Location Number:

23

Address:

1325 Logan Street

Hours:

Sat 10AM–4PM, Sun Closed

Architect: Varian and Varian
Architectural Style: English Cottage
Year Built: 1910      
Designation: Colorado State Register of Historic Properties, Denver Landmark
Photo Restrictions: No flash photography

Structure
The Denver Woman’s Press Club has a low-ceilinged entry with an open staircase that leads to a balcony overlooking the studio on the west side of the house. The studio has north skylights and a vaulted ceiling, which provided the house’s artist-owner with ample light as he worked in his studio.

The People
This was the studio-home for George Elbert Burr, one of America’s foremost and prolific etchers, watercolorists, and illustrators. His work can be found in collections at the Denver Art Museum, Colorado Historical Society, Denver Public Library, and other places in the United States and Europe.

“Bert” was born in Ohio in 1859, and was taught to paint and draw by his mother at the young age of six. In 1878, he enrolled in the Chicago Academy of Design, which is now the Art Institute of Chicago. For reasons unknown, he abruptly ended his only formal training in the arts after a short three months.  By the late 1880s he and his wife Betty (Rogers) moved to New York, where he became an instructor of drawing and an illustrator for such publications as Scribner’s, Harper’s, The Observer, Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, and The Cosmopolitan. At the request of President Benjamin Harrison, he joined an expedition through the south, the southwest, and the Pacific coast as a staff artist. 

Bert and Betty moved to Denver in 1906 for his health, and here he established himself as a true pioneer etcher of America’s southwestern landscape.  When his health took another downturn, they moved to Phoenix, where he died in 1939. In preparation for their move to Arizona in 1924, they sold the house and studio to the Denver Woman’s Press Club for $9,000. 

Chartered in 1898 with 19 members, including five female journalists and 14 society women, the club was founded to help host a national convention of General Federation of Woman’s Clubs.  The club’s first president was Minnie J. Reynolds, an influential suffrage leader who served as press secretary in the victorious 1893 Colorado campaign, and was later a national suffrage organizer, the first woman political writer for the Rocky Mountain News, and an early stump speaker and activist in the Populist Party.

The Club’s membership has included numerous local women leaders. Some of them include Mary Elizabeth Bates, one of the first female doctors in Denver; Mary Florence Lathrop, one of Denver’s first female lawyers; Helen Ring Robinson, Colorado’s first female state senator; Helen Marie Black, the first woman business manager of a major symphony orchestra and instrumental in the founding of the Denver Symphony; and Mary Coyle Chase, Pulitzer Prize winning author of the play “Harvey.”

Today the DWPC membership includes over 200 writing professionals in various fields, such as publishing, journalism, electronic communications, advertising, marketing, public relations, trade and business publications, history, education, freelance market, fundraising, and government. The Denver Woman’s Press Club has sponsored scholarships for promising female students, conducted writing classes and competitions, and hosted such literary luminaries as William Faulkner, Robert Frost, H.G. Wells, Barbara Cartland, Mary Higgins Clark, Barbara Kingsolver, James Michener, Robert MacNeil, Anna Quindlen, Tracy Chevalier, and Annie Proulx.

The Architects
Ernest Phillip Varian (1854-1927) began his career as a contractor and came to Denver in 1880.  In 1910 he formed the firm of Varian and Varian with his son Lester (1881-1967). Ernest was a charter member of the Colorado Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Restoration and Reuse
The house has had only two owners and has been well cared for. As part of its 1998 Centennial Celebration, the Denver Woman’s Press Club restored the building and garden with funds obtained from the Colorado Historical Fund as well as private donations. The small clubhouse is open to the public for author receptions and other special events.

References
Denver the City Beautiful by Thomas J. Noel and Barbara S. Norgren; Molly Brown’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood by Leigh A. Grinstead; “Artist Extraordinaire:  George Elbert Burr” by Peg Ekstrand, Life on Capitol Hill, April, 2016; High Altitude Attitudes:  Six Savvy Colorado Women by Marilyn Griggs Riley; www.dwpconline.org.