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Barry Matchett University Park Oral History Collection

 Collection
Identifier: M054

The collection consists of oral histories by residents of the University Park neighborhood in Denver, Colorado and recount life in the south Denver neighborhood from early 1900 to the mid-1980s as part of 14-year old Barry Matchett's 1986 Eagle Scout project. Residents relate the history of University Park including the trolley that served the area, grocery stores and holiday celebrations. The subdivision was platted in 1892 and the University of Denver moved to its University Park Campus in the early 1890s. University Park School, part of the Arapahoe County School District, was built in 1893 on the corner of East Iliff Avenue and South St. Paul Street. In 1894 the Chamberlin Observatory was dedicated at Observatory Park on the corner of East Warren Avenue and South Fillmore Street. University Park Methodist Church was located at South University Boulevard and East Warren Avenue.

Dates

  • 1986

Creator

Extent

1 Linear Feet (2 legal document boxes)

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 50 oral histories collected by Barry Matchett during 1986. The interviewees were all persons who lived in the University Park neighborhood, and concerned their memories of growing up and living in the neighborhood over a number of years would be lost. In addition there is a small amount of material consisting of newspaper clippings and other material relating to the neighborhood's history that was given to Barry to supplement the oral histories.

Biographical / Historical

In 1986 the University Park neighborhood was considered one of Denver, Colorado's venerable historic neighborhoods, full of stately homes and mature trees. In that year, 14-year-old Barry Matchett elected to earn an Eagle Scout badge by completing an oral history project with some of the older residents of the area. He collected 50 oral histories on cassette tapes. The subjects discussed ranged from the trolley that served the area to local grocery stores. There was a close-knit feeling to the community that was reflected in reminiscences about Christmas and Fourth of July celebrations.

The area owes its name to the University of Denver, which moved to its University Park campus in the 1890s. The area was platted and became the University Park Subdivision in 1892. The current boundaries of the University Park neighborhood are Interstate Highway 25 on the north, Yale Avenue on the south, University Boulevard on the west, and Colorado Boulevard on the east. University Park School was built in 1893 at the corner of East Iliff Avenue and South St. Paul Street as part of the Arapahoe County School District. In 1894 the Chamberlin Observatory was dedicated at Observatory Park, at the corner of East Warren Avenue and South Fillmore Street. The neighborhood grew, with a contingent of professors and administrators associated with the University sharing the neighborhood with other residents. Fraternity and sorority houses dotted the landscape. University Park Methodist Church, located at South University Boulevard and East Warren Avenue, became a fixture of the neighborhood.

Barry Matchett donated his cassette tapes to the University of Denver Archives so that they would be available for research. In an article in the Denver Post, he explained how much fun he had collecting the tapes, and that it was much more fun than learning facts from a history book. He hoped that his work would be useful to others wanting to learn about the history of University Park.

Arrangement

The collection is organized into two Series. 1. Oral History Tapes, 1986. 2. Research Material, 1986.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Barry Matchett, March 17, 1986

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Contact:
2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428