Camp George West – Amphitheater

Address15001 Denver West Pkwy., Golden 80401
QuadMorrison, 1965 (1980)
SectionS36, T3S, R70W
Elevationc. 5800
SourceHistoric Building Inventory Record #5JF 842.01, Colorado Historical Society, 1992,
OtherColorado Amphitheater
Initialdate1998-11-28 00:00:00-07
Latestdate2012-12-17 00:00:00-07
HistoryDesigned by Lieutenant Frank J. Ardourel and constructed between 1933 and 1935. General Neil W. Kimball conceived the idea for the amphitheater. It consists a horseshoe shaped seating area bounded by stone rubble walls with wall buttresses. Concrete steps lead to the amphitheater seating area. Three-foot aisles of grooved concrete runs through the center of the seating area. Benches are in long rows with stone rubble base topped by concrete slab seats. The benches are about one foot wide, with about three-foot dirt rows. The projection booth is a low stone building in the center of the seating area with a flat roof and a rectangular window facing the stage. At the southern end of the seating are a curved stone retaining wall and sloped ramps. Seating is stepped downward. The upper portion of the amphitheater has no seats. The stage area is in ruins and has metal pipe and barbed wire around it. In 1950, the stage was converted to ammunition storage. The amphitheater was built by members of the transit labor camp housed at the post 1933-1935. The amphitheater was a relief project using state funds to provide employment for the transient workers housed at Camp George West by the State Relief Organization. In August 1934, the transient camp numbered between 250 to 500 homeless men. Mules hauled the rocks from South Table Mountain to the site on rock boats. In 1935, the "Denver Post" reported that transient workers worked for 21 meals and $1 per week. When the amphitheater was completed, movies were shown every night during training, and people from the local community of Pleasant View were invited to attend. Before the movies, band concerts were held. Unfortunately, the site of the amphitheater was infested with rattlesnakes. Moviegoers arrived with forked sticks to remove the snakes and snake alerts occurred during film showings. Within a short period of time, the 2500 seat amphitheater was no longer in use. The Colorado Amphitheater was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 20, 1993 (5JF.842.1)