Glen Huntington Bandshell

Glen old new
Year Listed: 2016
County: Boulder County
Construction Date: 1930s
Threat When Listed: Demolition/Move

Video courtesy of CBS4

For 78 years the Glen Huntington Bandshell has been a fixture in downtown Boulder’s Central Park; a place of community pride, public gatherings, and civic events. It stands as a rare example of Art Deco architecture in Boulder and is one of only two Colorado bandshells from the early to mid-1900s. (The other is the 1938 bandshell at the Mineral Palace Park in Pueblo.)

The Boulder Lions Club dedicated the bandshell to the Boulder community on June 26, 1938 at a ceremony that brought over 2,000 people to celebrate. The bandshell was designed by Boulder architect Glen H. Huntington (designer of the Boulder County Courthouse, Boulder High School, and properties in the University Hill neighborhood). The structure reflects an elliptical style similar to other bandshells of the period including California’s famous 1922 Hollywood Bowl and Chicago’s Grant Park.

By 1937, civic planner and landscape architect Saco DeBoer began designing the Bandshell landscape plan which was completed in 1940.  A strong promoter of the City Beautiful Movement, DeBoer served as Denver’s official landscape architect from 1910 to 1931. His Denver projects include the Botanical Gardens, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and Speer Boulevard.

Boulder residents demonstrated their commitment to the bandshell in the 1990s when it was threatened with demolition. A grassroots effort, “Save the Bandshell,” led to the site’s designation as a Boulder Local Landmark in 1995. According to the designation memorandum, the Glen Huntington Bandshell is “environmentally significant for its planned and natural site characteristics; as a component of the central urban park; and as an established, familiar, and prominent visual landmark for Boulder citizens due to its arched design, its location near major thoroughfares, and its amphitheater seating.” Boulder’s Parks and Recreation Department repaired and restored the structure in 1997.

Concerned local advocates strongly support keeping the structure in its original location, reincorporating and redefining it as a community asset integrated with planned events in Boulder’s Central Park. Under the new Central Park master plan, the bandshell is likely to remain, although plans for seating and Saco DeBoer’s designed landscape remain in flux. Boulder Landmarks and Historic Boulder, Inc successfully secured commitment to expand the National Register boundary in 2022. This is a critical step in preventing alterations to the landscape around the bandshell, which would otherwise set  an  unfavorable  precedent  for  other  landmarked  properties.454545

Additional Links:

Friends of the Bandshell 

City of Boulder Updates on the Bandshell and the Civic Area