There are many Boulder neighborhoods with various styles of architecture and historical significance; everything from Victorian mansions to little post war ranch homes. I’ve been working on building a section here that give you a look at some different parts of Boulder based, in part, on my 30 or so years of living here, and my work in the Boulder real estate market, as well as current interest and input from people like you. The most current boulder neighborhoods info is also found at my blog and on my video profiles which are updated regularly.
The City of Boulder has it’s own historical way of identifying neighborhoods and in some cases there’s a “popular” method that’s taken root for identifying or naming a neighborhood. Consider “The Hill” as an example. The original real estate developers in Boulder didn’t call it “The Hill” but most locals know what we mean when we use this moniker for the neighborhood and commercial area around 13th & College.
One of the things I’ll bring to you in my Boulder Neighborhoods section is some insight about what kinds of trends I see. Another great place to explore if you want more up to the minute details on Boulder is my Boulder real estate blog, and my boulder video profile section.
Based on my work here as a Boulder Realtor, and living here since the late 1970′s, I’ll include little things that might be obvious to you if you live here, but not so easy to know if you’re planning on relocating from Chicago or Seattle, for example, and haven’t ever explored Boulder real estate on your own.
I’ll continue to explore the history and trends of various neighborhoods around Boulder so if you don’t see an area that you’re interested in reading about, let me know and I’ll add it to the list. It’s a work in progress as there’s constant change in the local Boulder real estate market. As a Boulder Realtor with a history in our area, I hope I can bring you an inside look at some interesting local neighborhoods.
Mapleton Hill Neighborhood
The Mapleton Hill Neighborhood is one of Boulder’s oldest neighborhoods. In the early 1880′s, about a decade after Boulder was incorporated two neighborhoods were established; the first two, of many to come were the Mapleton Hill Neighborhood, and to the south and east of Mapleton Hill we have the Whittier Neighborhood.
It took a dozen years or so for things to really get going in Mapleton Hill, about one third of the 500 homes in the neighborhood were built between 1895 and 1900, and then over half of the homes here (around 250 homes) were built between 1900 and about 1910.
Mapleton Avenue was originally known as Hill Street. If you’ve ever walked the stretch of Mapleton Avenue going west from Broadway, you know exactly why they called it Hill Street!
When the Mapleton neighborhood was getting off the ground, approximately 200 Silver Maple trees were planted, then in 1888 the Mapleton School was built on the south west corner of 9th and Hill Street. Consequently, Hill Street became Mapleton Avenue. The Mapleton School forged on as Mapleton Elementary until the mid 2000′s, then finally closed.
The closing of Mapleton Elementary meant that the neighborhood was reassigned by the Boulder Valley School District, and most kids in the neighborhood are now attending Whittier Elementary over at 20th & Pine Street. For many, this feels like a good thing. as families in Boulder often covet the opportunity to have their children attend the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. Given the demand, if you don’t live in the area, even though Boulder has an open enrollment program, it’s unlikely you can get into Whittier Elementary.
One of my favorite streets in the Mapleton Hill neighborhood is Highland Avenue. It’s a very quiet four-block stretch between 4th and 8th Streets with little traffic, wide lanes and huge trees.
Like many neighborhoods, and real estate in general, what you’ve heard is true: it’s all about location. Mapleton hill is in many respects the best location you could want if you want to be within walking and easy biking distance to Boulder’s famous Pearl Street Mall in Downtown Boulder, North Boulder Park, the Ideal Market Shopping Center, and lots of single track trails like the well-known Mount Sanitas and Sanitas Valley trails.
View Mapleton Hill Neighborhood, Boulder CO in a larger map
Goss Grove Neighborhood
The Goss Grove neighborhood is a great example of Boulder real estate that’s gone through vast changes over it’s history. The area included is essentially between Arapahoe Ave and Canyon Blvd. and from 15th to Folsom St. It’s full of
mostly turn-of-the-century homes. That’s not turn of the recent century, of course.
Goss Grove got its start as part of a homestead. Marinus Smith built his house on 16th St. between Grove St. and the White Rock Ditch back in 1859. Smith used the western part of the neighborhood as his gardens ane orchards.
Now the western section of the neighborhood is called Orchard Home addition. It was annexed to the City of Boulder in 1902.
Names you might recognize, such as C.J. Goss, Robert Culver and Charles Anderson used the area east of Smith’s land to raise cattle and for farming. These three later promoted the area as Culver’s addition which was annexed to the City of Boulder in 1874.
The Culver-Bixby home on Canyon Blvd. is marked as an historic building.
Several homes were built on Grove St. by 1883 and some of them are still standing today. By 1910 the neighborhood was completely built out.
Through the years between the 1950′s and 1980′s many homes were remodeled and some early redevelopment phases included replacing the older homes with apartment buildings. Over those years and still to some extent today, there are many students from C.U. Boulder living in the Goss Grove neighborhood.
With the value of Boulder real estate this close to downtown increasing in recent years, many people are choosing to move back into the neighborhood to live as opposed to the former trend as investment property filled with CU students. Given that there are still many apartment buildings in the area, this probably won’t change soon.
At the turn of the 20th century, residents of the neighborhood included business owners, lawyers, contractors, other professionals and even the city water commissioner. In those days, students lived in spare rooms of resident families. Goss street was home to former slaves and their descendants who were professionals in industries such as farming, teaching and carpentry.
This kind of diversity exists today and with the current trends back towards owner occupied homes in many central Boulder neighborhoods including Goss Grove, property values should continue to increase as residents put more energy and focus on home repairs and improvements.
Boulder Steel Yards
The Steel Yards community gets its name from a business that served the Boulder community for many, many years. It’s name was Boulder Steel and you can even see the name Boulder Steel Yards in the brick work on one of the surviving buildings that faces west along 30th street.
The area was once slated for a Home Depot business, probably due to the proximity to the railroad line that runs east of the property which is likely what positioned the steel yards there originally. Now we anticipate that these same tracks will service the FasTracks Transit Village planned for the nearby Pollard property on 30th and Pearl.
The Steel Yards has become a thriving community of mixed use residential, retail and office units spread across 22 buildings. This project has really become a great example of a live-work neighborhood can actually function well on many levels. It has revitalized this part of Boulder from a residential point of view and the people really do live and work in the project.
There’s lots of foot traffic and a full use of the neighborhood park, including the dog park. I’ve heard some complaints that people from other parts of Boulder come to the dog park thinking that it’s a city-owned park. In contrast, I’ve heard stories of dogs and people making new friends due to the popularity of the area.
With a great coffee shop, and lot’s of other businesses within easy walking distance, The Steel Yards is a great neighborhood to check out if you’re looking for an alternative to downtown.
Call, Text, or Email me. I’d love to talk to you about the Wonderland Hill neighborhood, or any other Boulder neighborhood, especially if you’re thinking of a move, or know someone that is moving.
A key part of what makes the Wonderland Hill neighborhood special is Wonderland Lake, and the extensive hiking and biking trail system that weaves through Wonderland Hill connecting it to the a 21-acre wild-life refuge which really defines what Wonderland Hill is all about.
The lake area includes a beautiful park with a children’s play area, convenient benches, and a large well-maintained open lawn perfect for an ad hoc game of frisbee.
A beautiful feature of the Wonderland Hill neighborhood is that there’s no real parking for ‘guests’ around the park, lake or other areas. Think I’m crazy for suggesting that no parking is a beautiful thing? This means that while it’s a wonderful retreat for the locals who actually live in the neighborhood, it has not, and likely never will become a ‘destination’ for other locals who live in other parts of town. There are certainly many frequent bikers and hikers using the trail system along the western edge of the neighborhood but that also means you have easy access to those same trails if you choose to live in Wonderland!
View Wonderland Hills Neighborhood, Boulder CO in a larger map
Homes in this area are typically spacious and many live on large lots which by today’s standards is somewhat uncommon, and is definitely one of the draws for Wonderland Hill.
Many of the homes are modern in look and feel, either due to the custom-built nature of their architectural style which goes back a few decades; or due to the fact that many of the homes have been remodeled and updated to include the amenities and styling that today’s home owners demand, especially in kitchens and baths.
This is a quiet and inviting neighborhood for even the most discerning buyer, with wide tree-lined streets, and in many cases great views of the foothills and the flatirons.
There are many local businesses that Wonderland Hill residents favor, including Lucky’s Market (a locally-owned grocery store), China Gourmet (a long-term Boulder favorite), a locally owned wine & spirits retail store, and several other restaurants which all bring a shopping balance within steps of most homes in Wonderland.
The Wonderland Hill neighborhood started out for the most part in the 1970′s as a new development of a mix of condos and single-family homes. One of Boulder’s first ‘high-end’ suburbs, fueled by IBM executives and others looking for a quiet setting with a close-in feel to Boulder.
University Hill Neighborhood
The University Hill Neighborhood includes the area from Chautauqua Park down the hill north all the way to Marine Street. Known for being home to wonderful old homes, some fraternities and sororities it’s come in and out of fashion as a place for families and undergrads alike.
View University Hill Neighborhood, Boulder CO in a larger map
The University Hill Neighborhood is located just slightly off The University of Colorado campus, University Hill is also a business district, commonly called “The Hill” (you’ll see some curious signs that went up in this area many years ago that say “On The Hill”). This is a vibrant area featuring an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops and entertainment venues and businesses.
Dakota Ridge Neighborhood
This coveted new part of Boulder started out as kind of a seedy part of town. Dakota Ridge is situated to the west and north of a light industrial area with pawn shops, tattoo parlors, auto repair shops and even a topless club.
Some of these shops are still here, but Uptown Broadway mixed-use project with Amante’ Coffee etc. is just what the doctor ordered!
What’s New Today:
Markel Homes built many of the very high end homes you’ll find in the newest part of Dakota Ridge today. some new construction still exists. David Jacobs, the founder of Spyder Skiwear recently completed a very large home in the area just southwest of the Dakota Neighborhood.
Many of the people caught up in the bicycle fever around Boulder gravitate to this neighborhood (it’s home to more bicyclists and tri-athletes per capita than any other town in America)
Some days, you can see people flying hang gliders over the open space just to the north of Dakota Ridge. There’s a place out there where I’ve often ridden my mountain bike as the trail comes off the hogback down a steep single track, and takes you under Highway 36.
Location: Dakota Ridge Neighborhood runs northward from Lee Hill Road along the foothills open space until it hits the end of the plateau, which is also part of Boulder’s open space land. The eastern border is Broadway Avenue.
View Dakota Ridge Neighborhood Boulder Colorado in a larger map
I strive every day to give you the useful information and critical support you need to make an informed decision.
Call, Text, or Email me. I’m never too busy for your referrals, as a real estate professional intent on giving back to the community, my relationship-based approach is exactly what you’ve been looking for in a helpful Realtor, and I will listen to you.
-Zachary Epps, full-time RE/MAX professional.