Art & History

For more than half a century, the Lowry Air Force Base served our country by preparing military warriors from all branches of the U.S. and Allied Forces.  During its 57-year span, military veterans acquired technical skills to sustain Air Force operations through World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War and Vietnam.

Lowry sustained aerial operations from 1938 to 1966.  At the time, the main focus for the Lowry Air Force Base was technical training, including aerial photography.  By the 1950’s, air and space technology came to the forefront, with missile specialists being trained at Lowry at a rate of 1,000 per year. During World War II, Lowry became so critical in providing trained personnel to the U.S. military that the base population reached 20,000 and operated in three shifts, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day.  The Lowry Air Force Base motto,  Sustineo Alas (I Sustain the Wings), may be seen on many of the historical buildings that remain in Lowry today.

It was during the 1950’s that Lowry became the Summer White House of President Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie Doud Eisenhower.  The First Lady’s family lived in Denver.  The Eisenhowers would travel to Lowry on the presidential plane, named The Columbine, just like the Colorado State Flower.  The first couple would attend services at Chapel No. 1.  The United States Air Force Academy was established and located at Lowry from 1955 to 1958 while the permanent campus was being constructed in Colorado Springs.

More interesting Lowry history

  • As many as 1,500 Arapahoe Indians set up camp along Westerly Creek in what is now Lowry in the 1840’s and 1850’s.
  • In 1888, Lowry’s northwest neighborhood was home to Jarvis Hall, a Christian military school, which burned to the ground in 1901 from a chemistry project gone wrong and was never rebuilt.
  • From 1904-1932, Lowry was the Agnes C. Phipps Memorial Sanatorium, a 150-bed facility boasting the curative properties of Colorado’s climate.  The oldest structure still standing in Lowry, built in 1904, was a part of the original Sanatorium campus and is now a private residence at 7400 E. 6th Ave.
  • Lowry is named for Lt. Francis B. Lowry who was killed during aerial combat while serving as an aerial photographer in the U.S. Army Air Service in France in 1918 and who was laid to rest in Fairmount Cemetery just south of Lowry at Alameda and Quebec.  His grave is marked by a large monument that maybe seen today, nearly 100 years later.
  • Charles Lindbergh landed at Lowry Field on August 31, 1927 on a publicity tour after his historic cross-Atlantic flight.

History of Redevelopment

After the closure of Lowry Air Force base in 1994 a reuse plan was adopted in 1995 and the redevelopment of Lowry began. Through out the process of redevelopment preservation of Lowry’s historic past was of paramount importance.

Lowry Air Force Base’s massive hangars were repurposed to house the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, Big Bear Ice Rink. Along many smaller offices, and stores are now at home in these massive structures.

Redevelopment of the former steam power plant into modern stylish lofts, preservation of the Eisenhower Chapel for community use and appreciation along with a handful of other buildings repurposed for modern use.

For even more information visit

Timeline of Redevelopment

February 1991 Lowry closure announced
April 1991 Intergovernmental Agreement signed by cities of Denver and Aurora to establish the Lowry Economic Recovery Project (LERP)
November 1993 Lowry Community Reuse Plan submitted to the Air Force
June 1994 Department of Housing and Urban Development approves funding to facilitate a local compromise on the allocation of homeless housing units at Lowry. Compromise leads to the Base Community Redevelopment and Homeless Assistance Act of 1994
August 1994 Air Force approves Record of Decision for property disposition.
Lowry Redevelopment Authority (LRA) formed
September 1994 Lowry Air Force Base closes
April 1995 Lowry Community Reuse Plan adopted by Denver and Aurora City Councils
  June 1995 LRA awarded $6.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration for infrastructure improvements
July 1995 LRA purchases 849 acres of Lowry property from the Air Force through a $32.5 million economic development conveyance
September 1995 Bonfils Blood Center renovated the former commissary and became the first commercial tenant at Lowry
March 1996 First buildings demolished; First commercial contract signed for the purchase of an aircraft hangar to be developed into a public ice skating and hockey arena
April 1996 $40 million, 30-month infrastructure project begins–runways demolished
June 1996 Zoning approved to accommodate new residential and commercial development; LRA becomes first military base redevelopment agency to sell revenue bonds ($33 million) to finance infrastructure improvements
January 1997 January 1997 LRA announces future installation of high-tech wiring systems new at Lowry; First new roads open to the public
April 1997 LRA awarded $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration for center infrastructure
August 1997 Lowry named “Facility of the Year” by the National Association of Installation Developers
September 1997 Lowry named “Real Estate Project of the Year” by the University of Denver Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management
October 1997 New home construction begins; Plans unveiled for 800-acre public parks and open space system
April 1998 First residents move into new homes
June 1998 Lowry Community Grand Opening; Westfield Development Co. becomes first commercial developer in Lowry Park
August 1998 Homebuilder Association of Metro Denver holds Parade of at Lowry; Lowry receives “Governor’s Smart Growth and Development” award for urban planning and development
March 1999 COPIC Companies named corporate anchor of Lowry Community — first commercial construction begins
April 1999 Lowry named “Community of the Year” by the Home Builders’ Association of Metropolitan Denver
September 1999 Three new schools open at Lowry — Denver Academy of Torah and Logan School for Creative Learning, followed by Bishop Machebeuf High School in December; Jackie Robinson Baseball Field dedicated as the centerpiece of the Lowry parks plan
January 2000 January 2000 Lowry receives “1999 Sustainable Community Award” from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and National Association of Counties; Lowry awarded the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s “Secretary’s Award” for innovative collaboration and sustainable growth
September 2000 First annual Glory Days neighborhood celebration
January 2001 Construction in Lowry’s Northwest Neighborhood begins
July 2001 Construction of Lowry Town Center begins
August 2001 First parks construction underway with Bayaud Park in Southwest Neighborhood, followed by Crescent Park in Northwest Neighborhood
November 2001 Crosswinds office development launched
March 2002 Schlessman Family Library opens
August 2002 U.S. Air Force privatizes environmental cleanup of Lowry sites
February 2003 Lowry named “Business Park of the Year” by the National Association of Industrial/Office Properties (NAIOP) – Colorado
October 2003 Ten more merchants have opened in the Town Center
February 2004 Lowry Community Land Trust begins construction on its first affordable – Mapleton Park Townhomes
June 2004 Research shows that the Lowry Redevelopment has created $4 billion economic benefit to the region
September 2004 Lowry celebrates 10 years of redevelopment and its $4 billion economic impact on Denver, Aurora and the state
October 2004 Five commercial buildings break ground: Lowry Medical Center, 24 Hour Fitness, Iris Building, State Farm Insurance and Power House Office Condominiums
March 2005 Concrete recycling program concludes after turning 600,000 tons of material into aggregate for 23 miles of new roads
July 2005 Lowry Medical Center opens; its 200 employees join Lowry’s growing medical community
August 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission votes to close the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and move the Air Reserve Personnel Center to Buckley Air Force Base
October 2005 Lowry Town Center District takes shape as 12 residential, commercial and mixed-use buildings are under development
January 2006 The Lowry Redevelopment Authority assumed responsibility for most remaining environmental activities at Lowry
March 2006 Lowry again named most expensive zip code in Denver, showing home values holding strong in uncertain market
April 2006 New research shows the Lowry redevelopment created a $5.7 billion gross economic impact between 1994 and 2005More than 25,000 people live, work or go to school at Lowry
May 2006 Six commercial buildings break ground the Lowry Town Center District
July 2006 Public planning process begins for Buckley Annex
 2006 The majority of the remaining environmental cleanup is privatized with the LRA and its cleanup partner assuming responsibility. Site work begins for the East Neighborhood Lowry Medical Center opens Construction begins on City of Ulaan Bataar ParkTavern Lowry opens its restaurant, bar and concert venue Lowry Professional Building and Promenade Place break ground Renovation begins on the historic Officer’s Quarters on Quebec Street Falcon Point Land Trust homes begins construction
 2007 Lowry retires Revenue Bonds 4 years early Buckley Annex slated for closure; planning for redevelopment begins East Park home construction begins Wings Museum begins major renovations Mira Vista Golf Course closed to begin construction of a new Tom Doak designed course Grand Reopening of refurbished Eisenhower Chapel Falcon Point Townhomes grand opening Lowry Medical Plaza opens
 2008 Lowry homes top metro markets in appreciation 2000-2007LRA refinances TIF to include extra amenities for the Lowry communityHangar Lofts delivers first homesNWN Building 667 demolition beginsJaydyn Court breaks ground at Quebec and 3rd AvePresales commence in East Park; Arbors, Standard Pacific begin construction and first resident arrives in NovemberLuce condo development celebrates grand openingCapital Pacific in NWN and Steam Plant Partners sells final unitsTapestry Flats completes construction in NWNA redevelopment plan is submitted to the Air Force and HUD for the Buckley Annex
 2009 David Weekley Homes and Berkeley Homes join the East Park home buildersLowry’s new Common Ground Golf Course (the old Mira Vista site) opens under ownership of the CGA and CWGASt. Charles Town Company sells last historic Gallantry at Lowry home, formerly used as officer’s quarters.The Great Lawn, a 50-acre park, opens in Lowry; City of Ulaan Bataar Park and East Park’s Prospect Park completed; Linear Park construction begins in East Park Denver Hospice and Total Longterm Care break ground. Last building demolition completed as the LRA operations building comes down. Signals installed at Lowry Blvd/Great Lawn Park and 11th and Uinta
 2010 Home construction continues in EastPark The Buckley Annex redevelopment plan was approved by the Air Force and HUD Construction begins on a combination project to relocate the Westerly Creek channel, create new amenities of trails through an open space and to the top of the Westerly Creek Dam and a dog park. Total Longterm Care and Denver Hospice have grand openings
 2011 Phase I of the Hangar 2 project begins on the storage facility interior to the hangar with construction planned for the addition of a dining district to follow improvements to the Kelly Road Dam drainage channel, amenities in the wetlands area and access to the top of the dam are begun Wings Museum raises the B-52 plane onto pedestals and begins construction on a new entry and plaza
 2012 Primrose preschool opens. The Beer Garden is added to Hangar 2 dining district with plans for four additional restaurants. The LRA takes deed to Buckley Annex property (now known as Boulevard One)
 2013 Eating Recovery Center expands facilities in former Westerra Credit Union building. Boulevard One General Development Plan approved. Demolition of former DFAS building started. Infrastructure work begun for first phase of residential units at Boulevard One.
2014 Completion of Park Lane closes out residential development in NWN. Plans approved for the final two custom homes on 6th Ave. Construction complete in East Park residential neighborhood. Hangar Lofts 2 (Century Communities) planning for 26 single family units. City council approves first 3 residential zone applications for Boulevard One.

Historic Buildings

Then Now
Hangar #1 Wings Over the Rockies Museum
Fire Station Colorado Free University
Theater International School of Denver
Steam Plant Luxury lofts
Officers Club Stanley British Primary School
Visiting Officers Quarters Aspen Village at Lowry Retirement Community
Base Headquarters Grand Lowry Lofts apartments
Photography School Colorado Allergy and Asthma Centers
Commissary Bonfils Blood Center
Liquor Store Lowry Community Christian Church

Historical Lowry Air Force Base Map

John Hand Theater

John Hand Theater is tucked away near 1st and Quebec in the Colorado Free University building. Originally named “Toad Hall,” it was renamed in honor of its founder, John Hand, and presented its first main stage production in October of 2014. The theater is housed in the historic Air Force Base Fire Station, the main stage and backstage areas reside where fire trucks once stood at the ready. Hand procured seats from a defunct movie theater in California, keeping with the historic charm.

“The Hand” is home to two companies, Firehouse Theater Company and Germinal Stage Theater. John Hand Theater produces 9 shows a year and the seasons run like an academic year – end of August through August of the following year. To buy tickets for one show or a season pass, visit the individual theater company’s websit;, for Firehouse Theater Company buy here and for Germinal Stage buy here.  The theater seats 85 patrons, creating an intimate setting and ensuring that everyone gets a good seat. Outside there is easy, free parking and inside you can find a small selection of reasonably priced snacks and drinks to enjoy with the show.

For more information about how to become a part of a particular show or of the larger Denver theater community, visit the Colorado Theatre Guild.

Eisenhower Chapel

Deeply steeped in history the Eisenhower Chapel was the first chapel to be built on the Air

Force Base and was officially noted as building 27. This non-denominational gathering place was originally one of four chapels that were built semi temporary structure for enlistees to have a place of worship.  While the other three buildings have since been demolished building 27 was preserved due to its connection to President Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower who attended services with his wife Mamie during the summers of his administration.

In 1981 the chapel was listed on the National Historic Registry.  And in 2007 the chapel was moved 40 degrees to face the plaza.

Under the stewardship of the Lowry Foundation the chapel is a wonderful gathering place for events, concerts, meetings, and celebrations.

To set up a visit or find out about reserving space, contact Cathi Long at the Lowry Foundation, 303-344-0481, or email

Like the Eisenhower Chapel on Facebook.

The View from Ike’s peak
Chapel No. 1

Public Art

Like many communities across America, Lowry has added art to its public spaces. The addition of art in public spaces reaches a community far larger then galleries and museums. It makes art a part of our everyday existence, a topic of engaging dialogue in our community and part of the community backdrop.

To see all of the public art pieces mapped out and read a description with links to artists website and more please click here.

To see more pictures of all of the public art in Lowry click here.

The Lowry Air Force Based closed in 1994 after graduating more than 1.1 million Armed Forces.  The base has since been redeveloped into the lovely, master-planned community we call home today.  Several of the original Lowry Air Force Base structures, including some of the aircraft hangars, were creatively repurposed and are still in use, contributing to the rich sense of history we enjoy here in Lowry today.

If you would like to read more about Lowry’s history, we highly recommend this page’s source material.  You may also want to peruse the Historic Buildings Photo Album for a look at Lowry’s past and the Historic Buildings Repurposed to see the modern rendition. To view a map of all the historic buildings and to learn more about each of them please visit our Neighborhood Directory by clicking here.

Lowry has more then eighteen pieces of public art, created by artists from across Colorado contributing to the beauty, the history and the culture of Lowry.  The Lowry Foundation are the curators of all of the public art in Lowry.  Learn more about Lowry’s public art and see photos on the Public Art page.

Lowry Air Force Base:  Images of America by Jack Stokes Ballard, John Bond and George Paxton
may be purchased online at, purchased locally at Wings Over the Rockies Museum in Lowry or may be checked-out at Lowry’s Schlessman Public Library.

Lowry:  Military Base to New Urban Community by Thomas J. Noel and Chuck Woodward
may be purchased through the Lowry Foundation.

Strategic Air Command – Lowry Air Force Base

Lowry Metamorphosis