Denverite Street Week: Morrison Road

It’s diagonal, it’s a mile and a half long, and it’s unlike any other place in Denver. It’s Westwood’s Morrison Road.

Kahlo's Restaurant on Morrison Road. Westwood, Sept. 21, 2021.

Kahlo's Restaurant on Morrison Road. Westwood, Sept. 21, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
staff photo

We love this city.

I’m grateful to be part of a team of journalists that — while it’s changed a bit over five-plus years — constantly makes me look at Denver with fresh eyes.

One of the ways we commit to doing that for ourselves and with you is by, about once a year, focusing on one street in the Mile High City.

If you’ve been on this journey with us the whole way, you remember our week on the 16th Street Mall, which came from a pitch by then-Denverite reporter Andy Kenney in the wake of a lot of angst about safety there. Since then, you’ve joined us for residencies along Colfax Avenue, Santa Fe Drive, Brighton Boulevard and Bruce Randolph Avenue.

In 2021, the Denverite team has focused its attentions on another place we’ve spent some time over the years — Morrison Road. I’ll be honest, some years our discussions around which street we should highlight haven’t seen immediate agreement, but this year it was nearly instant. We think you’ll see why as you join us for a week of stories about the people and places, challenges and triumphs that make Morrison Road unique to itself, unique to Denver and also emblematic of some of the issues we face citywide.

David de Santiago, farm manager with Re:Vision, stands among the nonprofit's corn rows off Morrison Road. Westwood, Sept. 21, 2021.

David de Santiago, farm manager with Re:Vision, stands among the nonprofit's corn rows off Morrison Road. Westwood, Sept. 21, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Day 1:

We had no idea the timing would work out this way, but one of the most recognizable pieces of public art along Morrison — right at its southwestern corner with Sheridan — went missing recently. Only it’s not really missing. “Un Corrido para la Gente — A Song for the People” is getting a little touch-up right now, and it’ll be back in about a week and a half. (Look for more about art along Morrison Road later in the week — if you’re not already subscribed to our newsletter, sign up now!)

Food insecurity isn’t in any way unique to Westwood, but Re:Vision, a nonprofit based on Morrison Road, has approaches to getting people food, helping train new leaders and fostering young entrepreneurs that feel uniquely Westwood.

Day 2:

The odds, the stats and the systems seem stacked against some Westwood residents, but Mujeres Emprendedoras want to help women build financial defenses against threats of displacement.

Don’t go into this one hungry: The Contreras family started a panaderia on Morrison Road and found their customers wanted more — now they’ve expanded their panaderia into a carniceria, grocery, restaurant and bar that takes up an entire strip mall.

Day 3:

Denver’s Indian Center and Family Resource Center were both created in response to more than 100 years of federal policy bent on assimilating Native peoples and destroying their cultural identities. While white settlers’ conquest over the west may feel like ancient history to some, the legacy of that time is still very present for others. These organizations continue to deal with the fallout.

Day 4:

Santiago Jaramillo has always been at home in Westwood. He’s dead set on keeping it that way for himself — and for his community.

When the pandemic closed his restaurant on Colfax, Hector Soto opened Bule Bule, a rock ‘n’ roll ice cream shop named after the Spanish name for the song “Wooly Bully.”

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Denverite members have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.