DENVER (CBS4)– At a time when so much of Denver is changing, one man is on a years-long mission to preserve his home. His research revealed a hidden history that was unknown to not only to him, but the neighborhood where he lived.
“Personally, it feels like we’re making a contribution to the cultural tapestry to the neighborhood. And a permanent one,” said Eric Kratzer who owns 627 Galapago Street.
Kratzer and his family moved in 2016 and a neighbor made an off-hand comment about the Shwayder house and the company that started there. Eric eventually started researching.
“Who even knew, that the Samsonite company started in Denver,” said Kratzer.
The Shwayders lived in the home in the early 1900s and started the Shwayder Trunk Company, which would eventually become Samsonite.
“I’ve had a Samsonite bag, but I never knew where we ended up living would have any connection to that family,” Kratzer said.
He started working on an application for a Denver Landmark Designation. It turned into a two-year process working with History Colorado and many public meetings.
“It’s an unusual looking house. Pretty, and durable too. And unusual for the block. There is actually an historic element here, there’s an architectural element here, there’s a cultural element,” he said.
“This is an area that has been under represented by the preservation movement, so I guess I kind of jumped on this as an opportunity to bring a story to the neighborhood that we can celebrate but hopefully others can too,” said Kratzer.
The city designation isn’t the end of the road. Eventually, Kratzer wants to get the house on the National Registry of Historic Places.
“To me it’s more about capturing the stories that are part of the founding of the city,” he said. “It’s exciting, we’re going to order a plaque and post it out there.”