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Photo Essay: A Morning on Tennyson Street

Berkeley Lake Park brings lots of visitors out for walks.

An old sign lingers outside Local 46.

Tenn Coffee Shop.

People gather at Cozy Cottage for breakfast.

Spruce Barber and Clothier.

The Oriental Theater.

Parisi restaurant.

Updated storefronts.

The early sun casts shadows.

The Atomic Cowboy opened in August 2015.

César Chávez Park.

People walk past a mural outside BookBar.

Public art on Tennyson.

Allegro Coffee Roasters Tennyson's new 4,000-square-foot space.

Denver Cat Company is Denver's first cat cafe.

Proper Barber.

Old-school haircuts at Chuck's Barber Shop.

Flesher-Hinton Music Company's sign remains in the wake of the store's move to Wheat Ridge.

A mannequin stares out of Rebelle Salon.

Alley art.

In her latest photo essay, Confluence Denver Managing Photographer Kara Pearson Gwinn captures the soul of the northwest side, Tennyson Street.
Streetcars started rolling on the north-south "Main Street" of the Berkeley neighborhood in the 1880s.

The trolley helped catalyze the six-block business district from 38th to 44th avenues into one of the city's most dynamic drags. After it shut down in the 1950s, Tennyson lost some luster, but it's bounced back in a big way in recent years. Completed in 2012, a $2 million streetscaping project helped spur Tennyson's ongoing renaissance.

Lined with new apartments and colorful storefronts, Tennyson Street is today a prime shopping destination and host of First Friday Art Walks and numerous seasonal events. Yoga studios, boutiques and eateries have opened as some stalwarts have closed over the years: Elitch Gardens amusement park moved to the Central Platte Valley in 1994, Tennyson True Value Hardware shut down in 2014, and Elitch Lanes and Flesher-Hinton Music have also left the street in the time since.

But openings have outnumbered closings. The six-block stretch is now home to more than 100 businesses, including local landmarks like The Oriental Theater, built in 1927, and such upstarts as the feline-friendly Denver Cat Company and BookBar (and BookBed).

Then there are the perils of gentrification, and the cost-benefit analysis of lower vacancy rates and higher rents, the businesses and residents coming and going, more and more retail sales and less and less parking. (Maybe it's time for the trolley to make a comeback?) 

All changes considered, Tennyson Street remains one of the city's most vibrant places, an urban area that's alive, in flux and definitively Denver.

Photos by Kara Pearson Gwinn.
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