Colorado’s Historic Past is Being Preserved at this Lakewood Park
A unique park and museum located in Lakewood, Colorado takes visitors on a trip back through time to visit former businesses and homes that once lined the streets of Denver.
Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park is set up as a pioneer town with prominent buildings that have been preserved from the mid-20th-century. During the 1940s and 50s, Colfax Avenue was the main tourist route between Denver and the Rocky Mountains, and this park is aimed to represent that era. A fake main street in the middle of the park is dotted with vintage Art Moderne/Deco buildings, including former diners and residential homes that would have been seen while cruising Colfax back in the day.
One example is this quaint diner, which is now living its third life. According to the museum, the White Way Grill was purchased in 1948 for $3,300 and named after the bright lights of the nearby Fox Theater. It was originally located at 9842 East Colfax Avenue. Later on and under new management, the building became known as China Palace. Now, the diner has been completely restored by Heritage Lakewood. It even has a fully operational kitchen that serves up apple cider donuts at Cider Days and hot chocolate around Christmas time.
Another retro building that sits in the Belmar Park is the Estes Motel, which was originally built in 1948 and was situated at the busy intersection of Colfax and Kipling. The motel and its recognizable neon sign were moved to the park in 2010 but underwent six years of restoration before opening to the public for walk-throughs. Many of the period-correct pieces and artifacts that were placed inside of the motel came from the museum’s collection while other items were donated.
Ethel's Beauty Salon was the first former Denver business to be displayed in the mini-town. The beloved neighborhood barbershop was located at Alameda Avenue for nearly forty years and charged clients only $1.50 for a haircut. In 1998 the City of Lakewood acquired the salon and moved it to the Lakewood Heritage Center. It's since gone through a restoration process to preserve the interior and exterior of the property.
A newer structure to be added to the grounds is the old Peerless Gas Station. It's a prime example of a 1950s Texaco filling station that would have been found on Colfax Avenue. The original station was built in 1940 but the building is currently being restored and eventually, frontier pumps and signs will be added to complete the look.
An example of a former residence can be seen along the fake street as well. Imagine living life back in the early 1900s, as this Denver family did.
Visit Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park at 801 South Yarrow Street.