JCC DENVER HISTORY

1922

Denver’s first Jewish Community Center in 1922, was purchased in Bloomfield Park at West Thirteenth Avenue and Decatur Street for $22,525. Isadore Rude, donated the majority of the funds to purchase the land, which was named Rude Park in his honor. Leopold Guldman gave $5,000 to acquire a small house in that park, named in honor of his daughter, Louise, “who liked to read to the children.” He also endowed a Sunday school in Louise’s name that quickly grew to 120 pupils.

1947

The charter member of the Guldman Center, together with others, organized as the Jewish Community Center of Denver Planning Commission, applied for Articles of Incorpora­tion as the Jewish Community Centers of Denver. The recently organized Allied Jewish Community Council joined in providing deficit financing for the new group, whose goal was “to create a city­wide community center thoroughly representative of all Jewish organizations and individuals interested in the growth of a healthy Jewishcommunity in Denver.” There were 300 Center members during the first year.

1948

The National Jewish Welfare Board was invited to survey the Center program and suggest appro­priate expansion. As a result, a Jewish youth council was formed and programs for young adults, golden agers, and day camping at the West Branch wereinitiated under the guidance of JCC President J. Leonard Berman and Executive Director A. J. Auerbach. With expansion, it became necessary to rent facil­ities from other organizations and groups.

1953

The J Bar Double C Ranch was purchased under the able leadership and financial assistance of M.J. Baum, Jr., then President of the Jewish Community Centers. Instrumental in this major acquisition were Mr. Harry Pells, the Hon. Saul Pinchick, and Mr. Max Pomeranz. The new Ranch Camp, composed of 160 acres and a few buildings at Elbert, Colorado, initially served a group of some 35 young people. In June, 1962, the Center purchased an additional 180 acres of land. A small amphitheater was named “Eddie’s Corner” in memory of Eddie Glass. With the addition of the Lily Morris Recreation Hall and the Phil Perlmutter Memorial Swimming Pool, the facility eventually served 240 campers during the 1971 season.

1955

Under the leadership of the Allied Jewish Commu­nity Council and with the assistance of the National Jewish Welfare Board, a survey of therecreational and informal educational needs of the Jewish commu­nity of Denver was conducted. The findings under­scored the “evident fact that the present Center program andfacilities were insufficient and in­adequate to meet the needs of the Jewish people of Denver” and urged construction of a new Jewish Community Center.

1962

JCC President, Eugene Weisberg, and Executive Director Samuel Neuschatz, guided the opening of the new Jewish Community Center in June 1962. Only a portion of the desired facility was completed because of limited funds. The Interior of the completed complex was 62,000 square feet and included an administrative and art gallery wing, physical education and health club wing, and an educational/recreational wing that provided pre­-school facilities and meeting rooms. Exterior facilities included a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a 75-car parking area.

1971-1972

Construction began on the expanded Jewish Community Center. Newfacilities include The Shwayder Theatre, a theatre workshop, a large multi-purpose room, the Ida Adult Lounge and supportive facilities. The new facilities were dedicated on August 19, 1972.

1984

The JCC saw the JCC Tennis Center open with four indoor tennis courts and six outdoor courts, as well as locker rooms for both men and women, a pro shop, viewing area and lounge.

1995

JCC launched a $9 million renovation campaign that included 150 major donors. The grand opening of the newly renovated Jewish Community Center had a dedication in honor of Robert E. Loup, whom the center was renamed after. Loup was known for putting the community ahead of himself. His generosity spearheaded the campaign that paid for the JCC’s extensive upgrades and expansion.

2012

Construction began on expanding the theatre in the JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center. The newly renovated Elaine Wolf Theatre, included 400 luxurious seats and served over 26,000 people a year through a variety of programs and events that serve a broad demographic of cultural patrons. Annual events included exhibitions, concerts, films, author appearances, theatrical performances, and literary and film festivals.

2017

The Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center announced that a coalition of donors will infuse millions of dollars into JCC Denver, providing critical funds to enable the organization to sustainably operate on a debt-free basis, make needed improvements to its infrastructure, and strengthen its programs and services. The historic funding agreement includes multimillion-dollar leadership gifts from Rose Community Foundation, Mizel Family Foundations, Michael Staenberg, and the Sturm family, as well as significant support from other community donors. The money will be used to purchase the JCC Denver campus, which will be held in a nonprofit subsidiary of Rose Community Foundation (RCF) solely for the exclusive and perpetual benefit of JCC Denver.

2022

The JCC Denver has a long and valued story. Like many organizations, there have been peaks and valleys, and we have faced those together. The JCC is more than a building; it is home toindividuals and families. From infants, children, teens, young adults, parents, and seniors. It’s the place where activities abound, lifelong friendships develop, and no matter how long you might have been away, the doors to the JCC are always open. That’s what a community does and why our mission to serve, strengthen, andinspire a community guided bytimeless Jewish values is as relevant today as it was in 1922.