Tennyson Street: Once Again a Denver Destination
Revitalization is evident in this northwest pocket of Denver
Tennyson Street, in Denver’s historic Berkeley neighborhood, was a popular trolley line in the city dating back to 1893. Home to charming retail and bungalows, the neighborhood was home to some of the city’s most prominent citizens, including Mary Elitch, the owner of Elitch Gardens, whose original theater is still located at 38th and Tennyson. Elitch had a particular interest in developing the arts and cultural scene in Berkeley and her efforts resulted in the rise of the Tennyson street car, called the “Berkeley Motor,” which serviced and helped grow the population of homeowners and visitors in the neighborhood well into the 20th century.
As timed passed, the trolley line was removed, Elitch’s was relocated, and the neighborhood lost crucial pieces of its character and identity. What was once a popular Denver destination was ignored and fell into disrepair. People stopped moving into the district, businesses moved out and the once-bustling Tennyson Street was lined with vacant buildings and few patrons.
Following the 2008 recession and years thereafter, Tennyson Street still struggled to attract new residents and businesses. The city worked on ways to revitalize the area, including n a new streetscape in 2012. The renovations included new concrete benches, trees and improvements to Cesar Chavez Park. In addition to the infrastructural improvements to the street, the area was zoned for more density.
With careful guidance and conscientious development, Tennyson was given an opportunity to rediscover its character and charm. Within a few years, the street was revitalized and began welcoming new businesses, buildings and bustle.
Some catalytic newcomers included:
It’s a marriage of three brands under one roof.
Authentically fresh South Indian creations.
Rated one of the most popular men’s clothing stores in the city.
A funky barber shop.
Where the taste and feel of the Midwest meets Tennyson Street.
Wood fired pizza, homemade meatballs, taco Tuesday and a sunny, street side patio.
A convenient and health-focused market.
A buzzing cafe for a caffeine fix.
A Tennyson Street staple, dating back to the 1920s, this theater hosts a variety of live music, films and comedy shows.
Many new businesses have opened along Tennyson Street throughout the past three years and adding to the urban-vitality of the street is the recent sprinkling of modern apartment buildings. New additions include Tennyson 44, micro-units at Tennyson Place and the Colewood Apartments that are still underway.
The people who live and work in the Berkeley neighborhood and along Tennyson Street include longtime residents and business owners, new neighbors, millennials, professionals, empty nesters and retirees. Everyone shares in the things that make this part of Denver a desirable place to live, including Berkeley Lake and Park, art galleries, book stores, yoga studios, Cesar Chavez Park, Willis Case Golf Course, First Fridays Art Walk, and Berkeley Lake. Even the original Elitch’s Theater and Carousel are still around, providing a gratifying link between Tennyson Street’s storied past and emerging future.
Lina Valentine is the director of operations with Forbes Partnership.