Academics and Research

DU’s pictorial history to be published in new book

The first pictorial history of the University of Denver since 1964 is being put together by Steve Fisher, curator of special collections at Penrose Library.

The collection of photos is to be published by Arcadia Publishing and released by the end of the year, Fisher says.

“The problem is not finding pictures, but narrowing them down because there are so many photographs,” Fisher says. He notes that most of the photos will come from DU archives, supplemented by pictures from the Colorado Historical Society and the Western History Collection of the Denver Public Library.

While most of the book will reflect the evolution of DU, the topic is actually the town of South Denver and the University Park neighborhood, the development of which influenced and paralleled that of the University.

“The University is central to the founding and development of South Denver,” Fisher says.

The photos will reflect events beginning in 1858 with the settling of Montana City, a gold mining camp on the banks of the South Platte River near where East Evans Avenue is today. From that date forward, they will reflect important local people and events and culminate with the opening of the University of Denver light-rail station in November 2006.

The last DU pictorial history of DU was Summit of the Century: A Pictorial History of the University of Denver by Jim Norland, published in 1964 to mark DU’s centennial.

Fisher’s book generally will stay within the boundaries of South Denver, which extended from Colorado Boulevard to the South Platte and from Yale to Alameda avenues. But he plans a few deviations, such as including the original home of Colorado Seminary [the University’s legal name] at 14th and Arapahoe streets in downtown Denver.

It was there that DU first operated until the University moved south to its present site, which was both sparsely inhabited and saloon-free, an important consideration to the University’s Methodist founders. South Denver was incorporated in 1886 and annexed into the city of Denver in February 1894.

Among non-DU subjects Fisher plans to include in the book are Porter Hospital, Denver Christian High School, the Wellshire Inn, South High School and Washington Park.

Arcadia Publishing, whose corporate offices are in South Carolina, was founded in 1993 and is best known for pictorial histories of American communities in its Images of America series. The publisher’s Campus History series presently includes pictorials of 118 American colleges and universities.

Read about the history of South Denver.

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