La Alma Lincoln Park becomes 1st historic district to honor Chicano movement

Local News

La Alma Lincoln Park Rec Center and La Alma mural (Credit: Shannon Schaefer-Stage)

DENVER (KDVR) — The La Alma Lincoln Park neighborhood was designated by the Denver City Council on Monday as a historic and cultural district.

The Denver neighborhood is the first historic district in the country to honor the Chicano Movement, protecting buildings and significant sites connected to its Latino/Chicano community.

The designation creates the 57th historic district and the second historic cultural district in the City and County of Denver. The Five Points Historic Cultural District was established in 2002 and renamed in 2015.

“Our family’s house was built in 1885, and my grandparents Helen and John Prieto purchased it in 1969,” said Desiree Maestas, who grew up in the neighborhood and whose mother is among the district applicants. “The district effort is so important to my family because we believe in our Chicano heritage and culture, and our Westside values — the cherished relationships and memories.”

One of Denver’s oldest residential neighborhoods, La Alma Lincoln Park was established near the railroad and Burnham Yards in the 1870s and 1880s.

“When my husband and I first moved to La Alma Lincoln Park, a friendly neighbor reminded us to always include ‘La Alma’ — which means ‘the soul’ – in the neighborhood’s name,” said Felix Herzog, a La Alma Lincoln Park resident who is one of the applicants for the historic district. “This is what we sought to protect — the soul of the community — by designating a few streets of small homes that embody a working class life, the cradle of Denver’s Chicano civil rights movement and the generations who brought life into these homes.”

The neighborhood was a Chicano community home base for meetings, support and advocacy during the 1960s through the ’80s.

“Residents became interested in an effort to honor this heritage more than four years ago, and together we worked to research the history and the buildings and to engage current and former residents through tours, workshops and oral histories,” said Historic Denver’s Executive Director Annie Levinsky.

Signage and plaques will mark the area, including individual homes.

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