By Jeff Todd


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.

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“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.

Eric Kratzer (credit: CBS)

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.

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“Who even knew, that the Samsonite company started in Denver,” said Kratzer.

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The Shwayders lived in the home in the early 1900s and started the Shwayder Trunk Company, which would eventually become Samsonite.

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“I’ve had a Samsonite bag, but I never knew where we ended up living would have any connection to that family,” Kratzer said.

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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.

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“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.

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“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.

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The city designation isn’t the end of the road. Eventually, Kratzer wants to get the house on the National Registry of Historic Places.

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“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.”

Drone4 flew over the home (credit: CBS)

Jeff Todd

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