Our Neighbors – Historic Baker District

Baker Collage

By: Tracy Williams, President TradeWinds Communications

What do the neighborhoods of Stapleton and the Historic Baker District have in common?

Both are diverse, dynamic communities located in the urban core of Denver, CO.

The difference?

While the Stapleton community was founded a mere 21 years ago, Baker was founded in the 1870s with 80 percent of the neighborhood fully developed by 1900.

Just six miles from Stapleton (and bound by Sixth Avenue, Lincoln Street, Mississippi Avenue, and the South Platte River) Baker’s history has played a central role in the history of Denver.

Denver socialites and business entrepreneurs William and Elizabeth Byers homesteaded a portion of the neighborhood’s riverfront in 1859, just north of where James Beckwourth, a former slave, settled the same year. Beckwourth was a noted mountaineer, fur trader and explorer for whom Denver’s James P. Beckwourth Mountain Club is named.

The first subdivision in Baker ran along Santa Fe Drive, south of West Sixth Avenue in 1872, and residential development took off in the 1880s.

Today, the neighborhood includes hundreds of 19th century brick houses and 39 buildings by locally famous architect William Lang.

In recent years, Baker has been revitalized with the addition of new developments and a vibrant nightlife and restaurant scene, much of it in anticipation of the redevelopment of the nearby (and closed) Gates Rubber Factory.

Those in search of fun after hours will enjoy the Hi-dive Bar, a funky bar and stage with inexpensive drinks and live music from local and national acts.

There are dozens of restaurants to suit most any palette, including and the Blue Bonnet Café and Lounge, which has long been a staple of Mexican food in Baker. The Irish Rover Pub, at 54 South Broadway, is commonly described as “a neighborhood Irish pub where old friends gather and new friends meet.” And the secluded, if not secretive Beatrice and Woodsley fine dining establishment is nestled between other retail outlets along South Broadway, although no external address is given on the restaurant’s exterior.

There is one additional common thread between Stapleton and Baker – Baker is home to the wildly popular Punchbowl Social restaurant, the same eatery that is about to inhabit the former Stapleton Air Traffic Control Tower. The second location broke ground in late 2016.

For a more leisurely experience, the Phil Milstein Park is the largest in the neighborhood and offers paved trails for biking and walking alongside the river, plus picnic tables and shade trees.

Dailey Park is the second largest park in the neighborhood and includes a playground, doggie area, several benches and lush landscaping.

Most appealing is the fact that Baker enjoys a number of qualities and characteristics that make it a vibrant urban neighborhood including a diverse urban population, preserved historic homes, and proximity to Broadway’s Main Street development.

Visiting Baker is like taking a walk through the past, while standing on the edge of the future.

 

 

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