Denver’s Baker neighborhood survived the Great Depression, Colorado’s silver bust and even gang wars before gentrification spurred a renaissance in this historic district. Now, a new neighborhood tour offers a peek into preserved private homes and public institutions that reflect the Mile High City’s vibrant past and dynamic present.
The tour on Saturday will showcase the eclectic neighborhood south of downtown and known for the city’s largest collection of Queen Anne residences. The tour also incorporates a Collegiate Gothic school, as well as a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired library, and a quirky Arts and Crafts bungalow– the latter two are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“Our tour shows the transition of people and places, a history both solid and continually changing at the same time,” said Daniel Read, a Baker resident and tour committee co-chair..
One of the most unusual tour stops is the Henry Roth house, owned since 1979 by Michael Thornton and Donna Altieri. This is a property one must see to believe.
“No one knows this place is here,” Thornton said.
He and his wife swooned upon first sight because the place reminded them of summer camp. The corner lot’s dense vegetation, stone outbuildings, water features and winding brick paths — one inset with rusty wrenches — add to the summer-camp ambiance.
Roth and his young sons started construction in 1928. The frugal German salvaged materials for the “hundred dollar house” Thornton said was once described as “hobo Craftsman.” The Roths hauled cobblestones from the Platte River in a Model T. They repurposed metal barrel lids for fish scale-like roofing.
The house is much more than a roof overhead. Inside, the couple’s personal effects reflect their eclectic taste. They favor a cadre of Colorado artists and collect everything from ceramics to faux food, miniature chairs to wall-mounted vintage glass light fixtures, antique radios to “Beware of Dog” signs and just about everything in between.
The tour spotlights the Queen Anne house that Trish Nightingale-Peek and her husband Brian Peek call home. The house is resplendent with nostalgic curb appeal, complete with porch swing. Inside, the Peek’s home includes stained glass windows, pocket doors, decorative millwork, functioning transoms, exposed bricks and original pine floors from 1896.
“I first fell in love with the original brown wood in the foyer,” Nightingale-Peek said. “It’s not very often you see it. It’s always painted white.”
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Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle