The Lower Downtown Historic District (LoDo) was formed by an act of City Council in March 1988, with the intention of encouraging the preservation and vitality of an area that is significant because of its architectural, historical, and economic value. The historic status granted protection to the community’s historic resources and to 127 contributing historic structures that remained, as approximately 20% of Lower Downtown’s buildings were demolished in the 1960’s and 70’s. By enactment of a zoning ordinance, building height limitations were set and encouragement of mixed-use development was implemented as well as placement of strict design guidelines for rehabilitation and new construction.
The Lower Downtown Historic District: Where the Past Comes Alive
In 1858, General William Larimer built his cabin and named his small settlement Denver City, after the governor of the Kansas Territory. Within 20 years, his settlement had grown and the population in 1880 had grown to 35,629. In 1870, after the determined local citizenry had raised enough cash to finance the building of a spur of the Transcontinental Railroad from Denver to Cheyenne, Denver started in a boom cycle that would continue up to the Silver Crash in 1893. Today, over 23 square blocks of the original Denver is now know as Lower Downtown (LoDo) Denver.
LoDo District Today: Preserving and Enhancing Our Community
Today, though we continue to focus on the Lower Downtown Historic District, which forms the heart of the neighborhood, our sphere of influence and partnership network extends beyond the hard zoning boundaries into the adjacent areas of Auraria, the Central Platte Valley, Riverfront Park, Prospect, River North, Ballpark, and more. Those who contributed to its rebirth saw, in its old buildings, an opportunity to keep Denver’s past as a vital and positive force in its present and future. LoDo District, Inc. is proud to serve as a guardian of that past, and a guiding force of LoDo’s future.