central Improvement Association) in 1964. It is a citizen-based neighborhood organization for the areas bounded by Speer, I-25, Broadway and Marion. All who live, own property or operate a business within these boundaries are urged to become members of WWPNA.
In the coming decade, with Denver and the entire metro area poised for still more growth and development, it is more important than ever that we, as private citizens, work together to insure our future as a community. WWPNA is an organized, effective means to this goal. WWPNA activities are broad in scope and precise in detail. They are of interest to all. WWPNA members share a commitment to this neighborhood. Annual dues are $15 per household, $8 per senior citizen household, and entitle the member to vote and receive the quarterly newsletter. Checks may be sent to WWPNA at PO Box 9866 Denver, CO 80209.
General membership meetings are held in April and October. Be involved. Insure our future as a community. Join the West Washington Neighborhood Association.