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Neighborhood Spotlight: East Colfax

A Brief History

Colfax Avenue, named for Ulysses S. Grant’s Vice President, Schuyler Colfax, runs right through the middle of the East Colfax neighborhood. Located about 20 minutes from the City Center of Denver, the area was originally home to orchards and farms. By the 1920s, with the growing popularity of cars, Colfax was designated as part of U.S.40, a transcontinental highway extending from Atlantic City, New Jersey, to San Francisco, California. This designation prompted a plethora of new commercial buildings to pop up along the street. Interesting architecture and rooflines, as well as neon signs were prevalent in the area as businesses worked to attract costumers who were traveling along the road. Some of the original architecture and signs can still be seen today. The completion of I-70 in the late 1960s allowed travelers to bypass Colfax, which in turn negatively impacted the tourist based businesses along the avenue. At the same time, downtown Denver was embarking on the Skyline Urban Renewal Project – a 1993 Denver Post article explains it best saying: The 1960s and 1970s also were the heyday of topless bars and sexually explicit theaters. Colfax became home to many of them. Denver razed blocks of seedy shops on Larimer Street in 1967 and some of them were reborn on Colfax.” The area has sense been undergoing a revitalization and has let go of it’s seedy reputation.

For more on the history of East Colfax, click here or check out this great 5280 feature on the neighborhood!


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