There are so many people moving to Denver nowadays, that it can be difficult to determine how long they have actually been in our great state of Colorado. One of the sure fire ways to determine if they are "homegrown" is to ask them to name the official city neighborhoods.
A newbie might name some such as RiNo, LoDo, or Ballpark -- this means they are wrong and haven't been here long. These are all fabulous, popular, and fast-growing areas, but are relatively new to Denver, and most importantly, NOT official neighborhoods.
As the city grows and old city borders obscure and morph into new in borders, one man has attempted to preserve the local history; Steven Chester is creating flags for each of the official Denver neighborhoods.
“I didn’t know it when I moved here, but the difference between neighborhoods is crazy — from the architecture and the history, just the feel of them,” said Chester, who started the project this past month.
A longtime Coloradan might be able to tell you that Curtis Park is the oldest remaining neighborhood in Denver, being in its boom during Denver's first golden age (from 1870 to 1893), or that Cheeseman Park in the Cheeseman Park neighborhood used to be a cemetery and is said to still have bodies buried there. Technically there are 78 neighborhoods in total, and as of today has created flags for 11 of these.
The flag above is for the Barnum neighborhood. This west side neighborhood is named for P.T. Barnum who owned the 760 acres which make up much of neighborhood. While violating some of the flag design rules, an exception can be made in this unique circumstance in order to honor the history of the neighborhood's original booster.
The gray bars represent the streetcar lines which made this neighborhood the first streetcar suburb in the late 1800's. The collision of the different grids of downtown creates the namesake five points intersection. The color scheme is based off of the colors of the Harlem flag, since Five Points was known as the Harlem of the West.
The blue is for the S. Platte River, the eastern edge of the neighborhood and the burnt orange is an homage to the colors of DHA's Sun Valley Homes, home to most of the neighborhood's residents. The blue/orange colorway matches the Denver Broncos, whose stadium looms over the neighborhood from the north.
The University neighborhood is home to the University of Denver. A potato farmer donated the initial 80 acres for the campus when the university decided to move its home from Downtown Denver. Completed in 1999, the Williams Tower at the Richie Center is the central icon of the flag, whose colors match those of DU.
Seven more neighborhoods’ concepts — Belcaro, Berkeley, Cheesman Park, Congress Park, Lowry Field, Virgina Village, and Westwood — are currently available at Chester’s website, FlagsofDenver.com.
He’s limiting the project to the 78 official neighborhoods, which means no Golden Triangle, RiNo, LoDo or other “unofficial” neighborhoods.
“People don’t even realize it, but everyone is passionate about flags,” he said. “We pledge allegiance to a flag. Everyone has their own ideas, their own favorite flag.”