The Southern Hills Community Association (SHCA) is a group that fosters community information and builds community through social activities that bring neighbors together.
The SHCA is a Registered Neighborhood Organization (RNO) in Denver, Colorado. RNOs, as defined in the Denver Revised Municipal Code, are officially recognized by the City, "to notify such organizations in advance of occasions when decisions are to be reached on certain matters affecting their neighborhoods; and to afford representatives of such organizations the opportunity to present the positions of the organizations at such times."
Registered boundaries of SHCA and all RNOs are available on Denver's web site.
What We Do
We're a group that fosters community information and builds community through social activities that bring neighbors together. We're not a group that enforces rules.
Annual Egg Hunt July 4th Parade
Garage Sale Support Slavens School Fall Festival
Quarterly Newsletter Neighborhood Directory
Facilitate Communication with our Councilperson & City Officials
Southern Hills is a unique neighborhood in Denver characterized by primarily ranch-style homes, with a few 2 story and tri-level styles. Although each house has a similar exterior styling, no two are exactly alike and each interior floor plan is different. The area borders at South St. Paul St. on the east, University Boulevard on the west, E. Flora Place on the south, and E. Yale Avenue on the north. A rough estimate indicates about 570 homes.
Maps in the Denver Public library from 1899 and 1913 show the area was owned by an individual named Jay Morton. Little more is known about Mr. Morton, but it would be interesting to continue to research this early history. Unfortunately, a land transfer record in the Rocky Mountain News from April, 1897, citing this name, now on microfilm at the Denver Public Library, is illegible.
The land south of E. Yale Avenue was part of Arapahoe County until parcels were gradually annexed by Denver between 1945 and 1957. There are 6 filings for development, and 5 of the 6 filings were platted by 1957. The first filing to be developed was Filing 2 bounded by Dartmouth (S) to Bates (N) to Clayton (E) to University (W). The last filing to be developed was probably platted in 1960-1961. In 1959, this filing was still not plotted on maps of the area.
Yale Avenue was not a through street in the early 50’s. It was called Yale Way to the east, from Colorado Boulevard only to S. Steele St, and Yale Avenue to the west from University Boulevard only to S. Fillmore St.
The homes in Southern Hills were built in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Entities known as Consolidated Homes and Paramount Homes were the original filers for the area. The name Sam G. Russell appears as a general partner for Paramount Holmes in 1960. Contractor Aubrey Harrison apparently purchased some of the lots and, according to his grandson, built many of the houses in the neighborhood as well as other parts of Denver from 1955 to 1980. Aubrey’s son, Lynn Harrison, built homes in Greenwood Village and Cherry Hills Village, and grandson Scott Harrison is now a third generation custom home builder in the metro area.
Slavens Elementary School was built at the same time as the neighborhood was being developed, in the mid 1950’s. As demographics changed, Slavens was closed for several years, but later reopened and in recent years was expanded to include students through 8th grade. It is considered a top quality DPS School and an asset to the neighborhood that draws in young families.
On the north side of Yale is McWilliam’s Park, which is named for a resident of the neighborhood to the north, University Park. Robert Hugh McWilliam’s had a long judicial career, graduating from South High School and the University of Denver, first serving in WWII in naval intelligence, then District Attorney in Denver, and eventually serving as Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. He died in 2013 at age 97. The park was dedicated and designated in 1967. The park is also known as “Dinosaur Park”, although the Denver artist who designed the play sculpture said it was a dragon.
There was an active Garden Club in Southern Hills in the 60’s until the early 90’s. They placed the Southern Hills wrought iron signs, originally green with gold script and now black. They also donated several trees to Slavens Elementary. Several homeowners planted Bechtel Crabtrees along Dartmouth, and trees also in McWilliam’s Park. Scrapbooks and memorabilia from this club has been donated to and archived by the Denver Public Library.
University Hills Shopping Center is also part of the neighborhood to the east. It was originally built in 1953 as an open air shopping center with the department story May D & F (subsequently Foley’s and now Macy’s) as the anchor department store. May D & F had 3 floors, with a restaurant on the top floor, known as the Leadville Room, no doubt acknowledging the origins of the department store in Leadville during the silver rush in 1877. There were several popular, family-owned businesses in that shopping center, Yarbro Drug Store, Hested’s (five and dime), Dave Cook Sporting Goods, Fashion Bar, The Boy’s Store, and Lou’s Music Box, where I’m sure everyone bought their Beatles albums! In 1975, as was the architectural fashion at that time, it was enclosed, but in 1983 a fire consumed 40% of the structure. It was reopened the next year, and May D & F remained there until that location was closed as the store in Cherry Creek Mall opened in 1990. The land continued to be owned by May Centers, Inc, but eventually acquired in 1996. It was redeveloped as an open air shopping center with King Soopers, and was completed in 2001.