Did you know?

Capitol Hill is the unofficial birthplace of Denver's preservation movement. Following the 1970s demolition of the Moffat Mansion (at 8th and Grant) Historic Denver, Inc. was created by concerned citizens in time to save another of our city's precious historic homes, that of the "unsinkable" Margaret Brown.


Richardsonian Romanesque is a style named after the work of American architect H. H. Richardson (1838-1886). His first major commission was Trinity Church (1872) on Copley Square in Boston. The Marshall Field Warehouse in Chicago is another extremely influential work. Almost every city in the United States has a building based on the style Richardson developed, which was especially popular in the late 1880s. Although Romanesque Revival buildings had been built for some time in the United States, Richardsonian Romanesque buildings differed in the simplicity of form and uniformity of massing, which were absent in the earlier examples. The style was especially attractive to architects in the West because its massiveness and austerity reflected the monumentality and splendor of the western landscape.

Frank Edbrooke, with close family ties to Chicago, and Franklin Kidder, who came from Boston in 1888, were probably the two Denver architects most familiar with the work of Richardson. Edbrooke, in whose office many Denver architects got their start, was probably largely responsible for spreading Richardson’s influence throughout the city. Other architects, such as William Lang and John J. Huddardt, were also influenced by his architecture through secondhand sources, such as publications of the work of Minneapolis eclectic Leroy Buffinton and Chicago architect John Welborn Root. As a result, Romanesque architecture in Denver is typically characterized by the use of massive stone walls and rounded arches on otherwise Victorian or eclectic structures. In his book Historic Denver: The Architects and the Architecture, 1858-1893, Richard Brettell describes these as more “radically active and exciting” than what is normally expected in Richardsonian Romanesque structures and as such cannot truly be labeled Richardsonian.

Defining characteristics:

• Heavy, massive, rough-faced stone masonry
• Carved Romanesque details
• Eyebrow dormers
• Squat towers
• Round arches

Denver Club Building