High Country Summers
The Early Second Homes of Colorado, 1880–1940
Publication Year: 2012
High Country Summers considers the emergence of the “summer home” in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains as both an architectural and a cultural phenomenon. It offers a welcome new perspective on an often-overlooked dwelling and lifestyle. Writing with affection and insight, Melanie Shellenbarger shows that Colorado’s early summer homes were not only enjoyed by the privileged and wealthy but crossed boundaries of class, race, and gender. They offered their inhabitants recreational and leisure experiences as well as opportunities for individual re-invention—and they helped shape both the cultural landscapes of the American West and our ideas about it.
Shellenbarger focuses on four areas along the Front Range: Rocky Mountain National Park and its easterly gateway town, Estes Park; “recreation residences” in lands managed by the US Forest Service; Lincoln Hills, one of only a few African-American summer home resorts in the United States; and the foothills west of Denver that drew Front Range urbanites, including Denver’s social elite. From cottages to manor houses, the summer dwellings she examines were home to governors and government clerks; extended families and single women; business magnates and Methodist ministers; African-American building contractors and innkeepers; shop owners and tradespeople. By returning annually, Shellenbarger shows, they created communities characterized by distinctive forms of kinship.
High Country Summers goes beyond history and architecture to examine the importance of these early summer homes as meaningful sanctuaries in the lives of their owners and residents. These homes, which embody both the dwelling (the house itself) and dwelling (the act of summering there), resonate across time and place, harkening back to ancient villas and forward to the present day.
Published by: University of Arizona Press
Title Page, Copyright
List of Illustrations
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Each of the summer homes and mountain areas in High Country Summers recalls vivid memories of people and places, and the assistance and warm receptions I received researching and writing this book. High Country Summers began as a dissertation, and I am appreciative of the support of my committee members. Co-Chairs Mark Gelernter and Michael Holleran were...
1. Introduction: A Dwelling Unlike Any Other
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On a sizzling summer day in late June 1903, with the sun shimmering on the prairie and the scent of pine and dust lingering in the mountain air, Freelan Oscar Stanley negotiated his Stanley Steamer automobile toward Estes Park, Colorado, along a precipitous, sixteen-mile stretch of the....
2. The Lure of Landscape: Tourism in Colorado and the Mountain West
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In the making of a tourist, motivation, transportation, and destination must combine. One must have a reason to leave home, a means of passage, and a place to go. In the decades surrounding the turn of the twentieth century, many Americans from across the nation traveled to the...
3. Villas of the Vernacular: The Colorado Second Home in Context
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Second homes enjoy a prominent place in the world’s architectural pantheon, and the early summer homes of Colorado, no matter how modest or primitive, share a legacy with the most magnificent among them. The great villas of the world can be found at least as early as ancient Rome, when patricians...
4. Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park
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The Scottage was not the first, but it was among the earliest summer homes built in Estes Park at the turn of the twentieth century. It is a humble home with an unsurpassed view of the great mountains of the Front Range, beloved by the Scott family, whose members were not only...
5. The National Forests
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In keeping with its multiuse policies and a new emphasis on recreation fostered by competition from the national parks, the U.S. Forest Service in the early twentieth century not only allowed but encouraged summer home development within the forests. Summer homes within the national forests were simply...
6. Lincoln Hills
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Lincoln Hills Country Club was an African American recreation and summer home resort community established in the 1920s along the Colorado Front Range between Pinecliffe and Rollinsville. Although it was located less than forty miles from Denver, to its visitors Lincoln Hills was a world away from the city’s...
7. The Denver Mountain Parks and Foothills
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Historically home to ranches, logging and mining operations, and early cabin resorts, the foothills directly west of Denver were renowned for their great scenic beauty. As with Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, the national forests, and Lincoln Hills, tourists and summer homeowners here sought natural...
8. Conclusion: Summer People, Summer Lives
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The summer home—whether cabin, cottage, or lodge—triggered an important form of seasonal migration, offered its inhabitants opportunities for creating a life largely of their own choosing, served as both gathering place and refuge, and knitted together all of the above into an intergenerational fabric of identity...
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About the Author
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Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2012