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Neighborhoods - I-70 Corridor: The Genesee Foundation

Unincorporated JeffCo, east of Genesee Park,
south of I-70 exits 256 & 254
Golden zip code 80401 • 303-526-0284


A few early white settlers in the present I-70 foothills corridor settled homesteads near Mount Vernon Creek at the center of the canyon near the one-room Rockland School (1873) and historic Rockland Church (1880). They made a sparse living ranching, cutting timber, and growing potatoes, oats, and barley. Tailings and metal equipment of copper mining remain near “Streamside Trail” in south Genesee. A resort planned by William Olmsted in 1890 on 2300 acres of Lookout Mountain did not materialize.

Genesee homesIn 1910, Denver businessmen scouted the foothills for mountain property that would attract tourists. They acquired 600 acres of Genesee Mountain that was about to be clear-cut by a timber company. After Denver voters approved creating the Mountain Parks in 1912, Genesee Mountain was the first acquisition. In the 1920s, Denver Kiwanis Club members purchased 240 acres east of the summit for an international summer camp platted for 370 cabins. It did not materialize. A turkey farm and mink/chinchilla enterprise were successful where the Genesee business area now stands.

Genesee forestThe residential boom after World War II was slow to arrive in the foothills until I-70 was planned and Evergreen Hiwan developers convinced Denver bankers to offer mortgages for mountain properties in 1963. Encouraged by Galen Knickel, developer Alvin Cohen gradually acquired 1889 acres from various owners. Strong opposition by the Hill and Dale Society caused the first rezoning proposal for 2,324 residential units to be denied in 1971. In 1972, the League of Women Voters and Plan Jeffco campaigned successfully to establish Jefferson County Open Space. A second Genesee proposal was withdrawn.

Attorneys Tom Carney and Leo Bradley represented Genesee Associates to gain rezoning approval for 1,542 units on 2,040 acres in September 1972. Half of the land was designated as “open space;” 360,000 sq. ft. of commercial buildings on 113 acres; 450 units on 306 acres (Chimney Creek); 550 units on 550 acres (Genesee Village); and 900 units on 1,411 acres (Genesee Foundation). In November 1972, JeffCo Open Space was approved.

On January 3, 1973, County Commissioners approved the Genesee Master Plan supported by two special districts for water and fire protection. Hill & Dale Society filed a civil action suit against the BCC for a reversal. On December 19, 1973, Genesee Associates and Cohen filed a SLAPP suite against the Hill and Dale Society and individual citizens. Both parties withdrew on January 24, 1974. Cohen turned the land over to the Genesee Real Estate Company in 1975.

Genesee walkers

Today’s Genesee residents are grateful for the early opposition that forced the developer to “turn the land” with an innovative plan for housing “clusters” surrounded by open space. Street maintenance and police protection is provided by Jefferson County. Three special districts provide fire protection, emergency health service, and water & sanitation. The 1970s marketing slogan, “In all the world, there is only one Genesee,” has turned out to be a perpetual reality.

FaunThe Genesee Foundation has won many awards for stewardship of native ecology and wildfire mitigation. New residents are provided with a comprehensive education on mountain living including the following books and brochures: Wildfire Safety Tips, Understanding Genesee Ecosystem Stewardship, Genesee Wildlife Habitats, Living with Wildlife in Bear Country and in Lion Country, How to avoid conflicts with wildlife, Genesee Trail Map (12 miles of private trails), Mountain State Mammals, Foothills Noxious Weeds, and a Directory of Residents and resources.

Traditions: The Genescene newsletter informs the community monthly; Fourth of July Parade and picnic; volunteers promote nature education, propagation of native plant seed, control of noxious weeds, and help plan and maintain hiking trails. Amenities: Genesee Foundation homeowners pay $138.50 monthly for efficient paid management, two recreation facilities with swimming pools and work-out rooms; tennis & racquetball courts; off-duty JeffCo Sheriff Deputies patrol; Evergreen Disposal services & recycling; Oxley house flora and fauna library; maintenance of open space land, facilities; and numerous social groups for hiking, skiing, book review, and many others.

Organized: Carla Andrews has been the Foundation executive director for 18 years. The paid staff are supervised by an elected board of seven directors. Staff assist resident volunteers who manage social groups and community events. Architectural Review Committee enforces covenants for all construction, lighting, and landscaping. Public JeffCo Schools: Ralston Elementary, Bell Middle, and Golden High.

Real estate values: $400,000 to $3 million.

Plus: Twenty minute commute to downtown Denver or southeast Denver; 40 minutes to world class skiing.

Minus: Covenants are a problem for some. Shopping is eight miles to Bergen Park, Golden, Applewood, or Lakewood.

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