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Exploring the Architecture of Shoenberg Farms

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

If you travel westward on W 73rd Avenue in Westminster, when you get to Sheridan Boulevard, a scene unfolds in front of you. Historic Dudley C. Shoenberg Memorial Farm (Shoenberg Farm) was built in 1911 and currently spans 26.888 acres in southwestern Westminster. The farm received Historical Landmark certification due to its historical significance for its association with the National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives (NJH), which treated patients with tuberculosis in the early 20th century. Louis Shoenberg built the farm to help support the NJH, a tribute to his son Dudley, who he lost due to tuberculosis.

The Buildings of Shoenberg Farms

Louis Shoenberg hired a local contractor, George L. Bettcher, to design the farm complex. The design consisted of a bungalow for the Superintendent’s house (brick), a two-story garage, milk and ice house (brick), power and pumphouse (brick), silo (wood), and barn (wood). The buildings are a glaring example of American Craftsman architecture from the period. Born in New Jersey, Bettcher came to Denver in 1895, opening a successful commercial and residential architectural firm. His portfolio also includes designing several houses in Denver’s country club neighborhood, the Denver Turnverein, and the Romanesque Revival building originally named the Baxter Hotel, among others.

Notable Features of the Architecture

The early 20th century has notable architectural features that can be found throughout Shoenberg Farms. Each of these elements played a vital role in the certification of the farm as a Historical Landmark.

1911 Brick Superintendent’s Farmhouse

The house is a one-and-a-half-story brick bungalow-style residence. It features:

  • Pitched roof with front gable

  • Overhanging eaves with exposed rafter ends

  • Broad porch supported with brick columns

  • Vertical board and batten frame

  • Two symmetrical window pairs at the front and rear gable ends

  • Pair of exterior chimneys at the north and south elevations

  • Raised porch with decorative, wood-slat balustrade and decorative wood-slat skirt

  • A north window retaining the rusticated stone sill

  • A 1900s wood-frame porch with a hip composition roof added to the west or rear elevations

1911 Brick Garage Carriage House

The brick garage was also built as a one-and-a-half-story brick structure with bungalow-style features like the house, using the same structural qualities in its construction. The first story is constructed from masonry and the second story exterior has a vertical, board, and batten construction. Saving the garage from the proposed demolition, a proposal was made to lift and rotate the garage 90 degrees and move it 50 feet to the east –located five feet from the house’s north wall.

1911 Brick Milk & Ice House

The Milk & Ice House was a one-story, rectangular plan built in the style of the late 19th and early 20th-century architectural movements. A latter addition was added to the north in the 1940s. It features:

  • Front-gable composition roof with a louvered, cupola ridge ventilator

  • Gable ends with a deep overhang and broad, bracketed ends, and wood exterior faces

  • Red brick exterior walls

  • All windows retain brick sills

  • Three paneled-entry doors

  • Addition made to the building in the 1940s – included a change to the roof on that portion and a concrete sidewalk added

1911 Brick Pumphouse

The pumphouse was constructed as a one-story, subterranean building with a rectangular plan, front-gable, composition roof, and a concrete foundation. Historical features include:

  • Gable ends with wood shingles

  • Red brick that is cohesive to the other structures

  • Wood-panel cellar with concrete steps and panel door

  • Water storage tank (now on the exterior next to the barn)

  • Historic electrical generating equipment

1911 Brick Dairy Barn

The one-and-a-half-story barn is made with a concrete foundation and red brick. Some of the features include:

  • Metal, gambrel roof with two pairs of gabled dormers on the east and west elevations

  • Four round-pipe, ridge ventilators

  • The main entry at the south has a (new) metal overhead door

  • Windows are wood surrounded on the main level

  • Two oversized livestock doors

  • Single entry door

  • Dutch door

  • Livestock panel doors that led to the corral shed at one time

  • Panel door with segmental arch and radiating voussoirs opening toward the milkhouse

The Restoration of Shoenberg Farms

With the historical value of Shoenberg Farms in mind, the restoration process with not only bring the Westminster community together – but it will also serve as a venue for sharing the heritage of the area. Each of these buildings (and their architecture) will have a restored purpose – the main house will serve as a community business center, the dairy barn will serve as an event center to be rented for all occasions, and the milk and pumphouse will serve as a rentable couple’s suite complete with a lounge area. The Carriage house will serve as the base of operation for the superintendent and maintenance equipment. To learn more about the restoration project – visit the Shoenberg Farms Restoration Project page.

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