Colonnade of City Benefactors, #9 WilliamWallace McLellan

W. W. McLellan

Ninth on my list of the Civic Benefactors is William Wallace McLellan.  McLellan, born June 4, 1835, died November 11, 1921 was a Canadian by birth.  He was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  He was married to Mary Anne (Tinsley) McLellan in 1860.  They had two sons and a daughter.

McLellan arrived in Denver in 1877.  He already was experienced in his career, a blacksmith for the railroad.  Early on, when moving to Denver he was a volunteer Fireman.  He worked his way up to the President of the Association of Master Blacksmiths.  In Colorado, he worked for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad.

W. McLellan was on the Denver City Council 1881-1885. He introduced an ordinance to purchase the land that eventually became City Park.  In one reference he was known as the “father of City Park”, although this title was also bestowed on others involved in the layout of the park.

McLellan believed in giving to the city and donated the gated entrance to City Park that now stands at York and 21st Avenue.  He donated the gates anonymously in 1904.  By 1905 it was known who the donor was.  McLellan felt that those who could, should beautify the city.


The gate, now at 21st Avenue, was originally near the corner York and 17th.  They were designed by the architect E. H. Moorman and cost $13,700.  Moorman also designed the Berkeley Lake Bath House.  The gates were moved in 1957.  The gates originally were lined up with the Thatcher Fountain and 18th Avenue.

W.W. McLellan was living at 612 6th avenue in 1890.  It is now a store front for a dry cleaners.  In 1894 McLellan was listed as living at 3039 Lawrence.  This house still stands.  It is a small Second Empire style house, measuring around 1,200 square feet.  A modest abode for someone that donated such an impressive monument.

By 1910 he was living in San Diego.  He vacationed in Biloxi, Mississippi, for the ten years prior to his death and passed away there in 1921, where his is buried.



Photos showing the alignment of the Thatcher Fountain and the old location of the McLellan gates.   Looking towards the fountain, and away.



The park was easily accessible by street cars by the 1880’s.  Downtown was just a half hour walk.



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This entry was posted on December 23, 2019 by in Larimer Street.
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