Whittier's Historic Charm: A Beautiful Denver Blend of Preserved Architecture, Community & Culture
Denver's Whittier remains true to its heritage while staying current, offering a diverse range of experiences from jazz festivals to world-renowned beer
October 31, 2023 - By Rankin, Goulder, Kissinger
Above: This home, sold in 2023 by Rankin Goulder & Kissinger exemplifies the charm of the Whittier neighborhood (photo: Rankin, Goulder & Kissinger).
The city of Denver boasts several historic neighborhoods that offer a unique glimpse into the city's rich past. These neighborhoods, with their well-maintained architecture and vibrant cultural heritage, are cherished by residents and visitors alike.
One such neighborhood (and a favorite, we might add) is Whittier - a captivating historical neighborhood nestled in the heart of Denver. Named after the famous American poet John Greenleaf Whittier, this neighborhood boasts a rich history dating back to the late 1800s. Whittier is bordered by MLK Blvd to the North, Downing St to the west, 23rd Ave to the south and York to the east. Within those confines and its surrounding areas are a plethora of restaurants, local businesses and things to do for everyone. Here are some of our favorites:
Above: The Plimoth Neighborhood Eatery features a menu which rotates throughout the year (photo: Rankin, Goulder & Kissinger).
Whittier and its immediate surroundings offer a multitude of enjoyable gathering spots. Some of the best restaurants in Denver are located in Whittier or the neighbordhood bordering Whittier. Whether you're looking for local flavors showcased or seeking the most rare brews, keeping your outings within the neighborhood is both convenient and rewarding. Here are a few local hot spots within the neighborhood:
Plimoth Neighborhood Eatery: Featuring an evolving menu that always features fresh and current offerings, you may find items such as Cracklin chicken, Blackened Catfish, New England clam chowdah’ or Pumpkin spiced cheesecake on the seasonal menus. 2335 E. 28th Ave; theplimoth.com
Ephemeral Tap Room: A ‘rotating’ tap room, Ephemeral features “rare and sought-after beers from around the state, country and world – one brewery at a time.” For instance, Half Acre Beer Co. (Chicago), Prairie Artisan Ales (Oklahoma City), Brouwerij Huyghe (Belgium) and Outer Range (Frisco) are all recent features meaning you can travel the world in beer all while never leaving Whittier. 2301 E 28th Avenue; ephemeraltap.com
Point Easy: One of the newest restaurants in the area, Point Easy opened in 2022 and prides itself on offering a wide menu which may include items such as Swordfish Piccata, Pan Seared Bavette Steak and Pasta Bolognese along with seasonal flavors, cocktails, wine. Point Easy is open for dinners (excluding Monday and Tuesday) and open for Sunday Brunch. 2000 E. 28th Avenue; pointeasydenver.com
Above: Ephemeral and Point Easy are two popular spots in Whittier (photos: Rankin, Goulder & Kissinger).
PF Donuts: The neighborhood donut shop features a local taste of all the delicious items you would expect, and a little more such as the perfectly cooked cronuts. Stop in for a treat or coffee! 2855 York St
The Oakwell Beer Spa: Get ready to rejuvenate in a unique beer therapy room featuring a taproom and relaxation lounge! A 90-minute Beer Therapy™ Room features modern spa amenities including a beer bath, infrared sauna, rain shower and more. 3004 N Downing St; oakwell.com
Whittier Cafe: The Whittier Cafe is proud to be nicknamed "The activists' coffee shop" and is Denver's only African espresso bar. As coffee was discovered in Africa, it’s fitting that all of the coffee you’ll find here comes from various African Nations. Each Sunday at 2pm is an East African Coffee ceremony where you can watch the staff roast and brew in the clay pot "jebena" and enjoy coffee ‘the way it was intended.’ 1710 East 25th Avenue; whittiercafe.com
Above: The Whittier Cafe labels itself as 'the activists' coffee shop' (photos: Rankin, Goulder & Kissinger).
Events & Things to Do
One of the defining features of Whittier is the strong sense of community and cultural diversity that thrives within its boundaries and nearby attractions. This neighborhood has long been a melting pot of cultures, and its residents are proud of its heritage. The neighborhood is home to some beautiful parks and even a public library. You can see this diversity celebrated through annual events showcasing a range of cultural traditions, arts, and cuisines. Here are some highlights:
Above: City Park Golf Course (photo: Rankin, Goulder & Kissinger)
Parks: Whittier is home to Fuller Park, Frederick Douglass Park, Madam CJ Walker Park, Dr. Daniel Hale Williams Park and George Morrison Park each with a rich history and significance in names. For instance, did you know that Dr. Daniel Hale Williams performed the first open-heart surgery in 1893 and founded the Provident Hospital in Chicago - the oldest freestanding African-American owned hospital in the United States.
Five Points Jazz Festival: This festival is a free, all-day event held annually with almost 50 bands, 10 stages and performance spaces and 100,000 visitors. The 2024 event will be on Saturday, June 8th artsandvenuesdenver.com/programs/five-points-jazz-festival
Juneteenth Parade and Music Festival: This annual June parade kicks off the Juneteenth Music Celebration on the street in Five Points. The parade begins at Manual High School beginning at 11:00 am going from 26th Avenue on Williams St. to 26th Avenue and features a day full of live music, food and celebrations. juneteenthmusicfestival.com
Denver Botanic Gardens at York Street, in cooperation with the City and County of Denver, presents a wide range of gardens and collections on 24 acres. Learn more: botanicgardens.org/york-street
Denver Zoo: Lions, tigers and bears, oh my! Our local zoo features these and hundreds more animals for visitors to enjoy while also featuring events throughout the year such as the famous Zoo Lights during the holidays. Plus, ticket admissions support wildlife conservation efforts in Colorado and worldwide. denverzoo.org
Denver Museum of Nature & Science: Billed as the premier natural history and science Museum in Denver, Colorado and the western United States our local museum features exhibitions, a planetarium and lectures that explore the wonders of science. dmns.org
City Park Golf Course: The 18-hole parkland style course was recently redesigning while integrating a storm water detention area to help mitigate and reduce flood risks in surrounding neighborhoods. The course is LEED Gold certified, a rating recognizing achievement and leadership in energy and environmental design. cityofdenvergolf.com/city-park/
Above: The meticulously preserved moldings, doorways and stairs of 2900 S Vine Street in Whittier. (photo: Rankin, Goulder & Kissinger)
Whittier’s streets are lined with a diverse collection of architectural styles, including Queen Anne, Victorian, and Craftsman homes, reflecting the area's development over the decades. Not only do we love these homes and lend our expertise to the neighborhood, but we literally live here!
Above, see the inside of 2900 S Vine Street in Whittier, sold by Allison Rankin in 2023. The meticulously preserved moldings, doorways and stairs show off the character and history of these historic homes. Many of these homes have been carefully preserved with modern upgrades while maintaining their original charm and historical significance.
Our team specializes not just in Whittier, but the design, staging and marketing process to capitalize on each of these homes’ natural strengths. We compile a tailored list of recommendations for each property, encompassing decluttering, impactful minor upgrades, necessary maintenance work, and staging. If necessary, we can leverage our network of Denver-based contractors to complete projects and accentuate the uniqueness and strengths of each home from a design standpoint while considering the lifestyle of prospective buyers. It’s that Whittier lifestyle that we know and love and helps us to make homes stand out in this neighborhood.
Above: Allison Rankin and Natalie Esquivel prepare a Whittier home to hit the market.
With its rich history and a commitment to preserving its heritage, Whittier remains an adored and thriving neighborhood within the city of Denver. Whittier's historical significance is closely tied to its role in the civil rights movement. The neighborhood played a central role in the African American community's struggle for equal rights, with several historic sites connected to this important period. Today, Whittier stands as a symbol of resilience and unity, a testament to the determination and strength of its residents.
Historical neighborhoods in Denver like Whittier not only provide a glimpse into the city's past but also contribute to its vibrant present, offering a unique blend of culture, architecture, and community that make Denver a distinctive city to reside.
The Whittier Neighborhood Association contains more information about the history of this wonderful neighborbood as well as puts on regular events to engage with the community. You can visit at whittierneighborhood.org.
If you are thinking about buying or selling anywhere in the Denver area, reach out to Allison Rankin, Jane Goulder, or Amy Kissinger today! Whether you are a first-time buyer, an investor or a seasoned buyer looking to upsize or downsize, we have the experience, resources and relationships to help and we would love to help you begin your next chapter in the Denver area!
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