The historic Dedisse Ranch, homesteaded by Julius and Mary Ann Dedisse in the late 1860s, was a working operation until acquired by Denver from the Dedisse heirs via “friendly condemnation” proceedings in 1919. The large hay meadow at the west end of the small village served as a ballfield for local residents after the hay was harvested.The first recreational feature created in the new park was the first mountain golf course in Colorado, established at the west end of the valley in 1921. Land for an additional nine holes was donated in 1927 by Harry Sidles, the owner of Troutdale-in-the-Pines, a nearby hotel and resort that attracted a wealthy clientele in its heyday. The course originally had sand greens; these were replaced by grass in the early 1980s.
An octagonal log clubhouse, designed by F.W. Ameter and built in 1925 for $9,000, continues to serve golfers and other visitors. Its central fireplace and rustic architecture charm diners at the Keys on the Green restaurant; a clubhouse provides golfers’ needs in season.In 1926, after years of planning, Denver began construction of the dam that would eventually form Evergreen Lake, the “perfect mirror” of Mountain Parks lands to the west and a centerpiece of historic downtown Evergreen. The lake enhanced Evergreen’s attraction as a destination, bringing fisherman, pleasure boaters, and, in winter, ice skaters to enjoy the outdoor recreation the park and lake offered. Between 1937 and 1939, men enrolled in local CCC camps were actively working in Dedisse Park. They built a stone-and-log picnic shelter in the north part of the park overlooking the lake, as well as roads to another picnic area and an arched stone bridge to provide access. They built a log “warming hut” to benefit ice skaters; it doubled as a boat house in summer. In 1995, this structure burned and was vacant for a time; it has now been restored and houses the Evergreen Nature Center.
Until the 1980s, the lake and golf course were managed by Denver Mountain Parks staff. Skating music played 12 hours a day, six days a week, and a second shift of Parks staff groomed the ice each night. Seasonal employees were added each summer to manage the adjacent golf course.