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Dumping Bodies in Denver Lakes

The other day I emailed on of my favorite sources, Jerry Michals from the Denver Firefighter Museum. I wanted to know if Denver Fire would have been the ones to look for bodies in lakes, you know, incase one of my characters gets a crazy idea, and how would they have done it? I pictured dredge machines and scuba divers and then remembered I was talking about 1912. This is his response:

Chistmas [sic] Day on City Park Lake, Denver from Denver Public Library Western History and Genology Digital Collections

"The DFD did not form a Rescue Squad until the mid 1920’s and did not have a diving helmet and suit until the late1920’s. It did not work well as Denver’s shallow lakes, 15’ to 20’, had very deep mud and the weighted boots had little mobility and tired the diver quickly. We went to scuba after WWII. The lakes were drained and scraped about every 30 years. Stealing a pavilion boat and dumping a body in the middle would be easy with the lake far away from main roads. In 1912 Colorado Boulevard was the end of the street car lines and Park Hill was just beginning to get paved streets and selling home lots.

The DPD would supervise the DFD crews that would have helped with lake recoveries using a large 3-pronged grappling hook from a row boat in the early 1900’s. The hook was standard equipment on the later Rescue Squads an actually worked the best. Most of the rescues were from falling through the thin ice pockets common in lakes with mud and duck poop creating hot spots for thin ice. Children playing were the most common victims. The city lakes were popular for getting rid of things.

After September, 1912, Station 18 at 22nd and Colorado Blvd (a new bungalow station that is still there but now a police gang unit station) would be first to respond. The ladder truck from Station 15 would also respond and if more help was required, Station 8 would send a ladder truck. They would use City Park boats. Station 18 had a motorized Seagrave hose wagon and the trucks would be horse drawn. So at the time the only policy was dragging the lake which was not uncommon.

The park had a horse riding and racing track at the NE corner and had lots of statues and winding roads. The pavilion looked different before the 1929 remodel. It had many tall trees and gardens and very dark at night."

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