DENVER – CU Denver began its 50th anniversary celebration Wednesday with a ceremony to showcase renovation improvements to Centennial House, a historic home that was built in 1876.
“It was handed over to our Auraria Higher Education Center in 1976, so 100 years after it was built. And here we are 50 years later celebrating our birthday,” said Nolbert Chavez, CU Denver chief of external initiatives and regent. “A woman by the name of Rita Gomez and her family lived here, but they were ultimately forced to move.”
Back in October, during a blessing ceremony to kickoff renovations, Gomez and her family were present.
“I removed the hinges from that door and gave them to her as a way to say that no door would keep her out in the future,” Chavez said.
Chavez said this home is the perfect symbol of CU Denver’s past 50 years.
“Not only as it relates to the history of the city, the history of our neighborhood, but also the intention in which we use these homes and the manner in which we include community in those uses,” Chavez said. “I didn't know this before I started working on Ninth Street. But my uncle, I found out, lived on Ninth Street in 1949 when he was a young man. He was 21 years old. He and his wife rented a room at the house on the end of the block. So I have family history here as well, in addition to this being sort of my community. And so there's a lot of meaning. As I think about my career, it will end, but hopefully this house will stand until the 100-year birthday of CU Denver. I won't be here to see it, but the house will.”
CU Denver held a ceremony Wednesday afternoon and allowed community members to go inside the home.
Chavez said the university is a few months away from completing renovations, but once complete, the home will serve as a community gathering space.