Princeton of the West
Location: West side of the Westin Hotel, north of 104th Avenue, east of Westminster Boulevard.
Artist: Norris Design.
Year Installed: 2011.
How Acquired: Funded by the City of Westminster.
Comments: The history panel is located at the base of one of sixteen custom-designed light towers.
Princeton of the West
Located on top of Crown Point, Westminster University has a colorful history. The idea of a western university to compete with the finest eastern colleges was first conceived by Henry J. Mayham, a New Yorker. After observing the panorama view from Crown Point, the highest hill in what was then Arapahoe County, Mayham bought a section of land. He then convinced Reverend T.H. Hopkins, D.D. of Denver, that it was the ideal place for a Presbyterian University. On October 7, 1891, the Denver Presbytery approved the action of Dr. Hopkins and the Board of Trustees to incorporate the educational institution. Cost of building and grounds was estimated at $400,000. The University’s main building which was to be constructed from gray stone, was designed by architect E.B. Gregory in 1891. In 1892, a cornerstone was laid at the top of Crown Point. But soon the university was plagued by financial woes. The economic panic of 1893 tightened University funds and the construction was delayed. Mayham asked his good friend Stanford White to redesign the main building. The final plan called for the building to be constructed from red sandstone quarried from the Colorado Red Rocks region. It took another 15 years before the building was finished and classes held.
In 1915, the Board of Trustees had decided to change the coeducational school to an all- male University. Bad timing fell upon the school when the World War I draft left the University without students. In 1917, the doors to the “Princeton of the West” were closed. In 1920 the school was sold to the Pillar of Fire Church. The Church established an elementary school, high school, junior college, and a bible seminary during the following decade. In 1925 the name was changed to Belleview College and Preparatory School. The Belleview facility is still owned and operated by the Pillar of Fire Church. The large red sandstone building still stands on Crown Point. It can be seen from most of the Denver metro area and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.