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Pearl Street Mall History

Pearl Street Mall History

The Pearl Street Mall was designated as the "Downtown Boulder Mall" on  Aug. 6, 1977. The new city park prohibited cars and allowed visitors to walk down the middle of Pearl Street.

The City of Boulder renamed the Downtown Boulder Mall the Pearl Street Mall in 1998.

Feature Stones

The weeping rock and the three granite split rocks on the 1100 block of the mall were installed on Sept. 9, 2002.

The split rocks came from a quarry near Sedalia, Colo. and were cut by Tribble Stone in north Boulder. The rocks started out as one big, round rock. Tribble set up a large outside saw and cut off a section to level out the bottom and then cut the other piece in two - creating the split rock walk-through. 

It was not originally part of the plan to have an additional stone, but since the City of Boulder owned the third rock, staff decided to place it at the very end of the mall.

The weeping rock is Colorado sandstone and came from a quarry near Lyons. Tribble prepared this stone and drilled a hole through it. A water pit with a pump east of the rock re-circulates the water. City staff trimmed the rock once it was in place to get the water to flow down all the faces. 

Family Gathering Area

The Family Gathering Area, located in the center of the 1200 block of Pearl Street Mall, is an area where adults can relax while kids romp on the rocks and have fun. The Family Gathering Area was installed in 1977 and still is a very special place for many who grew up in Boulder and played on the rocks in their childhood.

The stone ends on the bridge were installed on Nov. 5, 2002. The stone is grey limestone that staff purchased from Colorado Stone in Longmont. Julie Marin is the artist who carved the stone. She lived in Eldorado Springs at the time.

The bridge itself was installed a few weeks earlier. ARC City, a Boulder steel fabricator, built the bridge. The bridge features ipe, which is a very hard Brazilian walnut wood. 

The bridge replaced the original bridge that was flat, all timber, and prone to run-ins with children playing underneath.

In 2011, the Family Gathering Area was refurbished in order to provide an improved visitor experience. The original gravel surface was replaced with a soft surfacing material that allows for ADA access to part of the area. The original wood that was beginning to deteriorate was replaced with ipe wood like the bridge surface and is expected to last decades without deteriorating.

Flowers

The Pearl Street Mall tulips have provided visitors with a spectacular display every spring since the mid 1980s. Parks staff work directly with a representative from the Netherlands to plan a unique tulip bulb display each year that they enhance with winter-blooming pansies. Since 2005, Welby Gardens Wholesale supplier has donated half of the pansies for the Pearl Street Mall.

The annual flower display is planted by parks staff after the tulips stop blooming in May. Every bed and planter on the Pearl Street Mall is planted with breath-taking combinations of annual flowers and the raised beds continue blooming with an arrangement of perennial flowers

Pop-jet Fountain

The pop-jet fountain on the 1300 block of the mall was completed on June 6, 2002. The fountain jets and operational equipment was provided by Waterworks International.

Sources

Magee, Glenn. "Pearl Street Mall features." Email interview. 1 August 2008.

Pettem, Silvia. Positively Pearl Street : A Chronicle of the Center of Boulder, Colorado, 1859 to Present. Chicago: Book Lode, LLC, The, 2007.

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