By Annie Robb Levinsky
Executive Director, Historic Denver
On April 8, 2013 Denver City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing regarding the local landmark designation of 2070 Colorado Boulevard, known as the Margaret Long House. The hearing will be part of the regular council meeting, which begins at 5:30 pm at the City & County Building. A successful designation will confirm a happy ending for the iconic Park Hill home after a period of neglect and uncertainty that began in 2009 when Park Hill residents notified Historic Denver with concerns about the home’s future.
At that time, the property was on the market after a foreclosure, and had suffered several decades of neglect. However, its architectural character was obvious, and as Historic Denver researched the home a great Colorado story came to light. Subsequently Historic Denver contacted the real estate broker marketing the home, and fortunately a young couple with an interest in restoration purchased in the property. Together the owners, Historic Denver, and community volunteers, began preparing the application for local landmark designation for the property.
The home, situated across Colorado Boulevard from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, was constructed by Dr. Margaret Long in 1908. Long was the daughter of a Massachusetts Governor and Secretary of the Navy, and was a graduate of Smith College and Johns Hopkins Medical School. Long moved to Colorado in 1905 to help cure her Tuberculosis. She served on the staff of Denver County Hospital and in 1914 she was a co-founder and the first Medical Director of Sands House Sanatorium, a facility that served poor women and girls with Tuberculosis.
Dr. Long retired from her medical profession in the 1940’s and became a tireless explorer. She had a passion for the trails of the pioneers, and, accompanied by her younger brother, Pierce, she located many of the old trails and showed their relation to our current highways. She published her findings in a series of award-winning books, which included: The Shadow of the Arrow (1941), the Smoky Hill Trail (1953), The Oregon Trail (1954), The Santa Fe Trail (1954), and Automobile Logs of the Smoky Hill (1943).
Dr. Long died at the age of 83 on August 29, 1957, having lived at 2070 Colorado Boulevard for forty-nine years.
The home constructed by Dr. Long represents the Dutch Colonial Style with which she likely became familiar during her childhood in Massachusetts. The home also reflects elements of Classical Revival style due to the oversized two-story Doric columns and pilasters dominating the façade. Adding to the majestic presence of the house are the frieze decorated with circles above each column in the front, the centered front entrance with decorative sidelights containing a keystone and round-arch above each lintel, and the Palladian window with brick keystone between two round windows on the south side.
The Margaret Long House will be the second residence designated as a local individual landmark in the Park Hill Neighborhood, joining the Kappler Cannon Feiger Home at 19th & Kearney. The other locally designated landmarks in Park Hill include the Park Hill Branch Library, Park Hill Elementary and St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Margaret Long Home is located in the Park Hill National Register Historic District. Inclusion in the National Register District does provide homeowners access to preservation tax credits, but provides no protection from demolition, which can only be done through the local designation process. The owners of 2070 Colorado understand that through local designation they are safeguarding the future of the property so it can continue to serve as a Park Hill landmark for generations to come.