Briarwood to Basecamp, Helen Street, Heritage Square and Magic Mountain

September 14, 2020

Golden Eye Candy – Patrick Klein – Former Briarwood property (now called “Basecamp”) with two apartment buildings nearly complete and a hotel under construction – click to enlarge

Public Health References
CDC * Colorado * Jefferson County * City of Golden

JCPHD updates the Coronavirus statistics Monday through Friday at about 3 PM. The next update will be included in tomorrow’s post.

Virtual Golden

6-6:55AM Virtual Dynamic Circuit
9-10AM Virtual Power Training
10:15-11:15AM Cuentacuentos en español / Spanish Story Time with the Library
6PM Gentle Yoga in the Yard at the Golden Well Being Collective (map) For more info email

Extract from the 1886 Sanborn map

6:30PM Historic Preservation Board
At the August meeting, the owners of 510 19th St. were approved to build a 3-car garage in the East Street historic district. Now they are applying to add a second story to the garage to provide additional living space. The Historic Preservation Board is asked to provide a Certificate of Appropriateness.

The Board will also consider a request to post a plaque at 12th and Maple, commemorating one of our pioneer women, Helen Berthoud. The reason for that location hearkens back to the early street grid of Golden, when several of the streets were named after founding women. Illinois Street was originally called Mary Street, Maple was called Helen, and Elm was called Nettie.

After those topics, they will adjourn to a study session to discuss a proposed Territorial Capital District. Golden still has a surprising number of buildings from the period when we were the territorial capital (1862-1867). The buildings are a bit spread out, so it wouldn’t be a typical district within a small geographical area. More likely, it would be defined by a walking tour map showing all of the remaining buildings of that era. See the meeting packet to learn more about any of tonight’s topics…

6:30PM The Golden Urban Renewal Authority will also meet tonight. It will not be broadcast live, but the meeting will be recorded and should be available to watch tomorrow. Among the topics they will discuss:

• The Jefferson County Housing Authority has submitted the building permit for the three-story low-income housing project at 24th Street between Ford and Jackson Streets. Demolition of the existing one-story buildings should commence soon.
• A building permit has been submitted for the boarding house next to Origin Red Rocks Hotel. This is the building that eluded Golden’s 1% growth limit by not including ovens in the individual apartments. Instead, shared ovens will be offered for communal use. The plan calls for 160 co-living units with 204 beds. The cost of an average 1 bedroom with a 12 month lease will be $1184/month. A three bedroom “pod” will go for $2700/month. If the tenants want furniture, it will cost more.
• The apartment buildings in the Basecamp project on 8th Street will have final occupancy permits soon. The hotel will likely be finished in early 2021. (See today’s Golden Eye Candy for an aerial view of the project.)
• The Jefferson Board of County Commissioners is scheduled to take action on an agreement to move forward with the Heritage Square land exchange proposal on September 15, 2020. Under this agreement, Jeffco would give up 64 acres of open space to allow Martin Marietta Materials to expand their quarry. Jeffco would get the former Heritage Square property, which would be sold for development. The former alpine slide would be appended to Apex Park. The 6 acre Bachman Farm property would be given to the City of Golden. Learn more….

7PM The Golden Concert Choir is launching two new programs tonight. The first is a weekly online Choral Music Appreciation course from 7-7:55PM. The second is a Virtual Choir Project from 8-9PM. Both sessions will run through November 23rd. Learn more….

Golden History Moment

Heritage Square Railroad, amusement park, shops, go-karts, restaurants, bubbles, boats, alpine slide, main street – click to enlarge

In light of the upcoming land swap between Jeffco Open Space and Martin Marietta Materials, you might enjoy a review of the amusement park(s) that used to be there.

Disneyland opened in 1955, and soon after, people began trying to duplicate that successful formula in other places around the country. Some of the people who helped design Disneyland came to Colorado, determined to build a similar amusement park here.

Design for Magic Mountain from the Golden History Museum collection – click to enlarge

Magic Mountain opened in Golden in 1959. The original plans called for sections very similar Disneyland, including a Main Street-like shopping and dining area, a river ride, a wild west theme, a “Magic of Industry” area including a space ride, and a narrow gauge railroad encircling the entire park.

Opening day at Magic Mountain in 1959 – note the unfinished buildings – click to enlarge

Most of the plans were never realized, as the park went bankrupt in less than a year. The land and most of the improvements (rides, plumbing, etc.) were auctioned off in 1963.

New owners took over the property and in 1971 the amusement park was reborn as Heritage Square. Various amusements and businesses came and went over the next 45 years, with one standout being the alpine slide. The Heritage Square Music Hall operated for many years, offering children’s plays and original musical comedies for adults.

Heritage Square buildings during demolition in 2016 – photos by Dave Powers – click to enlarge

In 2015, the property owner (Martin Marietta Materials) announced that they would close the park. Most of the buildings were demolished.

Source: Magic Mountain by Robert McLaughlin, Arcadia Publishers, 2016.