Neighborhood Spotlight: Sunnyside
A Brief History
One of Denver’s original neighborhoods, Sunnyside was formed in 1858 when William H. Larimer, Jr. waded across the Platte River and staked out the Highland region. Originally home to Irish immigrants who worked in the rail yards and smelting, by the 1880’s a large influx of Italian immigrants had moved in, purchased land, and established large vegetable gardens. The small, one-room brick cottages along Osage, Navajo, Mariposa, Lipan and Inca quickly became known as “Little Italy.” In 1896, after struggling to remain independent, the Highlands was annexed to the city of Denver. Sugar beet farming was introduced in the 1900’s to help boost the post-Silver Panic ailing economy. Lewis K. Perin, one of Colorado’s most successful farmers, owned rich farmland in Sunnyside, growing sugar beets and grapes between what is now 44th to 48th, Federal to Zuni.The recruitment of laborers from the southwest and Mexico lead to Hispanic residents slowly replacing Italian residents. Over the next fifty years, schools were built, streets were given alphabetical Indian names and chronological numbers, and streetcars became prevalent, replacing farmland with residential and commercial buildings. Today Sunnyside is a vibrant neighborhood with a very active neighborhood community (For more history and info check out SUNI’s website). Residents still take advantage of the fertile soil, with many community gardens found throughout the area!
What We Love
Sunnyside is a charming, friendly neighborhood. It’s larger lot sizes, old trees, and variety of home style make the neighborhood far from cookie cutter. Pockets of retails make the area a treat to walk around as you never know what you’ll find around the next corner. With events like the Sunnyside Music Festival, and the fact that you are always within a half mile of a park, it’s easy to see why people want to “keep on the sunny side.”