Uncovering the history of Denver's homes
Are you dying to know how much it cost to build that historic house you've always loved? Want to know what year your house was built, who lived there, and what they did for a living? Curious about the architecture in your neighborhood?
Denver's real estate market may be in a frenzy these days, but here in the Western History and Genealogy Department, we look to the past to help people uncover the stories of their homes and favorite buildings.
The various resources in our Building History collection can help you piece together your home's unique story. Building permits can reveal the names of owners, builders, and architects, as well as how much it originally cost to build a home (and make you yearn for a time when an entire house could be built for $1,000).
The Sanborn Fire Insurance maps help give a more accurate date of a building and often lead to discoveries, such as finding out that your downtown Denver property used to have a barn, or that the small farmhouse pictured above was located on Colfax by today's Civic Center Park.
Assessor records tell who owned a particular property and city directories fill in the blanks with who used to live there. These, and other resources cover the history of Denver's neighborhoods, including photographs from many of them in the Digital Collections.
Check out the Denver Building History Tutorial or come by to learn about your home!
I love this tall, skinny house. It's sad that so many beautiful 19th century homes were razed to create parking lots but nice that tall, skinny rowhouse construction is now seeing a revival all over the city. Wish we had more of these original homes to restore now that people finally appreciate walkable communities again.
I love the architecture on this one, too. We have a lot of homeowners come in to the library to research their house histories; it makes us happy to know that historic homes are being appreciated and restored.
I am very interested in finding a certain type of house in Denver, built around 1950's and most probably by the city housing authority, a free standing most probably preformed concrete with steel windows. The same houses were built in Melbourne Victoria Australia in the same era, they would ave been built in estates, many streets of them. I am interested in comparing them - I saw them on a TV show obviously filmed in your city and thought I was lookimg at exactly the house I grew up in! Would be very intested to see a photo and also know te area were tey are situated. Many of those houses here in different suburbs have been demolished and structurilly altered once they have been sold to privat ownership. I would appreciate your help. Thank you Elise Young
What a fascinating question, Elise! We've added this question to our normal research queue and you should have received an email from us today to that effect. Thanks for reaching out!
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