|History||The Denver Federal Center was originally part of a large ranch known as "Down Dale" owned by the prominent Colorado pioneer Major Jacob Downing (1830- 1907). Downing was a noted lawyer and judge who achieved fame as a soldier during the Civil War and also at the infamous Sand Creek Massacre. In the late 1860s, Downing acquired a 2,000-acre parcel of land east of Green Mountain and proceeded to irrigate and fence the property. He planted fruit trees and sugar beets, and introduced the first alfalfa, quail and Hereford herd to Colorado. He also built a race track on his ranch where he raced his prized thoroughbred Arabian horses. Nothing remans of his ranch.
The irrigation ditch which runs through the Federal Center dates to the Downing years. In 1974, the Agricultural Ditch Company is still in existence and maintains the ditch on a regular basis.
The masonry flume which carries the irrigation ditch over McIntyre Gulch in the southeast quadrant of the Federal Center probably dates to the mid 1870s and is the oldest known structure on the Center. The aqueduct has been repaired a number of times as evident by the variety of building materials.
Jacob Downing died December 1, 1907 and his famous ranch lands were purchased from his estate in February, 1913, by Thomas S. Hyden Realty Company, of which William F. Hyden was then president. Over the years, the Company added to the Down Dale property until it owned a prospering 6,300 acre cattle ranch. The Hyden lands stretched from Garrison to Rooney Road, and from West Sixth Avenue south to Alameda Parkway. It appears that the small pond just west of Kipling know as Downing Reservoir was constructed by Hyden. Photographs from the late 1930s show the pond with an array of farm buildings located to the south of it.
Prepared by Christine Pfap, Historian, and Roy Winigate, Historian, with the Bureau of Reclamation. August, 1991|