Gates/Cherokee Historic Assessment Report

Aside from Washington Park itself, the Gates Rubber site at 999 South Broadway has probably been the most important historical actor in the history of our neighborhood. Yet most residents know little of the site's true history.

The attached report is thus a must-read. As historical overview and preservation plan, it suggests that the "historic core" to be preserved should include Units 10-1, 10-2, 10-3, 10-6, 11, and 13. Preservation of these 6 buildings would "provide a connection to the manufacturing aspects of the site; convey the important elements of the site, such as connectivity and scale of buildings; impart an historic identity for the site; present a visual link to Denver's historic past; and recycle viable historic buildings."

Not only did this 53-acre parcel help employ nearly 50,000 workers throughout Denver, but its historic buildings and underground tunnels provided some of the more significant innovations in manufacturing history, including:
* V-belts (1917)
* Balloon tires (1922)
* Synthetic rubber belts (1943)
* Lead-acid rechargeable batteries (1973)

Gates was also a family-friendly place, with:
* A rooftop garden serving food at non-profit prices to employees
* An annual Christmas party, complete with personalized gifts for each child
* Employee profit sharing, averaging an extra 3-weeks salary each year
* State-of-the-art medical facilities free of charge to all employees and retirees
* The Gates Foundation, distributing 10% of profits each year to social causes

Learning about this history invariably raises concerns about what can yet be salvaged. As development plans near completion, the opportunity for preservation dwindles. What should we do to help save the important legacy which remains?

GatesHistoricAssessment.pdf6.8 MB
Submitted by Dave Grady on October 18, 2006 - 10:36am.