Marshall Vanderburg, Director of Operations at Joining Vision and Action
In December, Joining Vision and Action completed its move from Sheridan Boulevard to West Colfax Avenue. Whether deliberate or by fate, JVA has for most of its years been located close to Sloan’s Lake Park. Originally at West 29th Avenue and Yates Street a few blocks north of the park, JVA moved across the street to the west of the lake in 2007. Ten years later, we are now two blocks south of the park, along Raleigh Street.
An intriguing element associated with JVA’s three moves in 16 years is that while each move resulted in being close to Sloan’s Lake, the locations were in distinct communities, each with rich histories. This is in part due to the unique history associated with Sloan’s Lake itself.
Documented in countless books about Denver’s history, the lake is not a natural-occurring body of water but an accident of homesteader Thomas Sloan, who hit an aquifer while drilling a well in the early 1860s. In the ensuing years, the lake became a center of recreation and commerce. Opening in June 1890, an amusement park called Manhattan Beach once graced the north shore. It was annexed by the Town of Highlands in 1891, and amusement park patrons could not imbibe spirituous beverages because of the town’s strict laws. It wasn’t long before commerce sprang up across the street to the west, in Jefferson County, to meet the demand, leading to the creation of the City of Edgewater. One block south of the lake, St. Anthony Hospital was opened in 1893. One block south of the hospital was Golden Road, the most direct road connection between Denver and Golden. Golden Road was renamed West Colfax Avenue in 1896. Along the corridor, communities and commerce began establishing themselves in the late 19th century.
West Colfax has a rich history as the residential and commercial home of Denver’s original Jewish population. By the 1950s, much of the Jewish community began to disperse to other areas of Denver. In the automotive age after World War II, West Colfax evolved as a strip catering to travelers, with motels, car lots and restaurants. The area’s largest employer, St. Anthony Hospital, decided in 2007 to move to a new location in Lakewood. The hospital site, encompassing six square blocks between Sloan’s Lake and West Colfax, was slated for redevelopment.
Photos courtesy of the Western History and Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library
After years of commercial stagnation, and spurred in part by redevelopment associated with the old St. Anthony’s site, West Colfax and surrounding communities are undergoing a renaissance. New residential development associated with the new West light rail line two blocks south of West Colfax is taking hold. The new Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Branch Library opened two years ago. Several longtime businesses such as Lake Steam Baths, A-1 Plumbing, the Rose Lady and Taqueria Mexico continue to thrive. New businesses have opened, a combination of locally owned shops and franchises. Classic Eats is a new deli, with Seedstock Brewery close by. An eight-theater cinema, Alamo Drafthouse, recently opened, with Starbucks and Even Stevens Sandwiches sharing the same block. Even Stevens has a unique business model, collaborating with local nonprofit partners to give a percentage of their sales to constituencies in need. The West Colfax Business Improvement District helps guide the way in marshaling resources and coordinating the corridor’s commercial and community activity.
Our New Home
JVA’s new home sits across the street from the old St. Anthony’s site in what is known as the Raleigh building. Opened in 1972, the building housed doctors, medical uses and a pharmacy associated with the hospital. The building was repurposed in the past three years to office space. In looking for a new home for JVA, we knew that being located within a co-working environment would be ideal. We found our home at Goosetail Spaces, on the fifth floor of the Raleigh building. JVA has five private offices, with the availability of open work areas and conference rooms. We look forward to welcoming our clients to West Colfax. We are thrilled to be part of the burgeoning surrounding community and, importantly, thrilled that we continue to be close to Sloan’s Lake.