Overland Park

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Quick History

In 1859, Rufus H. (Potato) Clark homesteaded the area now known as the Overland Golf Course, and operated his farm from 1863 to 1873. Jim Beckwith homesteaded just south. In 1883, the promoters of Denver Circle Railroad bought the farms and built a race track, which they named Jewell Park after a former Connecticut Governor, Charles A. Jewell, who was also a stockholder in the racing park and the railroad.

In 1887, the park was sold to a group looking for a site for a country club. The racing park was renamed Overland Park. Henry Wolcott bought out the other members and took over the park. He introduced the game of golf to Denver, and developed a nine-hole course circling the race track. Wolcott also rented the tracks, the links, and the clubhouse out to various organizations.

In 1901 the Overland Country Club was incorporated into the Denver Country Club and the following year relocated to the banks of the Cherry Creek. In 1919, the City and County of Denver began purchasing land for a park. It rented the race track and made a camp for motorists.

In 1930 the nine-hole Overland Golf Course was opened, and was expanded to eighteen holes in 1957. General William J. Palmer, who also founded Colorado Springs, constructed the first railroad tracks along the South Platte River in 1870. His company, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, introduced coal burning locomotives and doubled the speed of trains from 15 to 30 miles per hour over wood burning locomotives. His railroad brought manufacturing and business into what is the now Denver’s industrial crescent, which brought employment to the area. Thomas Skerrit cleared a “broad way” in 1871 from Hampden Avenue to Jewell Avenue to provide a road to haul produce from his orchard north to markets in Denver. The “Broad Way”was 100 feet wide and people immediately began planting trees along the side of the road.

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