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Context: An Auraria Legacy


Our Auraria Campus, seated in the heart of downtown Denver, is steeped in history and educational opportunity. Originally established by a handful of miners in 1858, the Auraria Neighborhood actually predates the establishment of Denver! [1] The tri-institutional Tivoli Student Union, built in 1870, was an actively operating brewery switching hands and making architectural changes through the 1960s.[2]

The Auraria neighborhood became a mixed use area, housing a diverse immigrant population alongside the mills, breweries, and manufacturing. In 1923 the family of philanthropist John K. Mullen donated their old home to the newly established Saint Cajetan Parish. As part of an urban renewal project in the 1970’s, the then primarily Chicano population was relocated for the development of the Auraria Higher Education Center. [3]

Saint Cajetan’s church, the homes on 9th Street Park, and the Tivoli Building still stand on the campus with the cityscape rising to the East, a juxtaposition of the past and present.

As we attend classes in pursuit of a better future for ourselves, our families, and our communities, it’s important to reflect on the people from the past that sacrificed and paved the way for our shared enrichment.

The melting pot that the Auraria Higher Education Center became is now home to the University of Colorado at Denver (UCD), Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSUD), and the Community College of Denver (CCD) creating a higher education experience unlike any other.

[1] “Auraria Neighborhood History,” Denver Public Library, Genealogy, African American & Eastern History Resources, Accessed September 10, 2018. https://history.denverlibrary.org/auraria-neighborhood.

[2] “History of the Tivoli,” Auraria Higher Education Center, Accessed September 10, 2018. https://www.ahec.edu/services-departments/tivoli/tivoli-history.

[3] “Our Parish’s History,” Archdiocese of Denver & St. Cajetan, Accessed September 10, 2018. http://stcajetan.denverparish.com/about/history/.


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