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Historic Home in Jefferson Park Threatened with Demolition 

Update 10/28/2015

On Wednesday, October 28 the PLAN Committee of Denver City Council voted to put the designation of 2329 Eliot, the Anderson House, on the full council agenda.  First reading will take place on November 9, and second reading, with a public hearing, will take place on November 16.  Community members are encouraged to attend and speak at the November 16 meeting.

The committee vote followed the October 6 vote of the Landmark Commission, which found that the Anderson House meets the criteria for historic designation based on history and architecture criteria.


 Update 9/15/15

On Tuesday, October 6th, the historic designation application for the Anderson House will be heard by Denver's Landmark Preservation Commission. The role of the Commission is to decide if the structure has historical, architectural, or geographical significance. During this hearing, the public is encouraged to testify to the Commission on the historic merits of the building, and its value to the community.

If the Commission approves the application, it will head to the Neighborhood and Planning subcommittee of City Council before being heard by the full City Council. 

If you would like to attend the public hearing for this important home, plan to be at the Wellington Webb Building on Tuesday, October 6th! 

Anderson House Hearing
1:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 6th,
201 W. Colfax Ave
Room 4.F.6


 
Update 8/25/15

On June 16th, the developer filed a lawsuit against the city of Denver to stop the designation from moving forward. However, on August 14th, Denver Judge Bruce Jones ruled in the favor of the City of Denver, declaring that the Office of Community Planning and Development was correct in accepting a historic designation application from incoming councilman Rafael Espinoza. While Judge Jones has dismissed the lawsuit, he has not yet lifted the stay on the designation application, meaning that it has not begun the public hearing process. When the judge does lift the stay, the application will go before the Landmark Preservation Commission for a public hearing, before advancing to city council.

Jefferson Park neighbors are currently gathering signatures to show public support for the designation of this important structure. You can learn more about their efforts and sign the petition HERE.

Stay tuned for more information as we await further information from the city, including a timeline for the public hearing process. Historic Denver will provide updates here on our website and on our Facebook Page


Background: 

On April 17th 2015, the City of Denver received two Certificates of Non-Historic Status for 2329 and 2331 Eliot Street. Both structures date from the late 1880s to early 1890s. The demolition review procedures require that the City post any property for which a Certificate of Non-Historic Status or a Demolition permit has been submitted, and that has the potential for historic designation, a property that can meet at least two out of the three categories for designation, history, architecture and geography. Because The Anderson House can meet these criteria, a 120-day process began. 2331 Eliot was deemed to be ineligible for historic designation, but its neighbor at 2329 Eliot was found to have both historical and architectural significance.

This home, known as the Anderson House, was the home of William W. Anderson, a prominent lawyer in Denver. His fame and notoriety came not from his law practice, however, but due to an altercation with Denver Post owners and editors, H.H. Tammen and F.G. Bonfils on January 13, 1900.

Anderson was associated with one of Colorado’s most infamous residents — convicted cannibal, Alfred Packer. Alfred Packer led 5 prospectors in search of gold into the mountains in 1873 and was the only one to return. He was accused of cannibalism and sentenced to 40 years in the Cañon City jail for murder. At the time, this was the longest custodial sentence ever handed down in the State of Colorado. Anderson hoped to appeal Packer’s case based on a legal technicality and met with Packer to discuss the idea, at which point Packer provided Anderson with some funds.  The Denver Post publishers, F.G. Bonfils and H.H. Tammen, who were also interested in Packer's case, accused Anderson of taking Packer’s life savings as a retainer. After Anderson went to the Denver Post offices to discuss the matter, a heated debate turned to fisticuffs, and Anderson shot Bonfils and Tammen in their Denver Post office in front of a witness, the reporter known as Polly Pry. Anderson was tried three times for assault with intent to murder, but was never convicted. During Anderson’s third trial, Bonfils and Tammen were convicted of jury tampering.  Anderson lived in his home at 2329 Eliot Street from 1897 to c1904 and again from 1915 until his death in 1930. When detailing the shooting and the trial, the Denver Post even published his address with a note that he lived there with his wife and their three children.

Historic Denver became active in the ongoing effort to save this structure when members of the community reached out to us, hoping to learn more about the house and its history. Three community members submitted a historic designation application on May 28th. The designation application was judged complete by the staff of the Landmark Preservation Commission. This means that the application will go before the Landmark Preservation Commission. At this commission meeting there will be a public hearing so that members of the community may comment on the significance of the house. The Commission will then determine whether or not the house meets the criteria for landmark status. The application, if approved, moves to a Council Committee and then ultimately to City Council for a public hearing and a full vote.