Cherry Creek received its name from the Arapaho Indians, who found an abundance of chokecherries along the creek.
It was also a favorite buffalo hunting ground for the Arapaho.
The Smoky Hill Trail, along Cherry Creek, became the prime route in the mid-1800’s from the Missouri River to Denver during the gold rush. The closest way station to Cherry Creek East was the Four Mile, now known as the Four Mile Historic Park, located at 715 S. Forest Street in Glendale. The next closest station was in Denver, two miles to the west.
A bit of the Smoky Hill Trail history is preserved in the sidewalk at the Pulaski Park Children’s Playground. To view a copy of the plat map, circa 1905, of the Cherry Creek East area, which shows the location of the Trail, please click on this link.
The Cherry Creek area was originally a town named Harmon. Its borders were 6th Avenue on the north, Colorado Blvd. on the east, 1st Avenue on the south and York Street on the west. The town of Harmon was named after Edwin P. Harman. Harman was born to a slaveholder’s family in 1834. After graduating from college in 1858, he served as a Confederate officer in the Civil War and was later appointed a judge in Mississippi. He relocated to the Denver area and staked claim in 1871 to the land between 1st Avenue and 6th Avenue. He attempted to annex his land into Denver in 1882 but failed. The town of Harmon was finally incorporated in 1886. Burlington Capitol Hill Addition of Harman, which was located from St. Paul Street to Colorado Blvd. and from 6th Avenue to Cherry Creek was platted in 1888. Harmon Town Hall, constructed in 1891, still stands today at 4th Avenue and St. Paul Street.
Many farms and greenhouses were located throughout this area.
One of the difficulties the town encountered was gaining access to Denver. The closest streetcar lines ran down Colorado Blvd. on the east and about a mile to the west. Harmon city council raised $8,000 to build a streetcar extension in the late 1890s.
By 1891 a 14-piece brass band entertained in the community.
Also in the 1890’s a bicycle club was formed to encourage wheelmen to ride the many bike paths that dotted the area.
The area south of 1st Avenue--now the Cherry Creek Mall--was undeveloped and was referred to as the Grove. This area was frequented by Gypsies.
Because of flooding, the area along the creek was unsuitable for most uses and became the city dump.
The original Cherry Creek Shopping Center was built on the former dump by Denver architect-developer Temple Hoyne Buell in 1949. The redevelopment of the Cherry Creek Shopping Center into the Cherry Creek Mall that you see today was completed in 1990.
In 1984, the Cherry Creek Steering Committee was formed and still meets today to monitor and review plans for future development.
This information was obtained from the Western History Dept. at the Denver Public Library.