Davis H. Waite, a schoolteacher and radical editor of The Aspen Times, was elected governor of Colorado on the Populist ticket in 1892. He shocked the wealthy power elite by siding with miners in bitter strikes, advocating the nationalization of businesses, and helping to make Colorado the first state to give women full voting rights. Waite returned to Aspen after one raucous term and lived in the two-story clapboard house until his death in 1900. Herbert Bayer was a later resident. In 1953 the house was sold to Robert O. Anderson, founder of Atlantic Richfield Company and longtime Aspen Institute chairman. The house now has additions and outbuildings wearing the same clapboard and shingled gables.
The Waite House is located in Aspen's West End, where silver-era cottages and mansions have been spruced up amid evolving architectural expressions of what constitutes appropriate restoration and infill. The Bruggerman residence (1987, Gibson and Reno), 401 Francis Street, is one of many attempts to update the Victorian idiom, while 120 East Francis Street (1880s; 1994 additions) is an example of a humble cottage turned into a mansion.