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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.

Estes Park

By: Thomas J. Noel

Estes Park (1875, 7,522 feet), at the main entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, is named for Joel Estes, who settled in this broad mountain valley in 1859. An abundance of game attracted sportsmen, most notably Irishman Thomas Wyndham-Quinn, fourth Earl of Dunraven, who attempted...

Laporte

By: Thomas J. Noel

Laporte (1860, 5,060 feet), the oldest community in the county, started with the 1859 cabin (now in Fort Collins Library Park, LR07) of Antoine Janis, a trader and interpreter. Sam Dion Cabin (c. 1858), 2710 Overland Trail, built by...

Loveland

By: Thomas J. Noel

Loveland (1877, 4,982 feet), founded by the Colorado Central Railroad and named for its president, William A. H. Loveland, has the grid plan of a railroad town. It became a large agricultural center after the Great Western Sugar Company built a plant (1901). Since 1985, Loveland has...

Weld County

By: Thomas J. Noel

Weld County (1861), named for Lewis L. Weld, the first secretary of Colorado Territory, is one of the richest agricultural counties in the United States. It has led the state in production of barley, beans, oats, sugar beets, hay, and cattle. Wheat, corn, hogs, and sheep are also...

Greeley

By: Thomas J. Noel

Greeley, the county seat (1870, 4,663 feet), began as the communitarian dream of Nathan C. Meeker, agricultural editor of the New York Tribune. Meeker and Tribuneeditor and one-time U.S. presidential candidate Horace Greeley helped make Greeley the West's second most...

Stoneham

By: Thomas J. Noel

Activity in Stoneham (1888, 4,600 feet) centers on the P&M Recreation Hall (1920s), a vernacular wooden structure with a false front and a magnificent back bar inside. A few trees, houses, a four-story metallic grain elevator, and one of the loveliest of the white churches of the...

Eaton

By: Thomas J. Noel

Eaton (1883, 4,839 feet) was platted by Benjamin Eaton, who later became governor of Colorado. A Great Western Sugar Company beet refinery dates from 1902. The town thrived on sugar beets and is notable for frame four-squares, such as those at 16 Cheyenne Avenue and 120 Maple Avenue,...

Evans

By: Thomas J. Noel

Evans (1869, 5,063 feet) was established along the Denver Pacific railway and named for its president, former territorial governor John Evans. This townsite was a part of the 900,000-acre grant received by the railroad. Although Evans was the first railroad boom town and county seat, it...

Platteville

By: Thomas J. Noel

Platteville (1875, 4,820 feet) arose as an agricultural center near the site of a nowreconstructed 1830s fur fort ( WE33). One of its landmarks is the huge Public Service Company Fort St. Vrain Nuclear Plant, the only one ever built in...

Fort Lupton

By: Thomas J. Noel

Fort Lupton (1869, 4,914 feet) traces its origins to a fur trade fort established in 1836 by Lancaster P. Lupton, a West Point graduate who left the army to join the fur trade. The adobe outpost along the South Platte River was abandoned in 1844, but the farm center established about...

Morgan County

By: Thomas J. Noel

During the 1860s Fort Morgan guarded the South Platte River route through the center of this agricultural county. Like the fort and the county seat, the county is named for Colonel Christopher A. Morgan, a Civil War veteran who never saw his namesake. Ranching prevailed until the 1880s...

Fort Morgan

By: Thomas J. Noel

The county seat (1884, 4,330 feet) began as a frontier outpost of sod and adobe buildings around a parade ground. Abner Baker, a member of the Greeley Union Colony, platted a town near the abandoned fort in 1884. The community developed after 1900 primarily as a live-stock, truck...

Brush

By: Thomas J. Noel

Brush (1882, 4,231 feet) began as a cattle shipping point on the Burlington Railroad named for cattleman Jared L. Brush. Unlike many small towns on the high plains, this one prospers. It is still a major cattle raising, feeding, and shipping center. People who like the small-town lifestyle...

Orchard

By: Thomas J. Noel

Orchard (1882, 4,400 feet) grew up near a large cottonwood grove shading the South Platte River, where Lieutenant John C. Frémont and a party of twenty-six men camped in 1842. Thereafter known as Frémont's Orchard or just Orchard, this tiny town starred as one of the sets in the...

Logan County

By: Thomas J. Noel

This high plains agricultural county carved from Weld County in 1887 is bisected by the South Platte River and the riverside trail that brought the first settlers in the 1860s. The river and extensive irrigation systems have made this one of the richest agricultural counties in Colorado...

Sterling

By: Thomas J. Noel

The county seat (1884, 3,935 feet) was founded as an agricultural colony in 1873 and incorporated eleven years later. The first irrigation ditch and the post office arrived in 1874, when the town was laid out by a railroad official who named it for his hometown in Illinois. Sterling...

Merino

By: Thomas J. Noel

Merino (1883, 4,035 feet) amounted to a single store until the arrival in 1907 of a newspaper to puff the town, the Merino Breeze. Soon after, a doctor and “veterinary dentist” came to town. His services provided a boost in amenities, replacing those of the former blacksmith...

Peetz

By: Thomas J. Noel

Peetz (1908, 4,432 feet), named for homesteader Peter Peetz, embraced a 1907 homesteaders' haven of sod houses known as Sod-town. After the claims were proven, soddies were often replaced with cement houses, of which a few remain. Overlooking the primitive buildings and lack of timber, the...

Sedgwick County

By: Thomas J. Noel

Sedgwick County (1889), in the extreme northeastern corner of Colorado, was named for General John Sedgwick, whose name had also been given to a fort built nearby in 1864. Sedgwick County has been the major gateway to Colorado for travelers following the South Platte River, the first...

Julesburg

By: Thomas J. Noel

Englishman William A. Bell, a Cambridge graduate and railroad investor and promoter, watched Julesburg, the county seat (1860, 3,477 feet) being born. “Townmaking is reduced to a system,” he explained, in New Tracks in North America (London, 1870): “A long freight train arrived...

Phillips County

By: Thomas J. Noel

The Lincoln Land Company, a subsidiary of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (now the Burlington Northern), created the major towns of Amherst, Holyoke, Haxtun, and Paoli in 1887 when the railroad built through this prairie region. Following its formation in 1889, Phillips produced...

Holyoke

By: Thomas J. Noel

The county seat (1887, 3,746 feet) was named by the general superintendent of the Burlington Railroad for his son-in-law, Edward A. Holyoke. This division point on Frenchman Creek was laid out on a grid. Grain elevators are the skyscrapers in Holyoke, which is still focused on its main...

Yuma County

By: Thomas J. Noel

Yuma County (1889) borders on Nebraska and Kansas and takes its name from the town of Yuma, the first county seat. Wide, high prairie is broken by the sometimes dry Arikaree River and two forks of the Republican River. The Republican's north fork flows through Wray, and its south fork...

Wray

By: Thomas J. Noel

The county seat (1882, 3,516 feet), located in the valley of the north fork of the Republican River, has a more sheltered and moister climate than the surrounding high plains. Limestone cliffs to the south and sand dunes to the north frame a tree-shaded oasis. The town began as a Burlington...

Hale

By: Thomas J. Noel

Hale (1890, 3,600 feet) is distinguished by the antiquated frame general store, where the clerk presides primarily over fishing gear. Because of its isolated location, high winds, intense summer heat, and sudden storms, the tourism expected to follow completion of Bonny Dam (1951, U.S....

Yuma

By: Thomas J. Noel

Yuma (1885, 4,132 feet) developed from a railroad camp near the grave of an Indian teamster named Yuma, who died while working on the original roadbed in the early 1880s. Yuma's grave was rediscovered in 1920, when a new roadbed was built, and now has a historical marker. The railroad...

Kit Carson County

By: Thomas J. Noel

The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, the driving force behind settlement, created and promoted most of the towns in this county on the Kansas border, which came into existence in 1889. Of thirty-seven post office towns, only six still appear on highway maps. Some...

Burlington

By: Thomas J. Noel

The county seat (1888, 4,163 feet) was apparently named for Burlington, Kansas, from which many early pioneers came. Of some 7,000 county residents, about 2,900 live in this ranching and farming hub. Burlington boasts a good collection of antique buildings, salvaged throughout the...

Lincoln County

By: Thomas J. Noel

This rural county has about twenty ghost towns, five lively towns, and the dying towns of Bovina, Boyero, Karval, and Punkin Center. I-70 serves as a lifeline to a shriveling number of farms, ranches, and residents. From a peak population of 8,272 in 1920 the county has declined to...

Hugo

By: Thomas J. Noel

The county seat (1871, 5,046 feet) was named for pioneer Hugo Richards, an official of the Holladay Overland Express and Mail Company. Hugo started out as a stagecoach stop, but after the Kansas Pacific arrived in 1870, it became an important cattle shipping point. Its finest hour came when...

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