City Park Esplanade

2551 E Colfax Ave

Extending from Colfax Avenue to Denver’s largest park, this quarter-mile long promenade exemplifies French landscape architecture principles of framed views, formal plantings, forced perspective, and cross-axial design. Attributed to Reinhard Schuetze and George Kessler, the esplanade was designed in 1905 and planted in 1907 but not fully completed until 1918. The north-south axis leading into the park was lined on each side by a single row of hawthorn bordered by a single row of elms to provide a sense of enclosure and create a visual screen for the adjacent East High School. Paralleled by dirt roads, the central axis was bisected by a footpath lined with 70 lamps and planted with flower beds and terraced lawns to reinforce the alignment at a pedestrian scale. The esplanade, crossed by 16th and 17th Avenues, extended into City Park, though a roundabout just beyond 17th Avenue served as a transition from the formal axis to the park’s Picturesque qualities.

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