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Lakewood Heritage Center in Lakewood, CO

August 5, 2021

Lakewood Heritage Center is a hidden gem in Lakewood situated in Belmar Park. This 20th-century museum and history park unfold the tale of the city from 1889 to 1969. The center is home to over 40,000 artifacts, a festival area, permanent and rotating exhibits, an outdoor amphitheater, and 15 historic buildings. Recently, Lakewood Heritage Center was renamed Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park as a portion of its initiative for rebranding.

The new name of the center was inspired by an endeavor to provide the area with a position of visibility, strong brand, and identity. Aside from hosting exhibitions, the center advocates research about the site and provides educational programs and field trips for all ages. More than 50,000 individuals attend community events and participate in programs annually such as Cider Days, Rockin' Block Party, Lakewood Lights, and Sounds Exciting! Summer Concert Series.

Current Exhibitions

Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park features two galleries located in the visitor center with one permanent exhibition and one rotating exhibition. Exhibitions on a smaller scale are placed in the main hall. Current exhibitions include:

Remembrance: Lakewood Memories of WWII

A temporary exhibition that portrays the experiences of the residents of Lakewood during World War II which includes military members' attire, the Denver Ordnance Plant, and home meal planning.

Lakewood: A 20th Century Journey

A permanent gallery at Heritage Lakewood that highlights the significant events all through the 20th century such as the commercial growth evolution from farmland. Visitors are engrossed in times with local artifacts that show people worked in factories during WWII, drove Model T's, and integrated the city.

Villa Italia to Belmar

A temporary exhibition that narrates the suburban population growth covering the United States after the upsurged of the shopping mall following WWII as a gathering place for the community and a driver for the economy. This also commemorates the 55th opening anniversary of Villa Italia, Lakewood's first mall.

Museum Collection

Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park houses over 9,000 historical photographs and over 33,000 historical objects. Also part of its collection is the prominent Interurban Car No. 25 even though it is settled at the Federal Center. These artifacts depict the story of Colorado, Jefferson County, and the City of Lakewood, in addition to national and world affairs as they relate to the residents of Lakewood. It covers material culture, toys, domestic life, military life, personal artifacts, and the history of 20th-century technology and business.

Historic Structures

The history of Lakewood can be explored in Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park. The site offers walking tours, guided tours, happy hours, historical luncheons, and educational programs. The historic structures important to Lakewood that are found in the area include:

Auction House (Circa 1930s)

Original to the mansion estate and hobby farm of May Bonfils, Denver Post co-founder's daughter, the Auction House was utilized as an office when Charles Stanton and May Bonfils sold cattle and sheep.

Belmar Gates and Mansion (1937)

While the Irongate Offices currently placed where Belmar, the mansion of May Bonfils, once stood, the estate gates stay visible on the perspective.

Caretakers Cottage (Circa 1910)

This cottage was a farmhouse before the era of the Bonfils and was used to accommodate the farm caretaker of May Bonfils. The building's interpretation and restoration are in progress.

Red Barn (the 1990s)

The City of Lakewood build the red barn in the 1990s and used it as a storage of vintage tractors.

White Way Grill (1948)

The White Way Grill is named after the close by Fox Theatre's bright lights and accommodates 8 customers and served individuals who traveled to visit the mountains or moved to Lakewood after WWII.

Estes Motel (1949)

Along Colfax, several hotels opened after WWII for those who travel to the mountains before the I-70 construction. This structure was part of the Estes family-operated motel complex during the 1950s.

Ethel's Beauty Salon and 88cent; Variety Store (the 1950s and 1960s)

The building was initially used as a cleaner/laundry after it was constructed in 1948. It was converted as a five-and-dime store during the 1950s which is exhibited in the structure's front room. During the 1960s, the building became a barbershop/beauty parlor operated by Ethel and Gil Gomez.

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