City Council approves new historic district in northwest Denver after hearing unexpected backlash

A divided Denver City Council approved the creation of a new historic district early Tuesday after hearing an unexpected swell of controversy pitting preservation against property rights.

In West Highland, the Packard’s Hill Historic District will cover all or part of eight blocks, encompassing 173 homes that include Queen Annes, bungalows and cottages. The district is roughly between West 32nd and 35th avenues and Osceola and Perry streets, near the popular Highlands Square cluster of bars and restaurants.

The application listed 82 percent of the homes as contributing to the neighborhood’s historic character, going back to the platting of Packard’s Hill in 1887 by William C. Packard and Charles L. Hoffman.

The basis for the district, supporters argued, was that it would protect notable structures from the threat of redevelopment as well as honor notable residents. Those have included former mayors Benjamin Stapleton and William Fitz Randolph Mills and many women who played a role in the area’s growth.