P.T. Barnum of “The Barnum & Bailey Circus” bought 760 acres of undeveloped land just west of Denver and platted a subdivision in 1882. He paid $11,000 for the land. From this project, some years later, another development company continued where P.T. Barnum left off, subdividing farther south along Morrison Road. The following is taken from a 1946 newspaper article describing the town of Westwood. From these two projects grew “one of the most thriving and upcoming little cities in the west… Westwood, Colorado.”
“Before the depression of 1929, the area was little more than rolling prairie land. Westwood developed during the depression when times became hard, cheap land was the only land people could afford. It became a shack town, trailer town and tent town. Building lots were sold for $1 down and 50 cents a week. Then came World War II, and shack town became boom town. The Denver Ordinance Plant (present day Federal Center) was built west of Denver. Westwood was near the plant and land still was comparatively cheap, with building restrictions almost non-existent. Arms plant workers flocked to the town of Westwood. Houses, some below Denver’s standards, were rapidly built. In 1946, lots were selling on West Alameda Avenue for $10,000 a pair. Businesses increased from corner groceries to swank road houses, several with gross sales of $100,000 a year. The growth was too fast for any real community planning.”
On April 27, 1944, the suburb of Westwood in Arapahoe County, adjacent to the southwest corner of Denver, voted to incorporate as a municipality. The following year, with a population of 8,000, Westwood petitioned and voted for annexation to the City of Denver. However, a lawsuit filed by one resident delayed formal annexation for three years. On April 28, 1947, Westwood officially became part of the City and County of Denver.