Monday, April 20, 2015

Globeville - Doors Open Denver 2015

Doors Open Denver, presented by the Denver Architectural Foundation, is the premier event showcasing Denver's unique urban fabric.
Denver Auditor and Globeville advocate, Dennis Gallagher, will be leading a tour on Sunday Sunday, April 26th, Old Slavic North Denver - the Globeville Neighborhood, which is already sold out. But you could hang around St Joseph's Polish Catholic Church at 46th and Pennsylvania about 3:00 pm and join the throng who signed up for the Gallagher tour. 

The tour begins here at St. Joseph's Polish Catholic Church, which was constructed in 1902 (by many of the people who had attended Transfiguration, built in 1898, as well as by many Slovenians and Croatians). The parish struggled as Poles moved away from Globeville after the construction of I-25 and I-70, but enjoyed increase membership after the fall of Communism in 1989, and the papacy of John Paul II brought newcomers from PolandSt. Joseph's is proud of its "Polishness" with ethnic food events, lessons in the Polish language and performances by the Krakowiacy Polish dancers. The church is listed on the National Register of Historic properties (1983 - 5DV.782).

The oldest of Globeville's three Slavic churches is Holy Transfiguration of Christ Cathedral, founded in 1898 by immigrants from the Carpatho-Russian region of Eastern Europe. Working 12 hours a day, six days a week in Globeville's smelters, these families mortgaged their homes to purchase lots and build their temple. The church glows with icons and has a rich, complicated history, which Dennis Gallagher will enthusiastically recite. Holy Transfiguration received state historic designation in 1997 - 5DV.782, and today enjoys a diverse and active congregation.

Holy Rosary Parish was built by Slovenian and Croatian immigrants, who attended St. Joseph's Church even while they were saving money to build their own parish (leading to some hard feelings when Slovenians and Croatians didn't contribute to the parish - Dennis will enlighten attendees) Ground was broken in March 1919 and the church was dedicated on July 4, 1920. Today's parish consists of the descendants of the Slavic founders, as well as a robust Hispanic congregation. Holy Rosary received state historic designation in March 1999 - 5DV.349.

Info: Dennis Gallagher, 303-477-7089or

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dennis Sheedy

“…among the men who have witnessed and aided in an empire’s development the like of which will never be seen again.” This florid description in Jerome Smiley’s 1901 History of Denver applies to Dennis Sheedy,  a recognized leader in several business ventures in Colorado and the man responsible for the success of the Globe Smelter. 1.
Born in Ireland in 1846, Sheedy moved with his family to the United States when he was a small child, first to Massachusetts, then Iowa. In 1858, his brother, sister, and father died, leaving him the sole support of his mother and surviving sister, Ellen. He attended school during the winter months and worked the rest of the year at a general store, “acquiring a practical knowledge of business.” 
In 1863, at the age of 17, Sheedy came to the young city of Denver and found work in a general store. By 1868, he had saved enough money to move to the Montana Territory, set up his own wholesale grocery and begin buying and selling cattle in Wyoming, Texas, California, Kansas, Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico. By 1882, Sheedy had made a fortune, married Katherine V. Ryan, daughter of a prominent Leavenworth businessman and returned to Denver to settle permanently. 
Success in business led to other opportunities. Sheedy acquired an interest in the Colorado National Bank, becoming a director, and then, in January 1886, vice president. When the bank became concerned about losing their investments in the Holden Smelter in 1889, Sheedy was elected to take over as the President and General Manager, reorganizing, renaming the company the Globe Smelting and Refining Company and turning the business into one of the most successful smelters in the country.
Sheedy’s success in transforming the Globe may have put him in a position to rescue the McNamara Dry Goods Company, which had gone bankrupt during the Silver Panic of 1893. Sheedy’s experience in merchandising led to his being named the president of the re-organized Denver Dry Goods Company in 1894. Once again profitable, the store built a six-story building designed by architect Frank Edbrooke, on the corner of California and Fifteenth Street in downtown Denver. 
Sheedy contributed generously to many Catholic institutions, including St. Joseph's Hospital and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and to many other civic causes. On October 16, 1923, at the age of 77, Dennis Sheedy passed away at his home from pneumonia and is buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Wheat Ridge.
Photo Denver Public Library
The Sheedy mansion at 11th and Grant was built in 1892.
Photo ® Mary Lou Egan
1. Smiley, Jerome C., History of Denver, Denver, Colorado. 
The Times-Sun Publishing Company, 1901, page 562

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Old time medicine

Illness was a threat to the immigrant families in Globeville. Many immigrants were somewhat suspicious of doctors, had little money and spoke limited English, so it was up to the mother to do the nursing when a member of the family was sick. Mustard plasters, a paste made from mustard seed and encased in a cloth coating, were used to treat bronchitis, pneumonia, chest congestion and wounds. Healing techniques brought from the Old Country, such as strong tea brewed from sage, chamomile or yarrow were given to those suffering from indigestion, nausea or sluggishness. Ear aches were treated with a sock filled with oats, heated in the oven and applied to the ear. Kerosene, menthol, and the ever dependable whiskey and honey were also useful remedies.
If these methods were not effective enough, medicines could be purchased at the Globe Pharmacy or Harry Heck's Drug Store. Balsamea, a tonic expectorant, promised relief from bronchial colds, chronic bronchitis, croup and hoarseness - for 50 cents. The Martinitz Remedy Company at 3036 Humboldt in Elyria made liniments, cough remedies, formulas that purified the blood and a wonder salve. To appeal to the immigrant population, the company's ad was written in both Slovenian and English. A belief in these methods probably aided in their effectiveness.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas lights in Globeville

The homes are modest, but Globeville's expression of Christmas is joyous, exuberant and sincere.  Strings of lights grace porches, trees and fences, wreathes and banners welcome visitors and hand-crafted nativity displays honor the birth of Christ. Globeville's lights can best be appreciated by walking the neighborhood.

4535 Sherman Street

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Father John A. Canjar

Humble circumstances, an immigrant community and a faith-filled family provided the environment that nurtured Father John Canjar. Born June 24, 1921 in Globeville, the sixth of 10 children of a Croatian immigrant, Frank Canjar and his wife Mary (Boytz) Canjar, John Canjar attended Holy Rosary Grade School, Annunciation High School, and St. Thomas Seminary in Denver. Father Canjar was ordained on June 4, 1949 and served at Holy Ghost, Holy Family, St. John's in Stoneham, Sacred Heart in Cheyenne Wells, Holy Rosary, Cure d' Ars, St. Vincent de Paul and St. Mark's parishes.

Father Canjar would succeed Monsignor Judnic at Holy Rosary in 1959, a time of turmoil in both the church and in the neighborhood. January 1959 signaled the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, which introduced sweeping changes in liturgy, lay participation, interaction with other Christian denominations, and involvement in social issues. In a parish where the Mass had been said in Latin, and the homily delivered in both Slovenian and English, the changes were viewed as monumental.

There were also big changes in the neighborhood. The Stapleton Public Housing brought "outsiders," Mexicans and Blacks, into the tightly-knit community - they were not welcome. But Father Canjar reached out to the newcomers, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. ”Father Canjar felt that when people asked for help, we needed to respond,” said Jerry and Janet Wagner. The Wagners owned a small grocery, and, with cash donated by Father Canjar, began making up food baskets for Christmas. “Depending on the size of the family, there would be a couple of chickens, potatoes, beans or a sack of flour, enough to make a meal.” Father Canjar was also active in anti-poverty programs and was elected to the North Denver Action Center, a part of the Model Cities program.

The construction of I-25 and I-70 during the 1950s and 60s displaced many parishioners and businesses and demoralized the neighborhood. Another blow to the community was the record-breaking Platte River Flood of 1965, but Father Canjar worked tirelessly to clean and repair the parish buildings afterward.

Father Canjar retired from active ministry June 9, 1996 after 47 years of service. He moved to the Gardens at St. Elizabeth's where his sister Mary also lived, and then to Mullen Home, facing many physical challenges with courage and grace.  Father Canjar passed away November 20, 2014 and is buried at Mt. Olivet. He is survived by sister Lucille (James) Stanaway, sister-in-law Mary (Leo) Canjar and numerous nieces and nephews, and was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Frank, Ray and Leo; sisters Helen, Mary, Catherine, Florence and Margaret.

John Canjar is the tallest young man (with glasses) in the back row.
1937 graduating class from Holy Rosary

Father John Canjar, 1969

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


My grandmother saved things: magazines, recipes, newspaper articles, letters, post cards, greeting cards, copies of poems and obituaries. Among those mementos was a box of holy cards, which were  a little smaller than a playing card and depict the image of a saint or religious scene on one side, and a message on the reverse. There were cards given out at funerals with the person's date of birth and death, and those that marked ordinations, first communion and confirmation.
Some, like that for the funeral of John Malenoski, reveal that Malenoski was probably a Carpatho-Russian immigrant, belonged to the Orthodox Church, was familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet and lived a long life.
Teresa Kosick's funeral card reveals her origins in her Slovenian name, that she was Roman Catholic, a parishioner of Holy Rosary Church and also lived a long life.
Some holy cards were used to reward school children, with a hand-written message, such as "from Sister Agnes, in remembrance of her" on the blank side.
Holy cards can provide clues for those piecing together a family history as well as offer a glimpse of a gentler, faith-filled era.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Artistic expression is visible everywhere in Globeville, with hand-crafted sculptures, whirligigs and grottos in gardens, and religious images painted on garages, barns and sheds. The neighborhood has also been the recipient of several public art commissions.

The most striking examples of public art are the murals that grace the highway 
underpass at 46th Avenue and Lincoln Street. In collaboration with the Denver Urban Art Fund and city councilwoman Judy Montero, prominent Denver street artists Jeremy Silas Ulibarri, known as “Jolt”, of Guerilla Garden, and Anthony Garcia Sr. of Birdseed Collective were given the task of mentoring a group art students, who created murals celebrating the history, culture and changing face of the Globeville neighborhood. The murals have special meaning for Jolt, Garcia, and several young artists - all grew up in Globeville. 

Other neighborhood entities came together to help: Swinerton Construction provided a lift, ProCoat donated the clear coat, Habitat for Humanity the paint for the borders and neighbors contributed meals and hospitality.

Each day passersby see beautiful visual reminders of the characteristics that define Globeville: pride, ethnic diversity, respect, and cooperation. 

North-facing murals (juxtaposed) ® Mary Lou Egan

South-facing murals (juxtaposed) ® Mary Lou Egan