Baker is a neighborhood in Denver, Colorado, in the United States of America. The historic district, which encompasses 150 acres, is located in the northeast corner of the neighborhood, with irregular boundaries that range from within a half block of Alameda Ave. and Broadway on the south and east to as far as Fox St. on the west and W. 5th Ave. on the north, as well as within a half block of Alameda Ave. and Broadway on the south and east.
Denver’s Historic Preservation Commission granted the Baker Historic District its historic district status in 2000 as part of the city’s overall historic preservation effort. The criteria for inclusion included historical personalities who lived in the neighborhood as well as a variety of popular architectural styles, with multiple structures created by famous architects between 1873 and 1937, a period of significance in American history.
With a few minor variations, the same area that had been designated as a local historic district had been listed into the National Register of Historic Places as the South Side–Baker Historic District in 1985, with the exception of a few buildings. The term “South Side” was first used in the 1880s to refer to a larger area stretching from Cherry Creek to Yale Avenue, primarily east of Broadway.
Additionally, three individually-designated Denver Historic Landmark buildings are located within Baker’s boundaries: the Coyle/Chase House at 532 W. 4th Ave., which was the home of playwright Mary Chase, the 1st and Broadway Building at 101-115 N. Broadway, and Fire Station No. 11 at 40 W. 2nd Ave., all of which are located within Baker’s boundaries.
During the same year, William and Elizabeth Byers homesteaded a part of the neighborhood’s riverbank, just north of where James Beckwourth, a former slave, established his homestead the next year. It was in 1872 that the first neighborhood in Baker was laid out along Santa Fe Drive, just south of West Sixth Avenue, and it was not until the 1880s that residential development began to take off.
The portion of the neighborhood north of Alameda Avenue that became part of the city of Denver was annexed into the city in 1883. There are hundreds of 19th century brick residences in the neighborhood, as well as 39 buildings designed by William Lang, a well-known local architect. By 1900, more than eighty percent of the neighborhood had been established. The area was named after Baker Junior High School (now known as the Denver Center for International Studies), which had been named for University of Colorado president James Hutchins Baker, who resided in the neighborhood around the start of the twentieth century but was never a resident of it.
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