709 Clarkson Street
Sat and Sun 10AM–4PM
Architect: Fredrick Carl Eberley
Architectural Style: Classical Revival
Year Built: 1904
Designation: Denver Landmark & National Register of Historic Places
Photo Restrictions: No
The Adolph Zang Mansion is a two and a half story gray brick house equipped with a hipped roof, and is an unusually pure example of the Classical Revival style of architecture, which became popular after the City Beautiful Movement’s 1893 Columbian World’s Exposition in Chicago.
The symmetrical east-facing front façade is dominated by smooth two-story stone columns with Ionic capitals holding up a massive semi-circular entry portico. Curved stone steps echo the lines of the porch roof above and lead up to double entry doors. The leaded glass panels in the entry doors have the owner’s initials (AZ) worked into the pattern of the stained glass, and urn-shaped balusters and curved railings enclose the sides of the porch. Engaged stone piers complete the composition of the central portico as it meets the building. There is a cantilevered wrought iron balcony on the second floor above the entry doors, and a low curved wood balustrade mimicking the first floor railing encloses the third floor balcony.
The boxy symmetrical design is enhanced by a deep entablature that bands the entire building at the top of the wall. Oversized dentil brackets support the cornice and gutter while a smaller scale dentil course borders the top edge of the plain brick frieze. Brick cast into an egg and dart molding defines the bottom edge of the frieze, and subtle shadow lines of the recessed and cantilevered brick are used to define the architrave under the frieze as well as the quoins that accent the corners of the building.
The interior of the building is equally impressive. Many walls are covered in French silk and hand-painted murals adorn the ceilings, while some of the light fixtures and furniture is original to the house. Following the style at the turn of the century, each room has woodwork from a different species of wood, including a massive mahogany grandfather clock in the entryway. Zang commissioned his craftsmen to match the details of this clock when fashioning the built-in cabinets, fireplaces, and wood trim in the house.
Adolph Joseph Zang was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1856. When he was three years old his parents Phillip and Elizabeth Zang founded a brewery in Louisville named Zang and Company. Eventually the family sold the Louisville brewery and moved to Denver where they purchased the Rocky Mountain Brewery. In 1882 Adolph joined his father in the brewery business in Denver, which was known at that time as the Zang Brewery. The brewery was sold in 1889 to an English syndicate for $250,000, but Adolph continued to manage the business. The success of the brewery was cut short in 1916 when Colorado passed the “bone dry law,” prohibiting sale of alcoholic beverages.
Zang was also deeply engaged in the mining industry in early Colorado. Along with other prominent businessmen, Zang organized the Western Mining Town and Land Company. He invested heavily in the Vindicator Consolidated Mine, which eventually paid off handsomely, and proceeds from this mine provided funds to build the house at 709 Clarkson. Zang was active in community organizations in mining towns and he founded the town of Goldfield, Colorado, which is near Cripple Creek and Victor).
Mr. Zang had an excellent business sense and an uncanny ability to recognize a worthwhile investment. He founded the Sherman Investment Company, which later became the First National Bank of Denver, and he was one of the original organizers of the Schirmer Insurance and Investment Company, which later became a banking house known as the German-American Trust Company. This company eventually became the American National Bank and Trust Company. Zang also helped establish the Capitol Life Insurance Company, and he even served as one of its original directors.
Adolph Zang invested much of his wealth in real estate, and he built several houses, apartment buildings and large buildings in downtown Denver. Along with Phillip Feldhauser and William Mygett, Zang built the Oxford Hotel. He also owned a large farm near Brighton where he raised Percheron horses. He made extensive purchases of land and founded the Zang Realty and Investment Company. His peers nominated Adolph Zang as a member of the first charter convention of the City and County of Denver, and the laws set forth by that convention form the base of Denver government today.
Adolph Zang died in 1916, and his wife, Minnie Vogt Zang, died in 1949. Adolph and Minnie had five children including Phillip Adolph Zang, Adolph Frank Zang, Gertrude Zang (wife of Charles Leedom Patterson), Minnie Elizabeth Zang, and Louise Adelgunda Zang (wife of John Henry Morrison).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon Church) bought the house from the family in 1952 for $30,000. It became their western headquarters for their work. The Greiner family owns and manages the building today, and they rent out the upper floor rooms as offices and main floor spaces for events.
Frederick Carl Eberley was born in Arolsen, Waldek, Prussia on June 9, 1844. He immigrated to the United States on September 22, 1866, and moved to Denver in 1879. Other important commissions, besides the Zang Mansion, include the Barth Hotel, the Arapahoe County Courthouse (demolished in1933), Tivoli-Union Brewery, Airedale Building (Kopper’s Hotel and Saloon), the Colorado State Armory, the Blatz Brewery, and the Gertrude Apartments (originally the Fritz Theis home) at 2545 Champa Street. Eberley died in February of 1915, and is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Wheatridge.
Capitol Hill is one of Denver’s most well known neighborhoods, home to many of the city’s most influential families of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Official boundaries include Broadway on the west, Colfax on the north, Downing on the east, and 7th Avenue on the south. It derives its name from the acceptance of Henry Brown’s donation of land for the construction site of the Capitol building.
Landmark Application; Denver the City Beautiful, Thomas J. Noel and Barbara S. Norgren; https//history.denverlibrary.org; National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1977.