Skip to main content

DeBoer, S.R. (Saco Rienk)



  • Existence: September 7, 1883 - 1974 - 1974


S.R. (Saco Rienk) DeBoer was born on September 7, 1883 in Ureterp in the province of Friesland of the Netherlands. He went to school for engineering, but became ill and did not reach his dream of being an engineer that built bridges across the alps. On his doctor's suggestion, he moved away from engineering so he moved on to landscape design. He attended the Royal Imperial School of Horticulture in Germany in 1906, and opened his own private landscaping office shortly after.

In 1908, DeBoer became very sick again. Colorado and New Mexico had a reputation of having a good climate for health, making the decision to move to the United States a simple one. In America, DeBoer was unimpressed with the landscape and the cities and found work surveying and as a teamster with the Denver Parks Office for the city nursery where he quickly learned what will and will not grow in Denver. While working at the nursery the city's first landscape architect had died, leading Mayor Speer to look for someone to fill the role. DeBoer designed much of the landspace of Denver, serving as the city's landscape architect through 1930, playing a large role in the implementation of the City Beautiful movement of Denver.

Among all of the landscape additions to Denver that DeBoer was involved with, his vision included creating a botanical garden for the city. He became the Botanic Garden Committee chairman for the Colorado State Forestry Association which in 1941 resolved to "endorse and aid in the establishment of a botanic garden within and adjacent to Denver where various tree, shrub, and herb species may be tested." Also involved with the Denver Society for Ornamental Horticulture, the two merged in 1944 to become the Colorado Forestry and Horticulture Association which began the process of creating this theoretical botanical garden. The Association got 100 acres of land in City Park from the city and DeBoer drew up a plan that was accepted in 1951, but a botanical garden in City Park proved to be impractical, leading to the purchase of the 21 acre site at York Street.

DeBoer worked closely with M. Walter Pesman on various landscape projects for Denver Botanic Gardens and the city of Denver.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

S.R. DeBoer Papers

Identifier: HFLA 023
Scope and Contents

The S.R. DeBoer Papers include hand-drawn plans and drawings, photographs, and other materials about DeBoer and his work.

Dates: 1914 - 2008