Denver’s Civic Center Park was honored in December as Masonry Construction magazine’s Masonry Construction Project of 2011. Approved by Denver voters in 2007, the $9.5 million in Better Denver Bond funding enabled restoration of Civic Center’s historic Greek Theater, Voorhies Memorial, balustrade wall and Broadway Terrace.
Because of the hard work of masonry contractor Building Restoration Specialties (BRS) and many others, Civic Center Park was removed from Colorado Preservation Inc.’s Endangered Places list in 2011, solidifying the park’s status as an enduring icon of Denver history.
BRS paid attention to the finest details, preserving and re-using as much original stone and masonry as possible and searching the nation to find suitable substitutes for what could not be saved. In the Greek Theater, BRS retained the herringbone design created by existing maroon, red and brown bricks. Crews saw-cut around pavers and carefully hand-chiseled them to avoid breakage, cleaned them and numbered them by location so they could be reinstalled in the proper pattern.
The columns of the Voorhies Memorial at the north end of the park were stained by water runoff, graffiti and etching from power-washing equipment. BRS was meticulous in selecting the most effective cleaning solutions, and in some cases, carefully resurfaced the stone to release old stains, remove graffiti and provide a clean, fresh face to the structure.
The original rail and balusters were carved of beautifully veined sandstone from the now-closed Turkey Creek quarry near Ft. Carson. In restoring the balustrade, BRS replaced sandstone with sandstone to help maintain the integrity of the original masonry. To do that, BRS searched salvage yards to find sandstone from the Turkey Creek quarry or stone that matched the composition and properties of the original materials used.
“Denver Parks and Recreation stewarded this voter-approved restoration beautifully, assembling an incredible team of expert contractors and suppliers capable of restoring Civic Center’s historic structures to their original grandeur,” said Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, executive director of the nonprofit Civic Center Conservancy. “National recognition of this project is icing on the cake—affirming the importance, complexity and success of Civic Center’s restoration in a national context.”
The project was led by Denver Parks and Recreation project manager Mark Bernstein, who worked with several contractors to complete the historic renovation.
Architect/Designer: Nan Anderson, Anderson Hallas Architects PC