Downtown Denver Block Numbers

Here's an explanation and historical overview of the Block Numbers used to identify the different blocks found throughout the Downtown Main Map section.

Where Do the Block Numbers Come From? The block numbers used on DenverInfill.com to identify the different Downtown blocks are the actual block numbers assigned at the time of the original platting of Denver's streets and subdivisions in the 1800s, and used today in the legal descriptions of parcels found on those blocks.  Since the blocks that eventually became the Downtown Denver of today were originally formed as parts of different town plats and subdivisions, the numbers of the blocks profiled on this site appear somewhat without order.

The Congressional Grant. The blocks found within the "diagonal grid" part of Downtown were platted as part of the two original settlements founded in 1858 at the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River: Auraria and Denver City.  Auraria, located on the west side of Cherry Creek, laid out its streets parallel with Cherry Creek which runs roughly in a SE-NW direction.  Denver City, located on the east side of Cherry Creek, laid out its streets parallel with the South Platte River which runs roughly in a SW-NE direction.  Since Cherry Creek flows into the South Platte at roughly a 90 degree angle, the two street grids, when viewed together, appear almost as a single diagonal street system.  In 1860, Auraria and Denver City merged and was renamed Denver, with the original Auraria plat becoming known as West Denver and the original Denver City plat becoming known as East Denver. 

In 1864, Congress officially recognized the land claim of Denver by granting clear title to 960 acres of the diagonally-platted town.  This territory, known as the Congressional Grant, was bounded by what is today Broadway on the east, West Colfax Avenue on the south, Zuni Street on the west, and West 26th Avenue on the north.  While Denver's diagonally-platted street grid extended beyond the boundaries of the Congressional Grant on paper, only in the northeastern part of the community (in what today is Northeast Downtown and the Curtis Park neighborhood) had streets already been physically constructed beyond the grant's boundary -- in this case, east of Broadway.  By the time development had reached to beyond the grant's boundaries in the other directions, the streets and blocks were replatted to follow the more logical N-S-E-W grid orientation. 

The Block Numbers Without a Letter. The blocks profiled on this website with a three-digit block number and no letter appended at the end are those blocks that were part of either the original East Denver (Denver City) or West Denver (Auraria) diagonal plats.  In fact, all of these blocks were part of the original East Denver plat except for Blocks 240, 241, and 242 which, being west of Cherry Creek, were part of the original West Denver plat.  These blocks are included since the western boundary of Downtown as defined on this website, Speer Boulevard, veers west of Cherry Creek at approximately Larimer Street.  Additionally, there are several blocks in Lower Downtown that, while part of the original East Denver plat, were assigned (for reasons unknown to DenverInfill.com) a block letter instead of a block number.  Of those, the blocks profiled on this website are Blocks A, B, C, D and E.  Also assigned a letter but found outside this site's Downtown boundary in the area north of Union Station are Blocks F, G and H. 

The Block Numbers With a Letter. The block numbers with a letter added at the end identify those blocks platted as part of a subdivision outside of the original East Denver or West Denver diagonal plats.  When a new subdivision was platted, the block numbers assigned would typically begin with the number "1" and count up from there. Since there are several of these subdivisions within the DenverInfill.com boundaries for Downtown, the first letter of the subdivision name has been added after the block number to uniquely identify these blocks that share a block number in common.  These four areas are:

H. C. Brown's Addition and H. C. Brown's Second Addition.  Henry C. Brown platted the area east of Broadway, south of East 20th Avenue, and north of East Colfax Avenue in 1868 as "H. C. Brown's Addition to Denver, Colorado."  In 1877, he platted "H. C. Brown's Second Addition to Denver, Colorado" south of his first addition in the area east of Broadway and south of East Colfax Avenue.  The two-block site currently occupied by the Colorado State Capitol between East Colfax and East 14th Avenues and between Lincoln and Grant Streets is shown on Brown's Second Addition plat map as an unnumbered single block.  He intentionally platted it as such with plans to donate the block to the state of Colorado as the site for a future state capitol building.  On this website, this double block is simply labeled as "Capitol."  All blocks within Brown's original or second additions are numbered with a "B" appended at the end.

Evans Addition.  John Evans platted the area west of Broadway, south of West Colfax Avenue, and east of Delaware Street in 1875 as "Evans Addition to the City of Denver."  Previously from 1862 to 1865, Mr. Evans served as the Territorial Governor of Colorado. All blocks within the Evans Addition are numbered with an "E" appended at the end.

Witter's First Addition.  Daniel Witter platted the area west of Delaware Street and south of West Colfax Avenue in 1868 as Witter's First Addition.  All blocks within Witter's First Addition are numbered with a "W" appended at the end.

Hoyt & Robinson's Addition.  George E. Hoyt and William G. Robinson platted an irregularly-shaped area north of 19th and Wynkoop in 1871 as "Hoyt & Robinson's Addition to Denver."  As is evident from the Lower Downtown subarea map, there is only one block profiled in this area with a letter as part of the block number (Block 001-H), indicating it was platted separately from the original East or West Denver plats. This is due to the fact that the northern boundary of the Congressional Grant cut across the northern tip of Blocks C and D, resulting in the block bounded by Wynkoop, 19th, Wewatta, and 20th Streets positioned north of the grant's boundary and, therefore, being platted separately.  Actually, only a wedge-shaped section of Block 001-H was platted as Block 1 by Hoyt and Robinson.  An additional odd-shaped piece of this block was platted as part of Block 7 of Gaston's Addition of 1873, with the balance of the block not being platted at all, but consisting of territory labeled only as "Railroad Lands."  Nevertheless, Hoyt & Robinson, the first to plat a portion of this block, get their name used for DenverInfill.com block-labeling purposes; thus, the "H" for "Hoyt" appended at the end of the block number.

One final note: many of the diagonal blocks east of Broadway in Northeast Downtown were ultimately developed as additions or subdivisions to the city but, being part of the original diagonal grid established as part of the East Denver plat, the block numbers assigned were the same as those from the East Denver plat.  As a result, it became unnecessary to append a letter to the end of a block number since the original numbering scheme was maintained. 

Plat Maps. Electronic copies of the original plat maps covering most of the Downtown area are available from the menu on the left.  The various subdivision additions as well as portions of the East Denver plat were often recorded on separate pages, resulting in several images just to cover one subdivision addition.  These images were all obtained through the City of Denver's website at www.denvergov.org/Subdivisions_surveys/ (then select "Subdivision Information"), an excellent resource for those interested in the history of the physical development of Denver.

Source Material. In addition to the plat maps, additional factual and historical information presented on this page was gleaned from these publications:

  • Denver Streets, by Phil Goodstein, New Social Publications, 1994

  • Denver: A Pictorial History (3rd Edition), by William C. Jones and Kenton Forrest, Colorado Railroad Historical Foundation, Inc., 1993

  • Denver: Mining Camp to Metropolis, by Stephen J. Leonard and Thomas J. Noel, University Press of Colorado, 1990

All of these excellent books are currently available at Denver-area bookstores.

 

 

Congressional
Grant

 

 

East Denver east of Broadway (north)

 

 

East Denver east of Broadway (south)

 

 

H.C. Brown's
Addition

 

 

H.C. Brown's
Second Addition

 

 

Evans Addition
(north)

 

 

Evans Addition
(south)

 

 

Witter's First Addition (north)

 

 

Witter's First Addition (south)

 

  Hoyt & Robinson's Addition  
  Gaston's
Addition
 
 

The plat maps above are provided in PDF format.  The largest file is the Congressional Grant at 1.3 mb. The other plat map files range from 100 kb to 650 kb in size.  The original files available from the city's website are in TIF format and are at a much higher resolution.

 
         
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