Did you know?

Prominant Denver mortician George W. Olinger was one of this area's most prominant residents and built the home at 3380 W. 31st Avenue.

Ghost Historic District

On Monday, August 2, 2010 the Denver City Council unanimously approved the designation application for the proposed Ghost Historic District.  Neighbors in this Northwest Denver community spent over three years preparing the nomination with technical assistance and grant support managed by Historic Denver. Congratulations to all these owners of "new" landmark homes!

READ the application
VIEW the map


Background on the District

The Ghost Historic District, which developed principally in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, is directly associated with the historical development of the city. Veterans allowed to claim acreage as a result of their military service acquired the land from the federal government in the 1860s. The area became part of the Town of Highlands, which incorporated in 1875. The Kountze Brothers, a nationally prominent firm involved in banking, investing, and real estate represented locally by Colorado National Bank President Charles B. Kountze, consolidated smaller holdings in the area into a large tract of land purchased by Denver developer and real estate agent Allen M. Ghost in 1887.

Ghost quickly platted the acreage as the “Kountze Heights” addition, described by the Rocky Mountain News as having an “unsurpassed” location. Reflecting the growth and prosperity of the period, lots in the subdivision sold quickly to investors and homeowners attracted by the promise of streetcar service.

In 1888 construction of the Denver & Berkeley Park Rapid Transit Company’s line providing noiseless rail service by steam locomotives between the district and Downtown Denver.  This reflected a larger trend of providing urban transportation between outlying residential neighborhoods and the heart of the city and accelerated building in this streetcar suburb, a forerunner of today’s transit-oriented development. In 1890 a second line completed by the Denver Tramway Company using electric streetcars ensured that no point in the subdivision was more than a block-and-a-half from streetcar service. By the early 1890s, increasing residential construction and efficient transit services stimulated development of a small commercial area serving the district at West 32nd Avenue and Lowell Boulevard. In June 1896 residents of Highlands voted to become part of Denver, and since that date the district’s growth and development has been directly united with that of the city.

The finely-crafted and well-preserved buildings of the Ghost Historic District are significant for their architecture, which embodies distinguishing characteristics of several late nineteenth and early twentieth century architectural styles. Forty-four percent of the buildings were erected before 1900, and the Queen Anne style popular during that period is represented by thirty-three percent of all buildings in the district.

These houses range from small, ornately decorated one-story brick cottages to large two-story residences with a full complement of ornamentation, including multiple gables, wrap-around porches, multiple exterior materials, and a variety of window designs and decorative glazing. Thirty-seven percent of buildings in the district were erected between 1900 and 1919 and reflect influential styles of that era. Sixteen percent of the district’s houses are Bungalow type dwellings with Arts and Crafts details very popular in Denver during the 1910s and 1920s and built principally on previously undeveloped lots in the southwestern part of the district. Twelve percent of the houses are classified as Edwardian in style, reflecting a period of construction from the end of the 1890s to the early 1910s in the district and having similar forms and massing to Queen Anne style dwellings, but displaying more restrained ornamentation. Two-story Foursquare houses, locally known as “Denver Squares,” are present in the district, as well as one to one-and-a-half-story Classic Cottage type dwellings of the same era.

In addition, there are a few examples of other styles popular during the district’s Period of Significance, including Dutch Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Tudor, and English/Norman Cottage, as well as Terrace and Hipped Roof Box types. Included within the district boundaries is the 1897 Gothic Revival style Highland Park Presbyterian Church and its modern sanctuary dating to 1955.