Update May 2016
In May 2016, the new owner of 1899 York, the Allan Ghost House, officially submitted an application to make the home a local landmark. This will provide long-term protection for this beloved home in City Park West!
You can support the Landmark Application by sending an e-mail to the Landmark Commission, email@example.com, by 12:00 pm on Monday, May 16th. You can also attend the Landmark Commission Public Hearing to speak in support on Tuesday, May 17 at 1:00 pm at the Webb Building (201 W. Colfax). You can read the designation application here.
If the designation application is recommnded by the Landmark Commission, a Public Hearing at City Council will take place over the summer. Stay tuned for that date and more detail!
This designation also marks the end of uncertainty for the home because in February 2015 the previous owners applied for a Certificate of Non-Historic Status, which would have paved the way for demolition of the home. Historic Denver immediately contacted the owners and staff members and expert board members visited the home to discuss its historic merit and opportunities for rehabilitation. Fortunately the owners listened, and ultimately withdrew the application for non-historic status and because they were not interested in restoration, they sought a preservation-minded buyer for the house. The new owner has been busy preparing the designation and plans to restore the home and maintain its important place in the history of the neighborhood.
The home was designed in 1906 by renowned Denver architect Harry Manning. Manning was hired by the home's first owner, Allen M. Ghost, a noted local developer at the turn-of-the-century.
Thank you to all the community members who expressed support for this property- we heard from more than 200 individuals who understand that this home is part of what makes their neighborhood and our community great.
About 1899 York
1899 York was the home of Allen M. Ghost, an early Denver real estate investor for whom the Ghost Building downtown and the Ghost Historic District in West Highland are named. At one time the home was also owned by an investor in the Little Johnny Mine, where John Campion and J.J. Brown (husband to Molly) made their fortune.
According to the designation application for the Ghost Historic District in West Highland, developer and real estate agent Allen Martin Ghost was born in Venango County, Pennsylvania, in 1844. He graduated from Iowa Wesleyan University in 1867, studied law in that state, and was admitted to the bar. Ghost moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where he practiced law and was elected to the office of County Superintendent of Public Instruction. With partner D.N. Smith, he platted and built early improvements in eighteen Nebraska towns along the route of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad between Lincoln and Kearney Junction.
After locusts repeatedly destroyed crops along the line between 1874 and 1876, Ghost sought a more promising location. In about 1877, Ghost settled in Denver, where he first partnered with A.C. Fiskein real estate. He established A.M. Ghost & Company in 1880, with his brother William C. Ghost as a partner, and engaged in real estate and abstracts. In 1883, Ghost platted the Park Side Subdivision in
east Denver. His brother left the company after five years, but Allen M. Ghost continued the business and erected two buildings in downtown Denver, the Ghost Building (1889) and the Ghost Block. Ghost worked in Denver real estate until at least 1910; he died in about 1914.
The house is a significant example of the work of the Denver architectural firm of Wagner & Manning, established in 1904. Frederick Compton Wagner came to Denver from Toledo, Ohio in 1902, seeking a more favorable climate for his health. Wagner was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and had begun his architectural practice in Ohio. Harry James Manning began his career as a draftsman in Peoria, Illinois and moved to Denver in 1904. Ghost’s house at 1899 York was one of Wagner & Manning’s early commissions.
Harry James Manning is one of Denver's best architects. Manning's partnership with F.C. Wagner lasted until Wagner’s death in 1921. Manning maintained a solo practice for the rest of his career. In later years, manning traveled extensively and this first-hand knowledge of many types of architecture is reflected in his work.
Manning designed many important institutional, commercial, and educational landmarks of Denver were also designed by him. Cathedral School, the Mary Reed Library on the Denver University campus, Fairmont Elementary School (1924), the Olin Hotel, and St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Park Hill are all extant examples of his work. He was also among the Allied Architects who planned Denver’s City and County Building.
Institutional commissions were not Manning’s only forte; he also designed opulent homes for many of Denver’s elite, including those for Charles Boettcher, II, at 777 Washington (demolished), Oscar Malo at East 8th and Pennsylvania (1921), and most gloriously, for Mrs. Verner Z. Reed on Circle Drive (1931).
Manning excelled as an architect. His many buildings are distinguished by his knowledgeable use of details, by his delight in color combinations and use of materials in building up effect, and by his insistence on craftsmanship. He graced Denver with many delightful landmarks – in styles from French Chateau (at 165 High) to Collegiate Gothic, to Spanish Baroque – all graceful, well-proportioned, and above all, in good taste. Manning was also a member of the Allied Architects Associations, which was responsible for the design of the 1932 Denver City and County Building. He died the following year at the age of 56.
- excerpts from Noel, Thomas J. and Norgren, Barbara S. Denver: The City Beautiful and its Architects, 1893-1941. Denver: Historic Denver, Inc., 1987.