Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Library to house new exhibit to the west side’s Jewish roots

If you were intrigued by our dive into West Colfax’s history as a center of Jewish pioneers in the early 20th century, you may care to stop by the Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Branch Library on Sunday.

Inside a synagogue in Lakewood that was once used by the Jewish Consumptive Relief Society. It was re-constructed in 1925 and now sits on the campus of the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. Sept. 18, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty; rmcad; lakewood; west colfax; jcrs; judaism; synagogue;
Inside a synagogue in Lakewood that was once used by the Jewish Consumptive Relief Society. It was re-constructed in 1925 and now sits on the campus of the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. Sept. 18, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty; rmcad; lakewood; west colfax; jcrs; judaism; synagogue;
Inside a synagogue in Lakewood that was once used by the Jewish Consumptive Relief Society. It was re-constructed in 1925 and now sits on the campus of the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. Sept. 18, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

If you were intrigued by our dive into West Colfax’s history as a center of Jewish pioneers in the early 20th century, you may care to stop by the Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Branch Library on Sunday.

At 2 p.m., the library will kick off a reception for a new permanent, interactive touch screen that aims to stand as a storytelling monument for the neighborhood’s Jewish roots. It’s open to the public and will include a quick presentation by Dr. Jeanne Abrams, the University of Denver’s expert on the subject, whose work was featured in our recent story.

Judy Joseph, who recently ended a term as a Denver Public Library commissioner, said she’s been thinking about something like this since the Gonzales branch opened in 2015.

In an ever-changing Denver, she said, it’s important for the library to preserve history in a way that’s accessible to Denverites, new and old.

Label Ginsburg in his grocery store on Grove Street in Denver's west-side Colfax Jewish community, circa 1925. "When a sign painter made a mistake and spelled the Ginsburg surname with a "u" instead of an "e," Label changed the family name." -Jeanne Abrams, "Jewish Denver 1859-1940" (Courtesy: Beck Archives special collection/University of Denver) judaism; denver; denverite; colorado; religion; history; archival;
Label Ginsburg in his grocery store on Grove Street in Denver’s west-side Colfax Jewish community, circa 1925. “When a sign painter made a mistake and spelled the Ginsburg surname with a “u” instead of an “e,” Label changed the family name.” Written by Jeanne Abrams in her book, “Jewish Denver 1859-1940” (Courtesy: Beck Archives special collection/University of Denver)

“As time has passed, people moved away and history was being lost,” she said. The new screen, she continued, is meant to be “an appreciation of the community who lived there before and continues to today.”

The display features profiles of notable community members through the years, including Golda Meir, who grew up along West Colfax before becoming the prime minister of Israel in 1969.

You're invited! (Courtesy: Denver Public Library)
You’re invited! (Courtesy: Denver Public Library)

While the event is open to everyone, Joseph says RSVPing to the event (by emailing mchrusciel@denverlibrary.org) would be appreciated so they can stock snacks accordingly.

Kevin Beaty

Author: Kevin Beaty

Kevin Beaty is a media producer with experience in a variety of settings spanning Hollywood film sets to international backpack journalism expeditions. He is on a never-ending quest to meld artful imagery, functional design and intimate storytelling. His biggest struggle in any given moment is whether to shoot stills or video. Find him on Twitter and Instagram at @kevinjbeaty.