Red Rocks Is Finally a National Landmark

Red Rocks Amphitheater is now protected as a national landmark.
Red Rocks Amphitheater is now protected as a national landmark.John Schmelzel / Getty Images

Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a natural, open-air concert venue just ten miles west of Denver, was recently named a national historic landmark by the National Park Service. Nestled between massive vertical, russet-colored rocks on each side, and a large, disc-shaped rock behind the stage, Red Rocks has a seating capacity of nearly 9,500 persons, and has been filling up its seats with music-loving audiences for nearly a century.

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Red Rocks' designation was passed by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, and is the result of a 14-year effort for recognition by the local nonprofit Friends of Red Rock. Also included is the Mount Morrison Civilian Conservation Corps Camp, a collection of 18 buildings due south of the theater, where the crews who built the amphitheater into the stone were housed during the construction.

Those buildings hold special significance considering Red Rocks' role as a depression-era success story. Construction workers from the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps spent five years perfecting the stage and theater that would eventually showcase a long list of acts. The theater has housed everyone from John Denver to U2, and one of its crowning moments came on August 26, 1964, when it held its first big rock-and-roll performance with The Beatles.  

Red Rocks and the Mount Morrison camp join three other new National Historic Landmarks: the First Peoples Buffalo Jump in Cascade County, Montana, the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia, and Lafayette Park in Detroit, Michigan.

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