1207 Pennsylvania Street
Sat and Sun 10AM–4PM
Architect: Reiche, Carter and Smith
Architectural Style: Richardsonian Romanesque, Queen Anne
Year Built: 1891
Designation: National Register of Historic Places, Denver Landmark
Photo Retrictions: No
This elegant residence was built out of red-orange Manitou sandstone, which was laid in square-cut blocks on regular courses, alternately wide and narrow. The rough-hewn style of stonework, popular in the 1890s, was made possible by the availability of native stone. The house exemplifies the exuberance of the Victorian era with its Corinthian columns, bay windows, gothic ornaments, a circular porch, and turrets. It has retained many of the original features, such as plasterwork, windows, and woodwork, with a well-preserved main oak staircase.
The house has changed hands often over the years. It was originally built for Jeffrey and Mary Keating. He was a real estate developer and a founder of the McPhee and McGinnity Lumber Company, and she was active in social affairs and charity events. The Keatings lived in the house for no more than two years, for reasons unknown. The house was then rented to Charles and Hester Bayly. Charles was the owner of Underhill Manufacturing Co. before it was sold in 1902 for $30,000 to industrialist John Nesmith and his wife Elizabeth. He was one of America’s leading authorities on chemistry, smelting, blast furnaces, and civil engineering. The family lived here until 1910 and maintained ownership for many years after.
Following the deaths of Charles and Hester Bayly, the title passed to their two daughters, and from 1910 to 1923 they rented the house to Charles and Mel Loughridge. In 1923 a $20,000 warranty deed marked the transfer of the house to Buena Vista Crew. She and her husband Frank moved into the home and in 1924 converted it into the Buena Vista Hotel, after which the Crews left the residence and hired a manager. In 1933, they sold the house to Elvia and George Harvey, who maintained it as the Buena Vista through 1935, when the hotel ceased operation, and then rented it to Clarence Walters for one year. Records indicate the home was vacant in 1937.
The next year the Harveys sold the house to James Weatherly and his wife Fay. They leased the home and it became a succession of convalescent homes through 1942. In 1944 Ophelia Harrelson bought the property, and soon after opened it as the Fuller House Apartments. In 1949 Bessie Farr, manager of the apartment house, and a friend, Mabel Hill, bought the property for $35,000. Two years later they sold it to Effie Willhite, who renamed it Willhite Guest Home. In 1954 it became the Holly Apartments and remained so into the 1960s. At that time, it was converted into office space.
The space was renovated in 1993, and has been the Capitol Hill Mansion Bed and Breakfast Inn, operated by father-and-daughter team of Carl Schmidt II and Claire Bailey, since 2001.
The architects were C.M. Reiche, R.M. Carter, and C.A. Smith, who had an office together in the Bank Building at 17th and Arapahoe.
The lot on which the Keating House was constructed was plotted in the late 1860s as part of Porter’s Addition. Henry Porter was a telegraph builder, merchant, and entrepreneur who was responsible for the establishment of Porter Sanitarium in south Denver, which is now Porter Adventist Hospital. Other lot owners include Denver Mayor Marion Van Horn, abstractor Scott Anthony, entrepreneur Frederick Keener, and business tycoon George Schleier. Mary Keating bought several lots in 1890, and the Keating House was one of the last homes constructed in Capitol Hill before the Silver Crash of 1893.
Restoration and Reuse
In 1993, the house was purchased with the intention of converting the space into the Capitol Hill Mansion, which involved mainly restoring the original floor plan. Seven bathrooms were either added or upgraded, and a complete kitchen was installed, as only one existed in the house. Other changes, such as removing relatively new walls, opening up the rear staircase, and closing and/or moving doorways, brought the home back to its earlier architectural integrity. Amazingly, the plaster ceilings in the living room and dining room, the plaster walls in the foyer, the stained glass window on the landing, and most of the woodwork in the home appear to be original and unmolested by time or previous tenants.
Geology Tour of Denver’s Capitol Hill Stone Buildings by Jack A Murphy; Molly Brown’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood by Leigh A. Grinstead; www.capitolhillmansion.com.