An advisory committee charged with coming up with a new name for Denver's Stapleton neighborhood has narrowed down the list of finalists to nine: Mosley, Meadowlark, Concourse, Peterson, Central Park, Skyview, Randolph, Park Central and Tailwinds.
The committee, which was put together by the Stapleton United Neighbors organization (now known as SUN), includes both neighborhood residents and name-change advocates. The neighborhood took its original name from where it was built: land occupied by Denver's first airport, which in 1944 was named after then-Mayor Ben Stapleton. When he first ran for mayor in 1923, Stapleton was a leading member of the Ku Klux Klan, which pushed his candidacy.
Given that background, some activists have pushed for a name change for decades. Those efforts picked up major support this spring as the protests over George Floyd's murder gripped Denver.
The committee spent the past week winnowing a list of 331 suggestions to nine. Through the rest of July, it will hold up to three rounds of voting for Stapleton residents, until one choice lands a majority of the votes.
On August 1, SUN plans to announce the winner. Later that month, the Master Community Association of Stapleton will begin the process of formalizing the name change, so that new signage can be installed and the City of Denver can make needed alterations in its own labeling of the neighborhood.
Here are the committee's descriptions of the nine names on its list:
Mosley addresses many of the categories the Community has expressed a desire for in a new name. It is aviation-related, historically significant, geographically connected to the current area, business-friendly and inspirational. Mosley honors a family, not just one person.
John Mosley was a Tuskegee Airman during World War II, who also helped draft the policies to racially integrate the new U.S. Air Force. He and his wife, Edna Wilson-Mosley were a team, married for 70 years and inseparable for 75. They were civil rights activists who broke the color barrier in Denver and Aurora by purchasing a home adjacent to what is now our community, and, in so doing, they fought the destructive segregationist practice of redlining. Edna was a co-founder of the highly successful Colorado Women's Bank, to give women greater access to credit.
As the first at-large city Councilperson of color in Aurora, Edna chaired the Transportation Committee, with DIA and the former airport, within its bailiwick. Their daughter spent 47 years as a United Airlines flight attendant flying out of the airport that is now our beloved community; two sons served in the U.S. Air Force, with one still flying for United. There are even multiple pilots among John and Edna’s grandchildren.
As a single, two syllable word, Mosley would be an inexpensive and business-friendly replacement for Stapleton, easy for new logo and signage, and naturally pronounceable.
Finally, the Mosley neighborhood name would be inspirational, as the simple act of its adoption would be a powerful and permanent positive step in uniting our community and surrounding neighbors, around the values we aspire to live by, here in our beautiful Denver home. Mosley is a name we can stand for.
Western Meadowlarks are in all western North America and parts of Canada and Mexico. They live and nest in open grasslands, meadows, pastures and fields. They are the state bird of Montana, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon and Wyoming. Our community is home to an abundance of Meadowlarks because of the broad open natural drainages and significant parklands.
The presence of Meadowlarks indicate that this will be a sweet time of life; that you were in the dark and now it is time to enter the light. Larks are additionally known for their melodious song. They also sing while they are airborne, unlike most other birds who only sing while perched. This indicates cheerfulness and reminds us to find joy amid our own lives. One will hear this beautiful songbird on virtually any neighborhood walk.
Meadowlarks play a variety of roles in the folklore of different indigenous people’s history. The Lakota tribes feel a great affinity for Meadowlarks, seeing them as a symbol of friendship and loyalty, and take care never to kill one. The musical song of the Meadowlark is believed to be good luck by many Lakota people, and in the past, Meadowlark whistles were thought to summon buffalo. In the Blackfoot tribe, Meadowlarks are a symbol of peace, and the presence of Meadowlarks was said to be a sign that a camp or village would be safe from attack.
Meadowlark is inspirational, aspirational and suitable for consideration as the new community name.
Concourse has several meanings relevant to the characteristics the community has expressed are valued for a new name. Definitions of concourse include:
An act or process of coming together and merging
Meeting produced by voluntary or spontaneous coming together
Open space where roads or paths meet and converge
An open space or hall (as in a railroad or airport terminal) where crowds gather
A flocking, moving, or flowing together of persons or streams, as in Westerly Creek and Sand Creek
From Latin concursus "gathering of a crowd, coming together"
Also a loose French translation that means to reconstruct back to excellence. As in to restore a collector car.
While most people think of the definition of concourse as an airport reference, which has relevance to our development name, we also have the opportunity to reinvent the word as people use it and describe and transcend our neighborhood into “a coming together of people," where paths meet and rebuild back to what was intended in the Green Book.
Helen Peterson (Wa-Cinn-Ya-Win-Pi-Mi), which translates to A Woman To Trust And Depend On, was a Cheyenne-Lakota activist and lobbyist. Peterson came to Denver in 1942.
Peterson began work at the University of Denver as the executive director of the Rocky Mountain Council of Inter-American Affairs. In 1948, she was hired by the newly elected mayor, J. Quigg Newton, to work on the Commission on Human Relations. Peterson attempted to build bridges, registering voters and organizing various communities as Mayor Newton wanted to desegregate Denver. Peterson developed cultural programs and met with city leaders to provide lecture series on issues, such as fair labor and housing laws. At the end of the year, she was made the director of the Committee on Human Relations.
Peterson was one of the first women lobbyists advocating for Civil Rights for American Indians.
In 1953 Eleanor Roosevelt urged her to work in Washington D.C. on behalf of American Indians during a period known as the Indian Termination Policy. Roosevelt tasked her to help reorganize the National Congress of American Indians which was actually founded in Denver, and is the largest and oldest American Indian Organization in the country.
Returning to Denver in 1962, Peterson again took up the post as the director of the Commission on Community Relations for another term. In 1993 Peterson was inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame.
Central Park is a name well known in the community. It is physically central to the St*pleton area South of I-70. It abuts the iconic tower from the former airport. Denver has numerous neighborhoods named after the parks they surround, plus “Central Park” would evoke the Green Book, which was a foundational document for St*pleton. Finally, the name-change issue has been divisive for our community the last few years. It has sometimes brought out the best and worst in us and created tensions among neighbors. Central Park would be non-controversial, natural and drama-less, which is what our community could use right now.
Whether watching fireworks along the Front Range, experiencing a blood moon from the sledding hill, or taking in a sunset or sunrise, viewing the celestial beauty that surrounds us draws us together in awe. In raising our heads up to take in our sky view, we are reminded of the enormousness of the universe and in the words of Carl Sagan, “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.” For many, it is love of thy neighbor, and the desire for all who live and visit here to feel pride in the community that has brought about the change of name.
From earliest days of aviation, the dream was to conquer the sky, extending the boundaries of human endeavor to transcend the adage, ‘the sky’s the limit'. Bringing together the nostalgia of historical air travel and aspirations of those early aviators can give us a name that aspires to give voice to values like diversity, sustainability and access. It is fitting to have a name that directs our thoughts upward to what can be.
Through the name Skyview, may we feel a connection to each other and all of humanity. When we look at the sky, may we find the inspiration for the work that continues on the ground to make the future easier and brighter for each of us now, and for the next generation.
“Daddy Bruce Randolph” was a giver, a gentle soul, and a BBQ Master. Born in 1900, the grandson of a former slave, his legacy will live on for generations to come because he cared for this community in ways that elevated dignity and humanity. At age 63 Daddy Bruce, an exceptional cook, restauranteur and philanthropist, decide he wanted to ensure the people of Denver who did not have a meal for Thanksgiving would have a place to go to break bread with dignity and in community. The first Daddy Bruce Thanksgiving cookout and food distribution fed 5,000 people. By the time he died in 1994, Daddy Bruce had created a community-wide Thanksgiving feast, feeding 30,000 to 40,000 Denver residents at Thanksgiving.
The Stapleton community would be fortunate to carry the name of such a giant human and community member. We can only hope that his spirit will inspire us all to give from where we are, with what we have; and that our children will grow to know the joys of being a good neighbor, a contributing community member, and an all-around amazing human being.
The central component of this neighborhood is its beautiful parks. Park Central is, home to Central Park, Denver’s third largest park with over 80 acres of land. There are more than 50 parks (too many to name here) throughout the neighborhood, connecting us to Colorado’s great outdoors. We can take a leisurely stroll, go for a run, climb, sled, swim, party, laugh and play, or just sit and enjoy the song of the Meadowlark. Heck, there are even a couple of doggy parks for our furry family members! This would be an ideal name that will stand the test of time. It does not carry any stigma or controversy, it is market friendly, and it is relevant to our neighbors, both north and south of I-70.
Wind carries messages, strength, and the force of life through breath. We can feel the winds of change around us: a series of events precipitating and signaling important changes.
In flight, a tailwind moves with you, and helps you move to your destination more efficiently; the analogy of a tailwind also describes growth. Changing the name of our community is a step in a positive direction. Our community needs a tailwind to help us on this journey, and to help us grow.
For each of us, when we face troubles, the strength of community can help us find the tailwind that we need, in the spirit of the Irish blessing: “May the wind be always at your back.” A tailwind is support, in particular support in moving forward.
The name Tailwinds embraces both the history of aviation and asks for strength in a positive trajectory.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.