The Colorado Governor’s Mansion during the holidays (credit: CBS)
As historic as Denver is, the homes and buildings found throughout the city tell the tales of its former residents with far more accuracy than any book or website. There are many different historic sites found throughout the city that offer tours of these historic homes, providing wonderful opportunities to get a look into the past at the lives of the people that helped to shape the city of Denver. Most of these tours are offered for a nominal fee, some are free, but all are worth your time. Bring the kids and spark a discussion about what life was like for the people that called these houses home.
Byers-Evans House Museum
1310 Bannock St.
Denver, CO 80204
You’ve probably driven past this historic home many times without realizing the history or beauty contained within those unassuming walls. Built in 1883, the house was home to two of the most prominent families in Denver history. William N. Byers was the original owner of the home and the printer of the first newspaper in Denver – The Rocky Mountain News. The home was purchased in 1889 by William G. Evans, the son of former governor John Evans. Guided tours are offered Monday through Saturday, where you can get a look into the beautiful home, fully restored to the period from 1912 through 1924 including a variety of the original Evans family furnishings.
Molly Brown House Museum
1340 Pennsylvania St.
Denver, CO 80203
The Molly Brown House Museum is one of the most popular historic sites in the state and has been for more than 40 years. This was the actual home of Margaret “Molly” Brown when she lived in Denver and worked on a variety of social and political philanthropy and activism. Of course, she was also one of the most well-known survivors of the Titanic, and the museum often offers tours and other special programs with information about the famous ship. You can tour the beautifully restored home, as guided tours are offered every 30 minutes; reservations are required for groups of 10 or more. Be sure to check the website for many other events at this wonderful museum.
Related: Top Historical Sites In Denver
The Governor’s Residence at the Boettcher Mansion
400 E. 8th Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Built in 1908, this stunning mansion has been the home of every Colorado governor since 1960. Known as “Colorado’s Home,” this beautiful residence, which was originally a private home, has become the symbol of elegance and art in Colorado. Today, the home still hosts a variety of events, boasts a beautiful collection of furnishings and art and is open free of charge for scheduled tours. It is always wonderful to visit this home during the holidays, when it’s decorated and filled with lots of holiday charm. However, you can visit any time of the year for a free tour by the Colorado Historical Society. Reservations are only needed for groups of 10 or more.
Four Mile Historic Park
715 S. Forest St.
Denver, CO 80246
The home at Four Mile Historic Park was built in 1859 and is one of the oldest historic homes in Colorado. Originally, this home served as a resting place for travelers as they headed west to Denver along the Cherokee Trail in the mid 1800s. The home transferred ownership several times over the years before being purchased by the City of Denver in 1975, when the house and the surrounding park became an official Denver park. Today, these 12 acres and the house are an icon of old west charm and a living history museum filled with lots of educational activities and events for the whole family.
Related: Top Bars With History In Denver
Historic Fort Logan
3742 W. Princeton Circle
Denver, CO 80236
As the settlers moved west across the country, many military forts were scattered along the various trails. These forts offered law and order on the frontier, providing home and safety to the many weary travelers and military troops. As the railroads grew in popularity, the forts moved closer to the cities, and in 1889, Ft. Logan was built. Named for John Alexander Logan, a General in the Union Army during the Civil War, Ft. Logan was actually a collection of buildings with officers’ quarters, commissary, guardhouse and bachelor officers’ quarters, among many others. Today, the Field Officer’s Quarters is the home of the Historic Fort Logan home, which has been restored to its original 1889 appearance. You can schedule a tour through the website or take the free public tour offered the third Saturday of every month.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.