The History of Sloan’s Lake

Thomas M. Sloan, a farmer working the land, dug a well and woke up to his dismay the next morning to find a growing lake.  Ruth Wiber recounts in Rediscovering Northwest Denver, “Word of the gushing well spread to the fledgling town of Denver. People rode out on horseback to see the phenomenon of Farmer Sloan’s well and talked as they watched the water spread.”
Sloans-Lake-for-sale-adThomas M. Sloan placed a “For Sale” ad in the February 21, 1872 Rocky Mountain News.
The Steam Navigation Company launched The City of Denver. A 40-foot long steamship with a capacity of 100 passengers. Customers paid 25 cents to ride from The Grand View Hotel, located on Federal and 17th, down a dug out canal 30 feet wide and 8 feet deep clear to the Northwestern shore of Sloan’s Lake.
Manhattan Beach opens on the North shore of Sloan’s Lake. Thought to be the first amusement park West of the Mississippi River and included roller coaster, a dance hall, a Ferris wheel, boating attractions, hot air balloon rides, wrestling bears, contortionists, aerial acts (including a human cannonball), a man who walked on ceilings, and exhibits displaying more than 40 species of animals. Visitors reached the park by streetcar, boats, and wagons.
The biggest draw to Manhattan Beach was perhaps Roger the Elephant. This enormous attraction would be scene roaming the grounds with a basket full of children on his back. Unfortunately one day he was spooked by a sudden noise from a hot air balloon. He reared up on his hind legs and threw all of the children but one. As he stomped and stumbled blindly, he crushed the head of six-year-old George Eaton, instantly killing the boy in front of an estimated 100 witnesses.
St Anthony Hospital 1894The Poor Sisters of St. Francis opened the doors of the 180 bed St. Anthony’s Hospital (SAH) on the south shore of Sloan’s Lake. Still a remote location on the western edge of Denver, the hospital provided health care for railroad workers 
and miners.
Rocky Mountain News says the largest and most important all-day boating program ever undertaken here is expected to attract upward to 50,000 people to Sloan’s Lake for the annual Mile High Boat Assn. Regatta.
Over time, the city grew around the hospital and the area became known as Denver’s West Side community, a predominantly Jewish neighborhood with its own eruv, which still exists today. As Denver grew, so did SAH, and by the early 1990s it had become a hospital of almost one million square feet.
Flight For Life. St. Anthony Flight For Life was the first civilian, hospital-based emergency medical helicopter in the United States. Over 300 flight programs around the country and around the world have since been modeled on this concept.
Nearby Edgewater, Colorado forms a Redevelopment Authority to help spur revitalization along the Sheridan Boulevard corridor.
By the early 2000s SAH began to outgrow its 19-acre campus and in 2005 announced plans to build a new facility at the Federal Center in nearby Lakewood and close the central campus.
City councilman Rick Garcia helped convene the St. Anthony Redevelopment Task Force to study and recommend a set of guiding principles for the site’s redevelopment.
5280 Magazine rates Sloan’s Lake one of the top up-and-coming neighborhoods.