It isn’t often that you meet a neighbor who has lived in Wash Park their entire lives. Even more rare is someone who lives in his family home. Ryan recently purchased the home he grew up in and is raising his own children on the same blocks he devoured as a child. He remembers Wash Park before there was a Starbucks on the corner of Alameda and Downing, but rather a hardware store and a post office. Times were simpler then and we were champing at the bit to have a peek at our beloved neighborhood through his eyes.
Ryan, you are a rare gem in that you were born and raised in Wash Park. Can you give us a glimpse of what our neighborhood was like in the 80s?
It was very much the same as today, tons of kids and people enjoying the park and surrounding area. But the obvious point is the general increase in population. To give you a little glimpse my siblings and friends used to play golf down Marion St. Parkway to the park, then around the park. We had an entire 9 hole course setup, and I don’t think that could happen today.
What changes have you seen in the last two decades, positive, less than positive?
Where to begin….Denver has turned into a world class city over the last 20 years, we used to be thought of as a fly over city. So, with that change comes a city that has almost doubled in size. But, along with that we have incredible restaurants, bars and nightlife, the new Mission Ballroom is a perfect example, what a venue. It’s a must see for music lovers! It’s a double edge sword in my business, the population growth has helped me in so many ways, but there is a small part of me that wishes we could still have the “old” Wash Park. I don’t think I need to tell everyone about the traffic problem we have.
Do you have any stories about our the neighborhood that we might not know about?
In the mansion at 1701 E. Cedar between Gilpin and Williams they used to film the Perry Mason tv show. The neighbor kids always thought this was really cool and we always tried to sneak in the back of the house to see what was going on. The casting director would run us off the set all the time. There was also a family that lived on the 100 block of South Lafayette. They were the Ebaugh family, and they had a pet monkey that as kids we’d play with like a dog or cat. We’d take the monkey for walks, or to the store, you can imagine the looks people would give us, it was just hilarious.
You are in real estate, what is your forecast of the market in Wash Park?
I’ve worked for Madison & Company properties for 9 years, before that I had a fix ‘n flip business with my dad and brother. The Wash Park real estate market has changed dramatically in 20 years. It once was a blue collar neighborhood where you could get a typical bungalow for $75-100K. Wash Park is very much insulated from the rest of Denver and country. The demand is sky high and inventory typically is pretty low. Land prices are $500-700K, but usually the first market to see a drop is the luxury market, which much of Wash Park has become. So it will be interesting to see what happens in the next 5 years. I predict home values will continue rise but at a more reasonable rate of 4-6% per year.
You’ve been vocal about Marion Street and the potential changes to the bike lanes. This effects you directly, as your home backs the iconic greenbelt. What are your thoughts surrounding the prospective changes?
I’m not against the changes in general, safety needs to be the number one outcome. But I do really hope the city and our city council representatives don’t “mail” in the outcome here. The city has a chance to do something really cool and set a precedent of what “protected bike lanes” can become in Denver. The parkway is very special to me, my family and my neighbors. We all use it on a daily basis and just want to make sure it gets the attention and preservation it deserves.
I was the first person at the scene of the tragic accident with Alexis Bounds and I really want everyone to just take a moment and make sure they are aware of bikers and pedestrians when they are driving. We are all guilty of texting and being distracted when we drive, so just please pay attention and take care of each other. This is such a wonderful place to live and we can all make it better by working together.
What are your favorite things to do in and around Wash Park?
I love running with my dog Mobley, taking my kids to the play ground, and just strolling with a cocktail. The people watching is great anytime of the year. We love going to Old South Gaylord Street for dinner and, of course, Bonnie Brae ice cream!
Thank you for taking us back in time, Ryan! As Wash Park residents for the last 20 years, I’ve always wondered what stories our streets and homes could tell us. In fact, if any of you readers are veterans of the neighborhood, feel free to write us with stories of your own. We are big believers of preserving the history of this great place we all get to call home.