Sep 26, 2017
Denver's City Council voted 8-5 to approve historic district designation for the "Packard's Hill" area in northwest Denver at its meeting Monday, September 25. The vote followed a public hearing during which dozens of West Highland residents shared their views on the designation.
Seventeen neighborhood owners and residents applied to designate the six-block area of single-family houses as historic, based on its architectural and historical significance.
The Denver Landmark Preservation Commission unanimously found that the proposed district meets criteria for history and architecture at a July 18 public hearing. The Denver Planning Board voted 9-1 to recommend approval for the designation to City Council. (Planning Board reviews applications for historic district applications, not individual landmarks.) Council's Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee reviewed the proposal and advanced it to the full council at its August 22 meeting.
For complete information about the proposed district, including the application, staff report, and public comment for and against the proposal, visit DenverGov.org/historicdesignations.
Moving forward, property owners and residents inside the district's boundaries who wish to make home renovations or alterations may be required to undergo design review with Denver Landmark Preservation, depending on the type of project. Cosmetic changes (such as painting) that do not require permits or interior permitted work that does not affect the exterior of the structure does not require design review. Work that affects the exterior of the structure must be reviewed by Landmark Preservation Staff or the Landmark Preservation Commission, depending on the scope of the project. Additional information about design review is available at DenverGov.org/designreview.
The proposed district, located roughly between 32nd and 35th Avenues, Lowell Boulevard and the alley between Osceola and Perry streets, includes an original portion of the original Packard’s Hill subdivision, developed beginning in 1886.
Many houses are Queen Anne style structures primarily built before the Silver Crash of 1893. As the economy recovered, the changes in popular architectural styles are seen in turn-of-the century classic cottages and Denver squares.
Preferences continued to evolve as bungalows, English cottages, and terrace type buildings became more prevalent. Packard’s Hill shows Denver’s history of building predominantly in brick, while following nationwide trends in popular building styles. It also contains structures designed by noted architect William Quayle and master stonemasons David Cox and Tilden Cox.
In addition to being representative of the movement of residents from Denver to West Highland, the proposed district is also significant for its strong association with Denver women’s history and women’s suffrage activists. Early residents included Minnie Ethel Luke Keplinger, an artist active in the movement to establish Denver’s first art museum; Spring Byington, an acclaimed Oscar- and Emmy-nominated actress; Mary E. Ford, a doctor; and Bird Bosworth, a writer and newspaper reporter who was active in women’s rights and temperance.