Sullivan Gateway

Year Listed: 2012
County: Denver County
Construction Date: 1917
Threat When Listed: Deterioration, Vandalism
Status: SAVE

Located on the north side of Colfax Avenue near East High School, the Sullivan Gateway is an impressive and grand entry to the City Park Esplanade. Built in 1917, Sullivan Gateway was originally conceived by George Kessler in his 1906 plan for Denver city Parks. Strongly influenced by the City Beautiful Movement, Kessler was one the leading national figures in City Beautiful park design. Edward Bennett, a protégé of Daniel Burnham was the architect for the City Park Esplanade structures and his design is true to the classical themes and elements of the era.  The Gateway includes two 300 sweeping terra cotta walls punctuated by two, 40 foot tall freestanding sculptures atop Doric columns that represent early Colorado agricultural and mining endeavors. The sculptures were completed by noted New York artist, Leo Lintelli. A large central fountain is located in a semi-circular plaza and is accompanied by two smaller lion head fountains that are installed into each curved wall of the gateway. Sullivan Gateway was erected with funds donated by John Clarke Mitchell in honor of his friend and colleague Dennis Sullivan.

While grand in style, Sullivan Gateway was in seriously deteriorated condition by 2015.  The terra cotta walls were broken (including the top cap) in multiple locations and were continuing to deteriorate at an increasing rate due to the freeze thaw cycle. Plants were growing out of the walls and vandalism, including graffiti, was rampant. Fortunately, advocates for the site have successfully mobilized and a Master Plan was completed in 2016 by Bishop Mundus Design to guide the first two phases of rehabilitation by Building Restoration Specialties (BRS) which are substantially complete. Phase three is underway and has progressed sufficiently for CPI to declare it a SAVE in 2018. CPI worked with The City and County of Denver, Historic Denver, Inc., and local advocates to return this crown jewel of the City Beautiful Movement to its previous splendor.


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