Civil rightsHot Sheet

Stapleton: Do neighborhood residents want to dump the name?

Author: Mark Harden - April 24, 2018 - Updated: April 24, 2018

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Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood (stapletondenver.com)

Stapleton is the name of Denver’s newest large neighborhood, built on the grounds of the old Stapleton International Airport.

Stapleton is also the name of Benjamin F. Stapleton, who served as Denver’s mayor for five discontinuous terms (1923-31, 1935-47) and who was known as “Ben the Builder” for the civic improvements he fostered.

He also was a member of the Ku Klux Klan early in his tenure as mayor before breaking with the Klan in 1925. (Read more about his background here from Front Porch.)

For that reason, there have been calls over the years to drop the Stapleton name from the neighborhood that bears it.

As KCNC-CBS4 reports, that topic came up again at an April 22 neighborhood forum featuring a historical panel hosted by Patty Limerick, Colorado’s state historian.

Said Jacqueline St. Joan of the group Rename Stapleton for All:

“This isn’t a name that we want our children to be attached to as they grow up. People forget what the real history of Stapleton was, and instead attach it to their own personal lives.”

But not everyone in Stapleton agrees.

In fact, a survey by Stapleton United Neighbors found that 54 percent of Stapleton residents polled are not interested in changing the neighborhood’s name. Only 10 percent said they are “completely uncomfortable” with the name, versus 51 percent who said they are “somewhat comfortable.”

Adding a twist to the situation is the fact that Ben Stapleton’s great-grandson, state Treasurer Walker Stapleton, is running for governor. (Stapleton the elder died before Stapleton the younger was born.)

But as Limerick told CBS4:

“I do not have in any way a sense that anyone who has the name Stapleton now is responsible for the doings of the 1920s.”

Mark Harden

Mark Harden

Mark Harden is managing editor of Colorado Politics. He previously was news director at the Denver Business Journal; city editor, online news editor, state editor, national editor and popular music critic at The Denver Post; and an editor and reporter at newspapers in the Seattle area and San Francisco.