Did You Know?

In 1908 the firm of Manning and Wagner won the national competition for the Roosevelt Medal of the International Congress of Tuberculosis given for the design of a sanitorium to be built in Washington, D.C.

Harry J. Manning

Harry James Manning was born in Peoria, Illinois in 1877. He received his architectural training in his home state and did his first professional work for Reeves & Bailey in Peoria, where he was promoted to head draftsman. In 1904 he moved to Denver and formed a firm with F.C. Wagner, which 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.

The firm of Manning and Wagner became interested in the design of sanitaria for tuberculosis sufferers, an interest promoted by Denver’s reputation as a haven from the disease. In 1908 the firm won the national competition for the Roosevelt Medal of the International Congress of Tuberculosis given for the design of a sanatorium to be built in Washington, D.C. Their winning design was for a pavilion with open-air sun rooms, connected by moveable partitions to inner heated rooms. Over the following years, Manning continued to receive commissions for this type of structure. Bethesda Sanatorium and several important buildings for the Jewish Consumptive Relief Society are among his designs.

Manning won two other important competitions, for the Capitol Life Insurance Building (1924) at East 16th and Sherman in Denver, and for a group of buildings on the Regis College campus. Many other 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.

St. Thomas Episcopal Church (1908) - Denver Local Landmark
2201 Dexter St., Denver, CO

Elyria Library (1920) – Denver Local Landmark
East 47th and High St., Denver, CO

Byers Junior High School (1922) – Denver Local Landmark
150 S. Pearl St., Denver, CO

Margery Reed Mayo Day Nursery – Denver Local Landmark
1128 28th Street, Denver, CO

Fairmont School (1924) – Baker National Register Historic District
520 West 3rd Ave., Denver, CO

Other Buildings by Manning Include:

Grant Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church (1908) – State Register
216 South Grant St., Denver, Co

Frederick Ross House (1909) – Country Club National Register Historic District
300 Gilpin St., Denver, Co

J.K. Mullen Home for the Aged (1910s)
West 29th Ave., Denver, CO

Saguache Elementary School (1915) – State Register
605 Christy St., Saguache, CO

Hicks House (1920) – Humboldt National Register Historic District
1050 Humboldt, Denver, CO

Shrine of St. Anne Catholic Church (1920)
7555 Grant Place, Arvada, CO

Schleter-Hicks House (1920)
1050 Humboldt St., Denver, CO

Blount House (1923) – Country Club National Register Historic District
165 High St., Denver, CO

Kalmus House (1929) – Country Club National Register Historic District
177 Humboldt St., Denver, CO

South Dakota Sanatorium for Tuberculosis
Custer, SD

South Dakota State Sanatorium
Lead, SD

Simson House
150 Vine, Denver, CO

David H. Moffat Mansion (demolished)
East 8th and Grant, Denver, CO