My Name Is... Gary Poole

Retiree remembers a smaller, slower-paced Colorado

David Gilbert
dgilbert@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 11/30/20

Selling history II'm a third-generation Coloradan. My grandfather died when my dad was 8, and my grandma was raising five kids. She worked at Swedish Hospital in Englewood, doing laundry back when it …

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My Name Is... Gary Poole

Retiree remembers a smaller, slower-paced Colorado

Posted

Selling history

I'm a third-generation Coloradan. My grandfather died when my dad was 8, and my grandma was raising five kids. She worked at Swedish Hospital in Englewood, doing laundry back when it was still a tuberculosis sanitorium.

My dad, Jack Poole, was on Englewood's parks and recreation commission in the 1960s. At that time, Englewood just had one big city park. A developer wanted to buy it to build Cinderella City mall. My dad and mom would go around and around about whether the city should take the deal. My mom said he was selling the town's history, but he would say we would get a bunch of parks around the city in exchange, and that's what ended up happening.

My dad stayed involved with parks and athletics for most of his life. The softball field at Belleview Park is named in his honor.

Asphalt on the ballfield

Part of where Belleview Park is now was once a landfill — where the city dumped asphalt. I worked for the parks for many years as a young man, and every once in a while some of the asphalt would come up through the dirt in the baseball diamond.. We had to keep a close eye on it — softball players didn't want to slide into a chunk of asphalt.

I remember 1965, the year of the big flood on the South Platte River. I remember the sound more than anything. Upriver, people had those big propane tanks to heat their homes, and they all came loose and floated down. I remember them hitting the bridges. You could hear these big bangs.

Not all bad

This was just a different place then. I remember cows grazing near Belleview and Broadway. I remember my mom sending me down to Broadway to get bread from the bakery. Nobody questioned whether that was appropriate. Back then it wasn't a big deal to cross Hampden on my bike. Today I don't even like crossing it in my car.

The change isn't all bad. When I was a kid, Frank the Pizza King was fine dining. Don't get me wrong, I still love Frank's! But it's exciting to see such nice places around here nowadays.

A lot of things have improved for the better. They say it's gentrification, that folks are forced out who can't afford it. I'm amazed at what houses go for now, but my parents were able to sell their home to a young family who put their kids in the local schools. I'm grateful for that.

If you have suggestions for My Name Is, please contact David Gilbert at dgilbert@coloradocommunitymedia.com.

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