Cherry Hills Village: Upscale, Countryside Lifestyle in South Denver
Every metropolitan area has an iconic neighborhood representing so many popular ideals that it becomes the proverbial brass ring for those on the outside, looking in. For metropolitan Denver, Cherry Hills Village is a standout. The area may be surrounded by some urban sprawl, but within its borders the atmosphere is one of an upscale, countryside retreat with a secure way of life. How did it happen? For starters, the neighborhood became a municipality.
By the 1930s, residents in South Denver were happy with their distinctive rural surroundings. So much that when Denver growth began to threaten their lifestyle, they united to form grassroots Cherry Hills District Improvement Association. Over the years, the group held off big-city Denver’s rumored plans for a nearby regional airport, as well as major land purchases. By 1945, in pure town-hall style, residents voted for incorporation as a municipal entity, and followed up with another meeting to elect their mayor and town council. Cherry Hills Village has been a home-rule city ever since.
What makes this a Rocky Mountain regional Camelot? It’s a home-centered, resident-focused haven. Commercial businesses are limited to a few offices within its 6.5 square miles. Residential lots are large, homes range from simple ranch styles to stereotypical mansions and all are well-maintained. Incomes here manage to stay well above the economic fray, no matter what direction the stock market takes.
Rural-centric, this is a place where horse-crossing signs are in great supply, trees and tradition mark its residences and municipal center, and the Highline Canal trail is a serene recreational experience for walkers and joggers alike. Hills? They’re plentiful and high enough to afford some magnificent views of the Rocky Mountains. Residents value their privacy—you’ll find a lot of gated subdivisions and “private road” signage throughout the area.
Landmarks include Cherry Hills Country Club, not the usual suburban golf course lined with houses. Instead, it’s a well-maintained championship layout, playing host to two PGA Championships and two U.S. Open tournaments, in addition to United States Golf Association contests. Arnold Palmer famously drove the first green in 1960, a 346-yard accomplishment en route to an exciting victory. The plaque commemorating his feat remains on the first tee to this day.
St. Mary’s Academy has been a longtime fixture on University Hills, not only for its school-zone, slow-down speeds, but also for its excellent reputation as an institution of quality education. Its scenic, traditional campus houses a co-ed lower and middle school, as well as an all-girls high school.
HelloDenver Tip: High on Country: A Narrative History of Cherry Hills Village is a collaborative effort of residents that tells the story of the community's unique beginnings. To purchase the book, call (303) 789-2541. The proceeds benefit city parks and recreation venues.
Posted on February 29, 2012 by Lisa Perry