You are here

Place-based Essays

Essays in SAH Archipedia are broadly grouped as either place-based or thematic. Place-based essays include overviews of architecture in specific U.S. states and cities. Thematic essays examine architectural and urban issues within and across state and regional boundaries. Like individual building entries, essays are accompanied by rich subject metadata, so you can browse them by style, type, and period. SAH Archipedia essays are comprised of peer-reviewed scholarship (born-digital and print-based) contributed by architectural historians nationwide.

Thornton

By: Thomas J. Noel

Thornton (1953, 5,268 feet) is a city of more than 55,000 residents initially developed by Sam Hoffman, who began by building 300 speculative single-story ranch houses. Governor Daniel Thornton and actress Jane Russell presided at the grand opening. The town is named for him, Russell...

Northglenn

By: Thomas J. Noel

Northglenn (1959, 5,460 feet) is a city of over 30,000 with curvilinear residential streets laid out according to a master plan by the Denver city planning firm of Harman, O'Donnell and Henninger. The original community focal point, the Riverdale Grange Hall (1909), has been moved to...

Westminster

By: Thomas J. Noel

Westminster (1911, 5,280 feet) was named for the university established there in the 1890s. The school failed, but its towering Old Main became a focal point for the town that grew up in its shadows. Originally called DeSpain Junction, then Harrisburg, it was incorporated as...

Arapahoe County

By: Thomas J. Noel

Arapahoe County, Kansas Territory (1855), initially constituted much of what is now east central Colorado. After the 1858–1859 gold rush brought in an estimated 50,000 settlers, it was subdivided into smaller counties. The final surgery came in 1902, when Denver and Adams counties...

Littleton

By: Thomas J. Noel

The county seat (1861, 5,362 feet) is named for Richard S. Little, a surveyor, who laid out a tidy country town reminiscent of his native New England next to his Rough and Ready Flour Mill (1867). The Denver & Rio Grande arrived in 1871 and built a depot, followed by the Atchison,...

Columbine Valley

By: Thomas J. Noel

Columbine Valley (1959, 5,280 feet), modeled after the Thunderbird Country Clubs in Palm Springs and Phoenix, is wrapped around the Columbine Country Club and Golf Course. The Clubhouse (1955, C. Francis Pillsbury) is California ranch style with large expanses of glass, patios,...

Bow Mar

By: Thomas J. Noel

Bow Mar (1958, 5,500 feet) is located between and named for Bowles and Marston lakes in southwest suburban Denver. Lloyd J. King, founder of Colorado's King Soopers grocery chain, purchased the 575-acre parcel in 1947. He hired Denver landscape architects and city planners Harman, O'...

Englewood

By: Thomas J. Noel

Several earlier settlements consolidated in 1903 as Englewood (1903, 5,306 feet), the largest town in the county until overtaken by Littleton after World War II. Streetcar lines and train service, most memorably the horse-drawn Cherrelyn streetcar serving the South Broadway commercial...

Greenwood Village

By: Thomas J. Noel

An affluent suburb on the south side of Cherry Hills, Greenwood Village (1950, 5,422 feet) was one of the first places in Colorado to promote cluster housing and commons, epitomized by developer Robert B. Bogg's subdivision at the northwest corner of South Clarkson and East...

Cherry Hills Village

By: Thomas J. Noel

Cherry Hills Village (1920s, 5,381 feet) is named for the cherry orchards it displaced in the 1920s. Early plans by Saco R. DeBoer called for a quaint business section patterned after Henry Ford's Greenfield Village in Deerfield, Michigan. Commercial development was...

Aurora

By: Thomas J. Noel

(Note: Although the part of Aurora north of East Colfax Avenue lies in Adams County, everything within the city limits is treated in Arapahoe County.)

Aurora (1891, 5,342 feet) was founded as Fletcher by Denver developer Donald K. Fletcher. The town's original boundaries were...

Strasburg

By: Thomas J. Noel

Strasburg (1870, 5,756 feet), on the Adams–Arapahoe county line, was originally called Comanche. It was renamed in 1875 for John Strasburg, section foreman of the Kansas Pacific Railroad (KP, later part of the Union Pacific), whose crew once raced to build 10.25 miles of track in a day...

Byers

By: Thomas J. Noel

Byers (1868, 5,202 feet) was established along the Kansas Pacific Railroad and named for promoter William N. Byers, founder of Denver's Rocky Mountain News. After the railroad arrived in 1870, this became a rail and agricultural hamlet, with a general store, blacksmith shop, and...

Deer Trail

By: Thomas J. Noel

Deer Trail (1875, 5,183 feet) was named for the trail along Bijou Creek, first used by deer and other game, then by stagecoaches and the railroad. A depot and a stockyards helped make this a ranching center. The Arapahoe County Fairgrounds here are a legacy of the 1869 rodeo, which...

Douglas County

By: Thomas J. Noel

Established in 1861 with the South Platte River as its west border, Douglas County encompasses rolling prairie and pine-timbered hills. The mountainous southwest quadrant lies within the Pike National Forest. A once rural county originally known for its Black Forest pineries and its...

Castle Rock

By: Thomas J. Noel

Castle Rock (1871; 6,202 feet) was first settled as an agricultural community to support mining camps and Denver. Hungry early travelers supposedly called the butte northeast of town Pound Cake. Better known as Castle Rock, it gave its name to the town at its base, which became the...

Parker

By: Thomas J. Noel

Parker (1873, 5,870 feet) originated with the Twenty Mile House on the Smoky Hill Trail. The original 1863 log cabin stage stop stood 20 miles southeast of Denver on Cherry Creek. James S. Parker, for whom the town is named, converted the Twenty Mile House into a depot for the Denver...

Highlands Ranch

By: Thomas J. Noel

Highlands Ranch (1980, 4,563 feet), formed after the subdivision of the 22,000-acre ranch for which it is named. Within less than a decade it became the most populous community in Douglas County. John W. Springer established one of Colorado's most noted horse and cattle ranches...

Sedalia

By: Thomas J. Noel

Sedalia (1871, 5,860 feet) was established near the site of D. C. Oakes's 1859 sawmill, which exported lumber to Denver. Cattle roundup pens and a road along Plum Creek brought people here, as did an early livery stable and feed store and both the D&RG and Santa Fe railroads. The...

Deckers

By: Thomas J. Noel

Deckers (1896, 6,400 feet) is a fishing resort, earlier known as Daffodil, on the South Platte River where Steve Deckers opened a tavern, gas station, general store, and modest rental cabins. These were spared by the floods that washed away many pioneer structures. Lost Valley Ranch (...

Jefferson County

By: Thomas J. Noel

Established in 1861 as one of Colorado's seventeen original counties, Jefferson chose its oldest town, Golden, as the county seat. The county is watered by mountain streams flowing into the South Platte River. Ranching, farming, lumbering, and coal mining, the primary pioneer...

Golden

By: Thomas J. Noel

Squeezed into a narrow valley between North Table Mountain and South Table Mountain on the east and Lookout Mountain on the west, the county seat (1859, 5,675 feet) has remained a small town physically isolated from Denver's sprawl. The town, reportedly named for prospector Thomas L....

Lakewood

By: Thomas J. Noel

Lakewood (1892, 5,440 feet) was platted in 1889 by William A. H. Loveland, the ubiquitous pioneer who also promoted Golden, built railroads, and in 1878 became the owner of the Rocky Mountain News. Lakewood first flourished as a health spa with the opening of the Jewish...

Morrison

By: Thomas J. Noel

Morrison (1873, 5,800 feet, NRD) was established by George Morrison, a Scottish stonecutter from Montreal. In 1864 Morrison homesteaded this area along Bear Creek, where he found fine red sandstone and opened one of Colorado's first quarries. After the Denver, South Park & Pacific...

Conifer

By: Thomas J. Noel

Conifer (1865, 8,270 feet), originally known as Bradford Junction, was a stage stop on the Denver and South Park Toll Road. It evolved into a town renamed for the surrounding evergreen forest, now diminished by residential development and a huge shopping center. Old Bradford Junction is...

Evergreen

By: Thomas J. Noel

Evergreen (1876, 7,040 feet) is named for its forests of large and abundant spruce, fir, and ponderosa pine. Originally logging attracted settlers, who operated a half-dozen sawmills along Upper Bear Creek. Governor John Evans and other prominent Denverites built rustic summer homes in...

Pine

By: Thomas J. Noel

Pine (1882, 6,770 feet) once housed lumbermen but is now a mountain resort. Hospitable landmarks are the Bucksnort Saloon off Elk Creek Road in nearby Sphinx Park, a small log cabin with numerous additions, including outdoor decks and a satellite dish, and Meadow Creek Bed and Breakfast (...

Buffalo Creek

By: Thomas J. Noel

The town of Buffalo Creek (1878, 6,750 feet) was established along the Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad, whose grade and stone trestle and bridge foundations are still evident. The firm of Serrie and Geddes, leading early-day stonemasons and contractors in Denver, opened a...

Arvada

By: Thomas J. Noel

Arvada (1871, 5,337 feet), with its own large performing arts complex and a rejuvenated downtown, is one of Denver's more progressive suburbs. Long an agricultural town of several hundred, it became one of the county's fastest-growing communities after World War II. With a population of...

Boulder County

By: Thomas J. Noel

The discovery of gold in Boulder Creek and its tributaries led to the creation in 1861 of a county stretching from the eastern high plains to 14,256-foot Longs Peak and the Continental Divide. Mining, agriculture, and the University of Colorado provided the economic base, now bolstered...

, ,