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CHATEAUESQUE (1848-1890s)

Chateauesque is a style of building based on the architecture that was popular during the reign of Francis I (1515-1547). Like the Queen Anne style, it is a transitional one: Classical and Italian Renaissance details applied to Gothic tradition. The first American chateau was designed by Detlef Lienau for LeGrand Lockwood, a railroad magnate, in South Norwalk, Connecticut (1848). It was not until 15 years later that the next example was constructed, Vanderbilt House on Fifth Avenue in New York City, by Richard Morris Hunt. Hunt remained the master of the style and built numerous Chateauesque mansions for various members of the Vanderbilt family, the most famous being Biltmore (1890-1895) near Asheville, North Carolina. The style was difficult to execute, and was usually reserved only for the very wealthy.

There are very few examples of high-style Chateauesque architecture in Denver. Richard Brettell, in his book Historic Denver: the Architects and the Architecture, 1858-1893, mentions that “Chateau-style” buildings were popular in Denver during the later 1880s and early 1890s, but most were probably not high-style examples. The only features that would have made these houses Chateauesque would be the frontally flattened dormers and numerous vertical elements, such as turrets and gables. Many of these Denver buildings were constructed out of rusticated stone, giving them a Richardsonian feel. Prominent examples of the style would include the Boethel Residence on Colfax Avenue (demolished) and the Croke-Patterson-Campbell Mansion (1890) at the corner of 11th Avenue and Pennsylvania Street.

Defining characteristics:

• Steep roof
• Stone masonry
• Spires, pinnacles, turrets, multiple wall dormers
• Decorated chimneys
• Ogee arches
• Renaissance details