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Denver's Victorian Architectural Styles



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By : Calen Brennan    99 or more times read
The Denver Victorian is a common sight, especially in the more historic neighborhoods of the city. These homes were built mostly between the 1880s and 1910 and feature several architectural styles. Denver’s Victorians do not represent the entire period, as Denver real estate was developed in the late Victorian period and the styles in vogue at that time held sway.

Denver’s population grew rapidly from the 1880s to the 1920s and the Victorian home was the answer to the need for housing all classes. While many Victorian homes in Denver today are viewed as upscale affairs, only the most lavish mansions were considered as such in the time of their construction. Victorians were popular among the poorer and middle-classes, which is why there are so many bungalows from this time period lining Denver’s streets. Brick predominates in homes of this era, for an 1863 fire led to the “Brick Ordinance” that required all new buildings to be constructed of brick or stone.

The Queen Anne is the dominant Victorian style and arguably the most popular. With wraparound porches, unexpected dormers and turrets, the Queen Anne house is the classic “fairy tale” home. Most Denver Queen Anne houses were built between 1885 and 1900. The required brick or stone exteriors led to a more restrained class of houses than their wooden counterparts in other areas of the country.

The Richardson Romanesque and the Shingle styles were constructed in Denver circa the 1880s-1910, although the style dates back to 1865 in other American communities. The Richardson Romanesque is a stone building reminiscent of a cathedral or a fortress, with thick walls and Roman arches. The Shingle borrowed freely from a number of styles, including the Queen Anne’s wrap around porches and asymmetrical from design. Arguably, its main influence came from the Romanesque as you will see Roman arches and soaring main floors in many Shingle homes. Some Denver homes feature a Romanesque main floor topped with a Shingle-style second floor.

The Denver Square, or four square as it is known in other parts of the country, is also a Victorian style. As the name suggests, they are square homes, often with two stories. These were produced around 1895-1910 as Denverites of the time were looking for a practical home that had few frills but plenty of useful features.

Some Denver Victorians are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. By touring these homes, you can get a good idea of what a ‘classic’ Denver Victorian home style looks like. For more information, go to the Colorado Historical Society Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation at coloradohistory-oahp.org
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