Denver Colorado’s University Park is often referred to as Observatory Park, in honor of the Chamberlin Observatory, the architectural centerpiece of the neighborhood.

University Park owes its beginnings to the Colorado Seminary founded in 1864 and reorganized as the University of Denver in 1880. The seminary originally operated in downtown Denver at 14th and Arapahoe Streets. Mrs. Elizabeth Iliff Warren, wife of Bishop Henry Warren, pledged $100,000 to the school if it agreed to relocate far from the “unsavory” influences of central Denver. The trustees looked at various sites and settled on the present location. The trustees envisioned University Park as a bucolic, educational enclave.

University Park was dedicated on Arbor Day in 1886 as University Park Colony. The trustees’ vision of an elite community surrounding the university began to take shape. Lots cost $150 each, and one could only purchase a lot upon receiving the recommendation of community leaders. University Park was touted as having unsurpassed mountain views, distant from smelters, with pure air and no saloons. A railroad and electric trolley provided transportation around the neighborhood. 

Chamberlin Observatory was designed by world famous Robert Roeschlaub in the Richardson Romanesque style and constructed in 1890 on the southern part of Observatory Park. The remarkable 20 inch objective lens for the Observatory’s refractory telescope was first used in 1894 and is still in use today. Owned by DU, the Observatory is used for astronomy classes. In addition, residents and amateur star gazers gather at the Observatory for scheduled astronomical events.

As the years progressed, University Park evolved from the remote enclave envisioned by its founders to a highly desirable residential and business area. Technically, University Park is bordered by Colorado Boulevard to the east, University Boulevard to the west, I-25 to the north and Yale to the south. Only five miles southeast of downtown Denver and three miles south of Cherry Creek north, the numerous parks, mature trees and generous front, side and backyard setbacks promote a less urban feel than other parts of Denver. 

The homes in University Park are very diverse. Over the last year, the least expensive home was $200,000 while the most expensive home was $1.4 million. During the same time period, the average home price was $693,000 and the median price was $765,000. University Park is quickly becoming a luxury neighborhood as older homes are razed in favor of brand new, larger, more expensive homes. 

With its close proximity to downtown, easy access to I-25, college-town feel, numerous parks and mature tree laden streets, University Park / Observatory Park is, in my opinion, one of the best neighborhoods in Denver. My family and I chose it as our home. 

Written by Perry & Co. Denver Realtor Erin Toll Glover.

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One Response to “Denver’s Observatory Park Neighborhood Is Something To Behold”

  1. 1 Denver Movers

    Did a move to that neighborhood not to long ago, clients loved the feel of that area. You are absolutely right about the diversity of homes as far as looks and prices. Overall a very nice piece of Denver. Good insights with this post.


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