Founded in the 1860s, Five Points is one of Denver’s oldest residential neighborhoods and was a prominent location for jazz, culture, and art in the 1900s, with some dubbing it the “Harlem of the West.” Located about a mile northeast of Downtown Denver, the light rail line runs right through Five Points making it a convenient as well as eco-friendly destination. The “five points” in the neighborhood’s name originates in part from the vertexes formed where four streets meet: 26th Ave., 27th St., Washington St., and Welton St.The other influence for the name came from the abbreviation of the streetcar stop that was located at this intersection. As such, it is known as the city’s first “streetcar suburb” neighborhood, bringing many firsts to Denver neighborhoods, including the creation of Denver’s first public park (1).
In the early and mid-twentieth century, Five Points shared many similarities with Harlem, New York. The neighborhood was frequently graced with performances from legendary jazz musicians, including Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, and Miles Davis. Many of these artists stayed and performed at the Rossonian Hotel. Westword, the popular Denver news source, recently wrote an article entitled “With Developers Jazzed about Five Points, The Rossonian Hotel Could Soon be Hopping Again.” Despite its current abandonment, there is still hope that this once iconic jazz lounge and sanctuary can become jumpin’ once again. Regardless, the mere effort to restore this once prominent joint shows how well Five Points is doing today, and the continued growth that is slated for the future.
Currently, the community hosts a number of African American cultural centers including the Stiles African American Heritage Center, The Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, and The Black American West Museum (2). The Stiles African American Heritage Center places a heavy emphasis on commemorating contributions of African Americans, celebrating their heritage and preserving their history, as well as influencing younger generations to go forward with nobility and pride. The Black American West Museum tells the stories of different individuals and their contributions as ranchers, blacksmiths, teachers, lawmen, and soldiers, all of which were integral to building the west.
The neighborhood also hosts various events throughout the year including the 5 Points Jazz Fest, a free event held every May 5th. The Juneteenth Festival is also celebrated annually, usually with around 100,000 attendees. Additionally, the area is home to some of the best BBQ, Caribbean, and soul food that you’ll ever encounter. A must-stop is Tom’s Home Cookin’, with its daily changing menu. Make sure to try the copper-crusted fried chicken, Andouille sausage, chicken gumbo, meatloaf, stewed collard greens, and peach cobbler if they’re available (3). Another destination to stop at is Rosenberg’s Bagels, which has found a way to “replicate the New York City water that makes their bagels one of a kind.” As such, devout customers’ have given immense praise, claiming it’s the “best bagel [they’ve] had outside Manhattan,” with many New Yorkers commenting on its authenticity and praising the soft texture. Aside from the bagels themselves, their dill cream cheese is also a huge hit, in addition to their white cookies. With its incredible food, music, and festivals as the heart and soul, the Five Points neighborhood is a great choice for singles and families alike.
Five Points – Real Estate Snapshot
Five Points/Curtis Park are home to some of Denver’s first turn-of-century architecture. The average listing is in the neighborhood of the mid to high $500,000 range.
Photo Credits: Johnathan J. Stegeman