Athmar Park has become a neighborhood located in the path and along the route to other locations. It is situated west of the South Platte River, with the South Platte River as the east border, having W.Alameda Avenue on the north, S. Federal Boulevard on the west, and W. Mississippi Avenue on the south.
The eastern portion of this neighborhood was the southern part of the Town of Valverde. Both Valverde Elementary Schools were built on the south side of West Alameda Avenue.The area west of the river to S. Zuni Street and southerly to W. Mississippi Avenue,was annexed into the City of Denver when the Town of Valverde was annexed in 1902. Some western areas of the neighborhood were identified as eastern areas of Westwood at a time when South Federal Boulevard was only a local street.
With the exception of existing Valverde and the Mountain View Park subdivision,Athmar Park was farm land or a rural subdivision of Arapahoe County.
According to Valverde town records, what is now W.Alameda Avenue between the South Platte River and S.Tejon Street was the business district for the Town of Valverde.Alameda is a Spanish word meaning“Avenue lined with trees.” In 1935 W.Alameda Avenue was extended from Denver into Jefferson County — intended to be a parkway connection to Red Rocks Park. Before that time,W.Alameda Avenue ended at the old Morrison Road.
In 1904, the area to the west of annexed Valverde was divided into the ownership of three owners as part of the C. M. Stebbins Estate, as land owned by N. K. Huston, or as land owned by the State as “school land.”
The parcel of land owned by the State was bordered by W.Alameda Avenue on the north, S.Tejon, S. Pecos, and S. Lipan Streets on the east, by S. Zuni Street to the west, and W. Mississippi Avenue on the south. In 1946, in the largest school land sale to that time, the land was auctioned, and purchased by brothers Thomas and John R. McCusker, who were builders (Rocky Mountain News,May 4, 1946).Their subdivision was planned in four units or phases and named Athmar Park.
The area west to S. Zuni Street and south to W. Mississippi Avenue,was annexed into the City of Denver as part of Valverde in 1902, and later became part of the Athmar Park Neighborhood. Not all of the school land was developed for housing. Goldrick Elementary School was built and named after O. J. Goldrick, who is credited with Denver’s first educational development. Goldrick established the private Union school in 1859 to teach the small number of children in the early community.
By the year 1932, the Mountain View Park subdivision had been developed. Located west of S. Zuni Street, it was annexed by Denver in 1943.This new subdivision numbering had started with 2000 at Alcott Street.Although this did not fit with existing numbers along W.Alameda Avenue, the numbering was never adjusted to follow sequentially from Denver to the east, with the result that street numbers between S. Tejon Street and S. Federal Boulevard do not match. Undeveloped area to the south of this housing development continued to be part of Arapahoe County.The Brooks Dairy Farm was to the west, and the
homestead farm house and some out-buildings were still located as recently as 1998 on the southwest corner of the S. Federal Boulevard and W.Kentucky Avenue.These buildings were demolished to redevelop the property.
With few exceptions, residential areas of the Athmar Park neighborhood are bordered by and adjacent to commercial/industrial development. Between 1956 and 1960 land use on the neighborhood edges changed from residential use to industrial, business, or increased business use. Some of the area to the
south and east of the W.Alameda Avenue/S. Zuni Street intersection was set aside for a shopping center, and became Alameda Square.The “other shopping center”Athmar Park Shopping Center broke ground in 1954 with Miller’s Super Market as its anchor store (Denver Post,April 12, 1954).
On June 16, 1965 the “Worst Natural Disaster in Denver’s History” occurred. On that day the South Platte River flooded parts of Southwest Denver, including areas west of the present course of the river in what is now the Athmar Park neighborhood industrial areas and W.Alameda Avenue commercial areas. Although area homes and businesses were destroyed in the flood, the community pulled together under the leadership of Valverde Presbyterian Church Minister Kent O. Mills.The Valverde Presbyterian Church, now the Valverde Community Church,was organized in 1891. It had previously been located at the W.Virginia Avenue/S. Navajo Street intersection, but had moved to higher ground on S.Tejon Street in 1956, and was out of the reach of the flood waters. Reverend Mills organized his congregation and opened the church
to provide a base for centralized flood relief and emergency assistance operations.
In 1998 some of the older residents gathered to remember the history of the neighborhood and to identify the location of the landmarks and buildings they remember.These residents bought their first houses in Athmar Park and lived through the flood of 1965.
The neighborhood was named after the residential subdivisions in the center, on what had been state school land, but there is some mystery as to the source of the name “Athmar.” According to Ivan Rosenberg, Publisher of the Herald Dispatch,“Athmar” is composed of the first letters of the first names of Mrs. Perlmutter and Mrs. Burt, whose husbands purchased and built on the land north of West Mississippi Avenue
Take from www.denvergov.com