The Centennial House on Historic Ninth Street Park has borne witness to more than a century of change, but the past year has brought a heightened flurry of activity as the brick home has gone through a careful restoration process as part of CU Denver’s ongoing commitment to revitalize this historic area. On May 12, people gathered at the home to celebrate, remember, and make plans for the future.
Rita Gomez—an original resident of the home at 1050 Ninth Street—was present, along with family members, to cut a ribbon with CU Regent Nolbert Chavez and CU Denver Chancellor Michelle Marks, PhD. The moment marked a new milestone for the restoration process, which has been an important part of CU Denver’s 50th anniversary celebration, but it was also a moment for family members to reconnect.
“At CU Denver, we have the privilege of teaching, learning, working, and engaging at an institution rooted in a deep history,” said Marks. “From the Indigenous Peoples who settled here to the Aurarians who built a thriving community and were displaced to create the Auraria Higher Education Center and build the Auraria campus, we must honor those who came before us.” Marks also spoke about CU Denver’s expansion of the Displaced Aurarian Scholarship Program, which provides funds—in perpetuity—for tuition and fees for undergraduate and graduate students who are direct descendants of Auraria neighborhood residents.
Chavez spoke about family connections and the power of a home. “I’m sure if you measured this house from the ground to the peak of the roof, it’s the same height as when we started,” Chavez said. “But I swear, as I walk up the sidewalk every day to check on the progress, it feels a little taller. Prouder. And ready for the future. The broken has become beautiful.”