Seven Things that Make Residents of Cheesman Park Very, Very Mad

Cheesman Park in 1911: not a headstone in sight.EXPAND
Cheesman Park in 1911: not a headstone in sight.
Public Domain Photo via Wikimedia

Cheesman Park has been a fancy-pants part of Denver for years…at least since it stopped being Mt. Prospect Hill Cemetery, when the parcels of land available here were understandably much smaller, and far less sought-after. By early in the twentieth century, though, the cemetery had mostly been moved, and Cheesman Park had been named for water baron Walter Scott Cheesman, for whom the park’s gorgeous central pavilion was built. As the memory of the cemetery faded, the park created a new boom in manor homes, classic architecture and no small amount of panache.  President Barack Obama even used Cheesman Park as the backdrop for his 2014 speech in Denver.

Still, despite the considerable draws of Cheesman Park, there are several things here that can raise the finely coiffed hackles of residents. Perhaps the most common complaint is that people think it’s spelled “CheesEman,” but there are more serious complaints, too, many of them focused solidly on the park that is the jewel in this sometimes bougie Denver neighborhood.

Yes, these are totally blue-collar digs.
Yes, these are totally blue-collar digs.
Ken Lund at Flickr

7. People Who Call the Area Bougie
According to the always dependable Urban Dictionary (and by “dependable,” we mean “entertaining and occasionally NSFW”), “bougie” means “anything perceived to be ‘upscale’ from a blue-collar point of view.” Not exactly high praise (especially if you’re a Bernie Sanders supporter), but a fair assessment of the area on both a historic level and a contemporary one. Ever since the living replaced the dead in Cheesman Park, it’s been one of Denver’s favorite places for people movin’ on up to the east side — of downtown, that is. The folks who toil tirelessly on behalf of the park and the houses and apartment buildings around it are passionate folks, and rightly so. Does that passion sometimes resemble extremism? Yes. Does that extremism sometimes recall elitism? It might, to some, even if everyone’s heart is in the right place. Ipso facto: bougie.

MIlton Bradley also has games based on mice infestations and emergency surgery.EXPAND
MIlton Bradley also has games based on mice infestations and emergency surgery.
Mike Mozart at Flickr

6. Bedbugs
It’s an issue all over Cap Hill, for sure (as one of our readers noted in a comment on our Capitol Hill neighborhood gripe list). We're including it here because a) Cheesman Park is technically in Cap Hill, and b) the last few cases of these little terrors have come from friends with apartments in Cheesman. That’s not to suggest that Cheesman Park and its borders are in some way more susceptible than the rest of Cap Hill, of course, but as one of our aforementioned friends afflicted by the curse of bedbugs said, “You just don’t expect it in a place like Cheesman.” But that’s just part of the bedbug fun — that, along with losing most of your stuff and gaining a deep suspicion of upholstery.

To be fair, this photo could also suggest a high rate of diabetes in the area.
To be fair, this photo could also suggest a high rate of diabetes in the area.
Eric Molina at Flickr

5. Misuse of the Park
There are lots of stories of the many ways that Cheesman Park has been poorly used over the years, especially back when downtown Denver was a little less sought-after than it was initially and has become again. We’re talking about seriously shady stuff, from drugs (both usage and dealing), sex (both recreational and for hire) and general lawlessness. These days, the park is working hard to live down the reputation that it had earned for a while, and has been largely successful. It’s now a draw for joggers, dog walkers and picnickers, day and night. But only because the neighborhood keeps a close eye on the place, also day and night.

Keep reading for four more things that make Cheesman Park residents mad.


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