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Our Eclectic Architecture

Some History Behind The Homes of Park Hill

By Erik Carman, Photos by Cara DeGette

Special to the GPHN

In 1909 The Denver Republican declared Park Hill to have “the most attractive architecture in vogue.” Many of Denver’s top architects of the early 1900’s showcased their talents in Park Hill, leading to a variety of architectural styles. The Queen Ann-Victorian, Denver Square, Craftsman Bungalow, Tudor Revival and Colonial Revival are some of the most common homes built from the early 1900’s to the 1930’s.

As access to automobiles expanded, so too did access to Park Hill housing. What began as a neighborhood exclusive to the mansions of Denver’s well-to-do, soon evolved into a diversified community with a variety of housing architecture. Many of Park Hill’s most common single-story homes, such as the Bungalow and the Tudor, were built as affordable options for working families. Later, in the 1950’s as soldiers returned from WWII in need of housing, one-story brick ranches were added to the neighborhood’s housing supply.

The following guide illustrates some of the different design aspects and history behind Park Hill’s architecture.

Queen Anne-Victorian 

The Victorian style was a popular early Denver design, particularly from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. The Denver Victorian is characterized by rounded pillars at the front and intricate moldings & trim along the exterior. Victorians can be seen sporadically throughout the neighborhood.

American Foursquare “Denver Square” 

A common design of the early 1900’s, the American Foursquare or “Denver Square” as it is known locally, was a popular home in the first decade of the 20th Century. These homes differed from their Victorian predecessors due to their larger and iconic square shape, and more functional, less adorned style. Due to the timing of stylistic overlap between the Victorian and Foursquare designs, some Park Hill homes feature the shape of the Denver Square with the features of a Victorian. Large, two-story square homes with Victorian-style towers built into the corners epitomize this hybrid style in Park Hill.

Craftsman Style Bungalow 

As popular as the Denver Square was, the Craftsman Style Bungalow was an even more popular choice during the period of 1910-1920. These single-story, sometimes two-story, homes were very customize-able, leading to hundreds of different designs and floor-plans. No two Park Hill bungalows are exactly alike. Craftsman Bungalows are characterized by square brick columns and a wide, low-pitched roofline.

Tudor Revival 

Park Hill’s most iconic design, the Tudor Revival really began to take off in the 1920’s. As improvements came in transportation technology and cars became more easily available, people began to build homes into South and East Park Hill. The Tudor Revival style can be seen in a range of Park Hill architecture, from sprawling mansions to small, cottage-like homes. Tudors are characterized by steep pitched roofs, tall chimneys, elaborate brickwork and arched entryways. They are sometimes referred to as “Story Book” or “Gingerbread” homes because they resemble characteristics found in medieval English architecture.

Colonial Revival 

The American Colonial Revival was another popular style in the early 1900’s. These two-story homes featured red brick and a symmetrical front facade with an accented doorway, with windows evenly spaced on either side. The Colonial Revival style was drawn from the Revolutionary War era, which was largely influenced by the Georgian Architecture of Great Britain. Colonial style homes are common in the eastern sections of Park Hill.

Post-WWII Brick Ranch 

Soldiers returning home from World War II needed homes, and these brick ranches were constructed to fit that need. Mostly found in the northern sections of Park Hill above 28th Ave, these ranches were built with simplicity in mind. Averaging 1,000 square feet, with two to three bedrooms and a one-car garage were common. Decades later, many homeowners opted to convert the garage into an additional room, adding size for growing families.

Additional Styles

While not as common, the following styles can also be found throughout Park Hill.

Mediterranean Revival

Mediterranean Style homes typically have low-pitched roofs with ceramic tiles, tiled archways at the entry, and small balconettes surrounding doors and windows, often enclosed with wrought iron fencing.

French Eclectic

An Old-World style like the Tudor and Colonial Revival, the French Eclectic resembles a French manor house. The French Eclectic style is often characterized by a hipped, mansard style roof with small dormers. These are roofs that appear flat at the top, with a curved side that comes down from each angle, and small windows protruding half way down.

Spanish Colonial Revival

These are characterized by a flat roof, stucco exterior and Moorish inspired windows. They are occasional in Park Hill, but certainly noticeable.

Art Moderne

The Art Moderne style, or “Art Deco” was a modern style of the 30’s. These homes featured smooth curves and aerodynamic forms that were inspired by industrial design for ships, airplanes, and automobiles. Glass-block windows and horizontal grooves/lines are common in this style.

Erik Carman is a Park Hill-based Realtor and owner of ParkHillPro.com. He can be reached at Erik@ParkHillPro.com or 720-663-8999.


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