Denver Modern Driving Tour

by lesley on August 11, 2011

I love reading the incoming search terms on the website. I’ve been seeing lots of incoming traffic for “Denver Modern Houses Driving Tour” and other derivations. I hope that means that lots of people are coming to Denver for the Denver Modernism Show at the end of the month. Or, maybe our modern loving Denverites are just getting modern love. So, I thought I’d share my favorite modern driving tours of Denver. This includes both Mid-Century Modern AND Mid-Century Ranches. Because I do love me a lot of MidCentury Ranches, too. Note, this isn’t an exhaustive list of mid-century goodness in Denver. Just the first thing that comes to mind.

First, I’m going to recommend you buy two books, both published by Historic Denver. These books were both written by Diane Wray Tomasso, resident of Arapahoe Acres and Historian. You can buy both books at the Tattered Cover bookstore or directly from Historic Denver. We’ve thumbed through our books so many times that they fell apart. (yea, we need new ones). The first book is all about Mid-Century Modern in Denver. Sadly, a lot of the houses in this book simply don’t exist any longer. But, so many do still exist and there area addresses in the book, so you can use it as your personal guide. The second book is all about my hood! It’s a full book of goodness about Arapahoe Acres. Lots of details. Our house in on Page 72.

Arapahoe Acres – Okay, let’s start with my home neighborhood. You gotta come here. Everyone’s yards look so nice and pretty now. We’re only 2 miles south of Wash Park. We’re between S. Downing and S. Franklin. North border is E. Bates Ave and South border is Dartmouth. We’re just south of Yale.

Southern Hills – Southern Hills is a neighborhood just east of Arapahoe Acres. It’s south of Yale and East of University. If you have school aged kids, then it’s the Slaven’s school district. I could spend hours driving through here. Loads and loads of beautiful sprawling ranches with mid-mod’s sprinkled in. Most of these houses are intact and have not been popped or scraped. I think it’s because they are all rather large (3,000 sf or larger) and I think a lot of them are still owned by older folks. This is my favorite place to drive just to look at tiny details.

Hilltop – This is a great neighborhood that has lots of mid-century houses. Sadly, so many houses have scraped for, ahem, the McMansion or McMuddle. Historic Denver hosted their summer house tours there a few years ago and it was heaven to see so many beautiful homes. I posted several posts from the tour last year here and here and here and here and here. These are definitely some grand houses.

Arapahoe Hills – This is Arapahoe Acres’s sister or cousin neighborhood. It was designed and started by the same builder as Arapahoe Acres (Ed Hawkins), but finished by the former head carpenter, Clyde Mannon. The houses are bigger, but share  a lot of the same personality. It’s southwest of Denver…West of Lowell, South of Belleview and just north of Berry Ave.

Bow Mar – Right after you finish driving through Arapahoe Hills, go west on Berry Avenue into Bow Mar. This is another neighborhood of sprawling low slung ranches (or they mostly were at one time) with a few mid-mod’s. Again, it’s pretty sad that so many have been scraped or made into FrankenHouses, but you should still drive through there.

Harvey Park – This Denver neighborhood is home to lots of mid-century modern homes. I haven’t done a proper tour in some time, but I think I need to. They have a nice website, too. Some Cliff May designed homes, too.

Krisana Park – Just east of Colorado Boulevard is another pocket of mid-century modern gems. I’ve toured a lot of them during open houses. Some good, some great and some with “interesting” remodels.

I’m sure that I’m missing a ton of information. This is just a sampling of neighborhoods that I find myself driving through when I’m trying to get my little boy a nap. Why not enjoy my drive while he’s napping, right?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie August 11, 2011 at 9:07 pm

The only house I have toured in Krisana Park had one of those heartbreakingly “interesting” remodels. It was bad…southwestern tile countertops in the kitchen, cheap bad oak floors, I have blocked the rest of it out, but it made me so sad. Thanks for the list, I need to go on some drives. There are also some good ones in Lakewood. I always find them by accident, so I can’t give cross streets.

Reply

lesley August 12, 2011 at 8:24 am

I hear you Jamie. I have seen a few good remodels over in Krisana. I think I know that southwestern house you saw. Pretty sad. :< There are so many good houses out in Lakewood and Wheat Ridge. Our realtor, Shannon Stanbro, knows about all of those pockets over there. We usually end up finding them when wandering around, but I never know where I am. Shannon took us to see some pretty incredible houses out west when we were looking for our house.

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Brett February 28, 2012 at 11:59 am

I was just in Austin and did their home tour..some pretty cool stuff going on and think it is beginning in Denver as well..here is a link to my pics if you want to check it out.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Home-Draw-Residential-Design/254122237989336

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