When Denver was founded in 1858, it was little more than a mining camp. By the 1870s however, Denver had gained a substantial permanent population, and many residents were clamoring for parks. In 1878, City Park became the largest tract turned into a park and was irrigated with water from the city ditch.
By the start of the 20th century, Ferril Lake, the Denver Zoo, and the landmark boat pavilion, were built. In 1903, construction was completed for the first wing of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and it opened to the public on July 1, 1908.
City Park sat a mile away from the rest of Denver when it was first opened and could be reached by trolley. The neighborhood developed around the park, starting with farmers and squatters who used the city ditch to irrigate their crops. Later, many historic brick residential buildings, including many Denver square style homes and several historic brick commercial structures were constructed.
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