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Capitol Hill, Denver

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File:Denver capital.jpg

Located in the City and County of Denver, Colorado, the Capitol Hill neighborhood is bounded by the major arteries of Broadway, Downing Street, Colfax Avenue, and Sixth Avenue, which carry large volumes of traffic around the neighborhood. Some consider the Cheesman Park neighborhood to be a part of the Capitol Hill neighborhood, but as defined by the city [1], Cheesman Park is a separate neighborhood. There is also a statistical neighborhood called North Capitol Hill, by the city of Denver, but identified in the minds of most city residents as Uptown. Colfax Avenue provides the border for both of these neighborhoods.

GeographyEdit

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The neighborhood is located just southeast of Denver's Central Business District (CBD) in a well-established residential neighborhood, with commercial centers located along major traffic routes (such as Colfax Avenue and Broadway) and interior intersections (such as East 13th and 14th Avenues). The neighborhood is directly east of the Civic Center neighborhood and the Colorado State Capitol. Over 95% of this neighborhood is developed. The average year of construction for buildings is approximately 1920, with some of the oldest single-family homes in the city. The characteristics of Capitol Hill are closely related to other east Denver neighborhoods, which include the hospital district and the North Capitol Hill neighborhood. Public transportation and city support services are readily available. Neighborhood Boundaries:

  • North - Colfax Avenue
  • South - Sixth Avenue
  • East - Downing Street
  • West - Broadway

CharacteristicsEdit

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Capitol Hill is Denver's most densely populated neighborhood. Having once been the home of Denver's 19th century elite, Capitol Hill today is a mix of historic mansions, apartment and condo buildings, and a large diversity of residents. Because of the concentration of multi-family uses and the urban character of the neighborhood parking is at a premium. Traffic during rush hours (Sixth Avenue and Lincoln Street in the morning and Eighth Avenue and Broadway in the evening) can be quite heavy. The area is strongly influenced by the Colorado State Capitol and Downtown Denver which is adjacent to the northwest boundary of the neighborhood. Commercial uses are typically located on major arterials such as Colfax Avenue, East Sixth Avenue, East 14th Avenue, East 13th Avenue, Lincoln Street and Broadway. A considerable number of mansion properties have been converted to office uses over the past several years. Office development along this route is typified by smaller-scale office development interspersed in residential developments. The development of newer office buildings and condominium developments is generally located further west along Broadway in the area known as the Golden Triangle.

CultureEdit

The Capitol Hill neighborhood is influenced by its proximity to the Colorado State Capitol, health care uses in Uptown (North Capitol Hill), and Downtown.

Capitol Hill is one of the most cosmopolitan neighborhoods in Denver, well known as a haven for artists and bohemians. There are numerous restaurants, clubs, bars, stores, concert venues, and other cultural amenities in the community. Along 13th Avenue is the center of Denver's punk community with the punk clubs, Cricket on the Hill and Bender's, as well as various stores that cater to punks. Colfax Avenue has a reputation for a wild nightlife with two concert venues (The Fillmore and the Ogden), and numerous late-night bars, coffeeshops, restaurants, stores and clubs on the street. During the day, lobbyists and politicians from the Colorado State Capitol can be seen making deals in the restaurants and bars of the neighborhood.

Capitol Hill is also known as a very gay friendly neighborhood and as a gay village with many LGBT people living and working in the neighborhood. The annual PrideFest gay pride parade goes through the neighborhood.

Capitol Hill is next to two major Denver parks, Civic Center Park and Cheesman Park. Both of these are meeting centers for the community; they host many festivals, including the Capitol Hill United Neighbors-sponsored People's Fair in early June.

Urban RenewalEdit

Capitol Hill is one of many neighborhoods in central Denver undergoing gentrification. What was once known as an area for young bohemians, artists and musicians (Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were former neighborhood residents) is now being redeveloped for more affluent citizens. The rents in the neighborhood have increased significantly over the past decade, and many of the cheap apartments in the area have been converted into more expensive condominiums. Aurora is attempting to attract many of the artists to new developments along its stretch of Colfax Avenue several miles east. Many portions of Colfax Avenue, including the part in the neighborhood, are undergoing redevelopment to make them denser and more pedestrian-friendly. Some neighborhood residents champion the changes, viewing them as making the neighborhood safer and more inviting. However, others appreciate the reputation of "Colfax" and worry that the redevelopment will discourage artists, musicians, and others that give the neighborhood such a unique flavor from staying. Despite these redevelopment efforts, a brief stroll along Colfax Avenue through the Capitol Hill neighborhood will provide a thorough glimpse into how the street gained its reputation.

CrimeEdit

Finally, Capitol Hill is also well known for its crime, particularly the common use of drugs and prostitution in the neighborhood. Colfax Avenue (though not just in Capitol Hill) has a reputation as a prostitution street, with many by the hour hotels along the avenue. Recently both prostitution and drug use have decreased in the neighborhood, especially as the population has become more affluent and police efforts have begun to stem the problems.

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