Feature

Historical Presents

December 1998

If Mayor Robert W. Seer were alive today he would be disappointed. Eighty years after leaving office, he would be disheartened by Denver's loss of interest in its holiday heritage. Speer was a forward-looking man who saw European cities as models for Denver's future. So he kicked off a campaign to improve Denver's image by paving roads, installing street lamps, and creating parkways. This City Beautiful crusade also inspired Speer to explore holiday decorations.

In 1907, during Speer's third year in office, Denver was first decorated for Christmas. The decor started out small and subtle - that first year, 91 light poles (newly installed the year before) along 16th street were garnished with wreaths and garlands. Within five years the decorations grew to encompas 15th and 17th streets. By that time, city workers were employed to make wreaths and Denver was importing moss from the Midwest to enhance its holiday array.