Title: BERKELEY LAKE PARK
Location Current Site: Denver CO UNITED STATES
Creator Personal Name: DeBoer,Saco, Walker,John Brisbane
Creator Assoc Person Name: Shideler,Scott
Creator Assoc Person Role: Photographer
Date.Creation: ca. 1879-1974
Subject.Image Description: Playground Near Rec.
Creator.Personal Name Label: DeBoer,Saco
Description.Image Comments: Park acquired in 1906 when Berkeley was annexed. Lake surface 33 acres. William H. Smiley library in SE corner. Irvin J. McCrary did landscape in 1920's. First public golf course in 1910. Park Recreation Center built in 1974.
Source.Acquisition Date: 2001-07-27 00:00:00
Subject Image View Type: Exterior, general view
Description.Subject Report: BERKELEY LAKE PARK, DENVER is part of the Denver Colorado Park and Parkway System designed by Denver city planner Saco R. DeBoer in the 1920's. The park was acquired in 1906 after the town of Berkeley was annexed to Denver. The rectangular shaped park is currently 82.9 acres in size. The lake has a surface area of roughly 33 acres, a little more than forty percent of the park. Residential neighborhoods border the park to the south and east. Interstate highway 70 runs along a small ridge and forms the northern border, and Lakeside Amusement Park is on the west side. The park offers fine views of the Rocky Mountains across the lake.
The entrance roadway to the park branches off to the William H. Smiley library in the southeast corner, and to a stair-step parking lot lined with Plains cottonwood trees. A single row of elm trees lines the south perimeter, and ties the park to the adjacent neighborhood. There are a series of open meadows throughout the park, which are separated by heavy plantings of deciduous trees for shading. The rectilinear shape and features of the park, combined with the circular usage pattern around the lake, mimics DeBoer's overall plan for the Denver Park and Parkway system.
Renowned entrepreneur John Brisben Walker first purchased the park site in 1879. He named it Berkeley Farm and built a residence on the south side of the site. He turned the swampy lake into a reservoir, and by 1885, had a racetrack circling it. Following the developing theme, a private family resort and dance hall were built on the south edge of the lake. By 1910, the property had been developed and improved with roadways, lawns, and various plantings. Most of these improvements were on the southern part of the site, so in the 1920's the north side of the lake was landscaped. It was done according to plans made by Irvin J. McCrary, a prominent landscape architect in Denver. Saco R. DeBoer is credited with much of the improvement to the site in the 1920's.
The tops of piers are all that remain of a boat dock and pavilion that were built in 1907. Berkeley Lake Park was home to Denver's first city golf course in a public park, built in 1910. It is now located to the north of I-70. There was a small warming house for ice skaters adjacent to the lake in 1912 that has been demolished. In 1913, there was even a ski jump in the park, but it too, is now gone. The lilies that are still grown on the surface of the lake are the only evidence of the two lily ponds that were installed in 1927. Several features that do remain from 1911 are two cobblestone restrooms, and the small scale Italianate pump house on the west shore of the lake. The Berkeley Park Recreation Center was built in 1974 on the southwest corner of the lake. Current recreational facilities include tennis and basketball courts, ball field backstops, soccer goals, a swimming pool, and a playground.
There are numerous features of the park that are no longer present today; even so, the historical theme remains. The park was and is a place for family recreation.
? Etter, Don D ; The Denver parks and parkway system. (Colorado Historical Society, Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation). 1986.
? De Boer, Saco R ; Around the Seasons in Denver Parks and Gardens. (Denver: Smith-Brooks Press). 1948.
Scott A. Shideler
May 8, 2001
ID Number.Former Image Accession VISC: 93008
Rights Description: Copyright owned by The Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate, and the photographer. All rights reserved.
Date.Restoration Circa: ca.
Creator.Comments: Landscape architect who practiced in Denver in the early to mid 1900's.
Creator.Comments: Originally purchased Berkely Lake Park in 1879. Turned lake into a reservoir. By 1885 had a race track circling it.
Source.Requestor Full Name: Lickteig, Lynn
Collection Name: Architecture and Planning Collection
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