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Old 05-12-2013, 05:04 PM
 
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I have heard stories about people saying that back in the 70s and 80s that the city of Denver was a very sketchy, run-down city with very high crime. That Lower Downtown was vacant, feral dogs running around North Denver and that Colfax was extremely scary.

I heard that even the towers around Chessman Park that the units were going for next to nothing because of the crime rate and problems in the area back then.

From what I have gathered from research into Denver in the 70s and 80s was that basically the city had some flight to the suburbs like many other cities at the time. I have seen some short videos showing footage of the central neighborhoods in the 80s and the streets seemed just as clean as now. Also, it seemed like there were some upscale devolopment in the 80s built in downtown Denver which I could not imagine being profitable ifthe city was that much worse back then.
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Old 05-12-2013, 05:43 PM
 
Location: Golden, CO
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I moved to Denver in 2006, but I have a friend who lived in Denver while she attended law school at DU, and she said that at the time she was living here (~2000-2002), the economy was poor and downtown wasn't nearly as vibrant as it is now. She didn't mention anything about crime, but when I was in the process of interviewing and moving here, she told me to make sure that there were other opportunities here that were in my field prior to moving, because she was concerned that I would move here and then get stuck if the job didn't work out.
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:11 PM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
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WAY back in the mid-1970s I lived on Tamarac Street just north of Colfax. Right under the flight path for incoming planes at Stapleton Airport. It was a poor area, but not scary. I'm white middle class female, and I never worried about living there. Five Point was scarier to me.

Nearly 20% of the buildings in LoDo were torn down in the 1960s and 1970s, so I'm sure that the area had a run-down, dilapidated feel. LoDo was saved in the late 1980s when the LoDo District was formed.
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:23 PM
 
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Don't feel bad, back in the 1970's even the big apple was in decay. IIRC Mayor Koch led a renaissance of Manhattan by first starting a clean up of Time Square to rid it of the seedy "adult" businesses there.

If I had to put my finger on one cause, it was a flight to the suburbs made possible by the automobile and massive highway building, a situation that allowed to escape all those folks who could afford to escape, as well as the businesses who were no longer tied to the downtown rail yards for freight movements. This left the core inner cities rather devoid of former vibrancy.

Back east this transition began shortly after WW-II ended and picked up speed as highways paved their way out from the core cities. I recall Baltimore hollowing out in the 1970's as some old factories burned down; many still standing today have been converted to rather valuable lofts for New Urban Dwellers (NUDs), a term I just coined here and now. By reading my stuff you get ground-breaking insights.

The worm has turned, people are now flocking back to cities, seeking "walkable" living arrangements. It's morning again in America, the NUDs are here.
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:26 PM
 
Location: Prescott AZ
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I lived in Denver in 1965-67 and again in 1970-74. Nothing the OP is saying about it being scary or run down or poor is true. Larimar Sq. was practically nothing. The east side had some crime and it was best not to be there at night alone. Colfax was sketchy but still not scary. I lived in the downtown area, then on west 6th Ave, and then further west near the mountains, and always felt safe. It was growing and becoming a real truly beautiful city. Was back a couple years ago and it looks fabulous.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:30 PM
 
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
7,142 posts, read 8,840,949 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midwestecon View Post
I have heard stories about people saying that back in the 70s and 80s that the city of Denver was a very sketchy, run-down city with very high crime. That Lower Downtown was vacant, feral dogs running around North Denver and that Colfax was extremely scary.

I heard that even the towers around Chessman Park that the units were going for next to nothing because of the crime rate and problems in the area back then.

From what I have gathered from research into Denver in the 70s and 80s was that basically the city had some flight to the suburbs like many other cities at the time. I have seen some short videos showing footage of the central neighborhoods in the 80s and the streets seemed just as clean as now. Also, it seemed like there were some upscale devolopment in the 80s built in downtown Denver which I could not imagine being profitable ifthe city was that much worse back then.
You post is about 95% exaggeration. But Denver did have its share of problems in the 1970s/80s though.

Curtis Park, Five Points and North Park Hill were classic ghettos. Lots of burned out abandon buildings, and you really didn't want to walk there. The gang problem made it even worse in the 1980s.

Chessman Park had a slightly high rate of crime. It was safe in the daytime, not so safe at night. The only feral dogs running around North Denver were the gangbangers and Colfax was never scary to me. There was just a lot of irritating type of people there.

Last edited by KaaBoom; 05-12-2013 at 07:47 PM..
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:49 PM
 
16,506 posts, read 20,901,804 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaaBoom View Post
You post is about 95% exaggeration. But Denver did have its share of problems in the 1970s/80s though.

Curtis Park, Five Points and North Park Hill were classic ghettos. Lots of burned out abandon buildings, and you really didn't want to walk there. The gang problem made it even worse in the 1980s.

Cheesman Park had a slightly high rate of crime. It was safe in the daytime, no so safe at night. The only feral dogs running around North Denver were the gangbangers and Colfax was never scary to me. There was just a lot of irritating type of people there.
Kaaboom has it right here. I maintained a condo in unincorporated Arapahoe Cty. "Littleton" (now known as Cenntannial) for many years while working on construction projects all over the state, moved to Mesa County in 1993. The Denver area certainly had some sketchy areas like the ones mentioned here. I lived nearly four decades in Denver and Arapahoe Counties.

And then there was Larimer St. It wasn't an uncommon phrase to hear high schoolers say "let's go down to Larimer St. and roll the drunks." Do a google search on "Denver-Larimer St. 1960's" and I'm sure you can find some items there.

A number of very sizable buildings were built haphazardly. I saw two of them burn down to the ground; Denargo market's main distribution point in 1971, the Stores Equipment Company Warehouse/Retail store on Blake St. in the late 1980's.

But like Kaaboom I went around all points of the Denver area and never encountered harrassment. As a youngster I lived at 44th and St. Paul. It was a mixed neighborhood but we never had any problems that I was aware of, except for the Ralston Purina plant east of us. Ugh!
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Old 05-13-2013, 12:07 AM
 
Location: Littleton, CO
3,111 posts, read 4,881,407 times
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While it was never as bad as some have made it out to be, Denver did have quite a few problems in the 1970s and 80s.

First of all, the Keyes decision which put DPS under a busing order led to serious white flight. The population of Denver fell from 515,000 in 1970 to 467,000 in 1990. Denver Public Schools in 1970 had nearly 90,000 students. By 1990, there were only 60,000 students left. The population of Jefferson County boomed at that time going from 233,000 to 438,000.

Oil built much of downtown in the late 1970s, but the oil bust in 1985 left downtown with huge vacancies. The loss of the large retail stores soon followed as major retailers (at the time) left for the malls in the suburbs including: May D&F, Neustetters, The Denver, Dave Cook Sporting Goods, and more.

LoDo was a very bad place to be during this time. Many of the buildings were abandoned and boarded up. Many had transients living inside of there. Five Points wasn't much better, especially with the arrival of LA street gangs in the 1980s. Gang issues came to a head when 74 people were killed (most of the killings were gang related) during 1993s summer of violence.

The poor economic times of the 1980s led to a real estate crash when many houses around the city were foreclosed on the federal government owned thousands of homes. House prices in the early 1990s were lower than what people paid for in the 1980s.

Denver made huge strides since 1990, and is considered to be one of the most successful urban renewal programs in the country.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Way up high
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Obviously I don't know the history at all of Denver but some people said where Belmar is now it used to be the ghetto. So glad I came in at the right time, lol.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA
2,311 posts, read 3,594,540 times
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I lived in the Denver area for 22 years with four years of that time spent there in the 80's.
During that time part of Denver's downtown like Five Points and parts of Capital Hill and east Colfax neighborhoods were always the areas to stay clear from unless you were needing to score some weed, drugs and or a hooker
Denver has never NEVER experienced crime and abject poverty in the city or surrounding suburbs like the traditional crime cities of LA, Chicago, NYC, Philadelphia or Miami.

Fast forward to 2013, many of the areas that were considered sketchy back in the eighties and early nineties are now gentrified and doing quite well.

For it's size Denver is very safe comparatively to cities of the same size.

Not being PC in this reply , I'm going to say Denver traditionally has been a very Caucasian city and because of that history of homogenization you simply do not see the institutional racism that other cities have always had to deal with.
That results in very little friction concerning what minority population does exist in Denver thus less desperation for subsistence and survival equaling less crime.
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