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Olinger Mansion/House PDF Print E-mail
Written by Claudia Worth   
Monday, 31 March 2008

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Olinger Mansion

On March 24th the City Council of Wheat Ridge voted 6-2 to let the developer of this property to demolish the Olinger Mansion/Home, going back on their previous agreement.

"TO THE COUNCILOF THE CITY OF WHEAT RIDGE"

"We the undersigned registered electors of the City of Wheat Ridge, Colorado wish to submit the followin Referendum Petition for reconsideration and repeal of the following in its entirety:

ORDINANCE 1409 -AN ORDINANCE FOR A CHANGE OF ZONING CONDITIONS ON PROPERTY ZONED PLANNED COMMERDIAL DEVELOPMENT AND FOR APPROVAL OF AN AMENDED OUTLINE DEVELOPMENT PLAN AT 7495 W. 29TH AVENUE, WHICH, AMONG OTHER CHANGES, REMOVES A RESTRICTIVE COVENANT REQUIRING THE OLINGER HOUSE BE RETAINED IN ITS PRESENT LOCATION."

THE CITIZENS OF WHEAT RIDGE HAVE COLLECTED OVER 1400 SIGNATURES IN SUPPORT OF THE REFERENDUM TO SAVE THE OLINGER MANSION.  THE COUNCIL WILL NOW HAVE TO DECIDE WEATHER TO REPEAL THE ORDINACE TO DEMOLISH THIS BEAUTIFUL HISTORIC MANSION OR TO PUT IT FOR A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE . 

CONGRATULATIONS FOR A JOB WELL DONE CITIZENS OF WHEAT RIDGE!!

The Wheat Ridge Historical Society is not sponsoring this petition.  However, several of our members have offered to help the neighbors gather signatures for this petition.  If you are interested in helping them by either signing a petition or by passing a petition please call 303 238 8592 to pass a petition or visit the 44th AVE. ANTIQUE STORE at 44th and Field Shopping Center and at Walker Feed Store on 40th and Kipling.there are petitions at these stores to sign. Please stop in and say Hi!,  to these nice people Beautiful Antiques and fun browsing at the 44th Ave. Antique Store.  The Walker Feed Store has everything you need for your pets.  Please support the businesses that support the community.   

Thank you for your support We have petitions to sign please call 303 917 3010 and we will get a petition to you.

The neighbors of the Olinger Mansion

 Here is a link to an artical about the manision. mile high news

TEXT OF SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE OLINGER HOUSE

The George Olinger house at 7495 West 29th Avenue in Wheat Ridge meets three qualifications for designation as a historic landmark. The building embodies distinctive characteristics or possesses high artistic value.  It also is associated with a person significant in Wheat Ridge history.

At the federal government level criteria for identifying historic structures are embodied within the National Historic Preservation Act (Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 60). There are specific items which must be met.  Wheat Ridge local law does not have this level of detail.

Applying the federal standards to the George Olinger House shows this building was constructed in the Italianate style of architecture, popular at the time of construction.  Extensive site investigation was undertaken in 2006 by members of the Wheat Ridge Histoical Society, Historic Denver Inc. and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  They concluded that the building was built using superior materials and methods.  The investigation also indicated that exterior ornamentation included in the original construction were still in place. No longer on the site but clearly associated with the building ornamentation was statuary that was associated with the landscaping of the sunken gardens east and south of the house.

Site evaluation in 2006 also considered ancillary structures such as the 1892 farmhouse and barn, the pergola, pump house, 1969 chapel, and landscaping which is no longer on the site.  Earlier site documantation was provided by a historic preservation site survey (5JF1910) completed in 1998 for the Colorado Historical Society Office of Architecture and Historic Preservation.  This survey concluded eligibility for National Register of Historic Places was possible under Criteria B and C.

The City of Wheat Ridge commissioned a historic resource assessment which identified many of the important architectural elements still in place on the house. These include, but are not limited to the roof and eaves, central portico, front porch, windows and doors found on South, west and north sides of the building.  Although extensive research is ongoing on the building documentation has not been found which would document association with a notable designer or architect.  Therefore that criteria in not being affirmatively asserted for either the building or its landscaping.

Research has also been ongoing on the contribution of George Olinger to the development and success of Wheat Ridge during the period 1907 through 1954.  A list of contributions he made to Wheat Ridge include 1) Crown Hill Cemetery, 2) Olinger Gardens Subdivision, 3) Wheat Ridge Improvement Association, 4) mass transit in the form of a street car extension along 29th Avenue;5) support for the cultural development in Wheat Ridge community, churches and schools. In addition he contributed these things to the nearby Highlands neighborhood in Denver: 1) Olinger Mortuary at 16th and Boulder Streets; 2) mass transit in the form of operating a streetcar on lines throughout Denver owned by Denver Tramway Company; and 3) membership in several civic, cultural and community organizationsincluding Rotary Club.  His Colorado contributions include 1) establishment of Highlander Boys, an organization for youth; 2)Temple of Youth;               3) Geneva Glen camp; and 4) Associated Industries.  Nationally, Olinger was an early supporter of the National Funeral Director's association and supported industry ethical and business-practice standards in an era before such standards were universally endorsed.

TEXT OF "HISTORICAL INFORMATION"

Research on the George Olinger house at 7495 West 29th Avenue has been on going by the Wheat Ridge historical Society for many years.  Early members of the Wheat Ridge Historical Society created a tour of signigicant structures for the Centennial Bicentennial Celelbration in 1976.  The Olinger house was part of that tour.  A slide show was later created and presented to both the Historical Society and various community groups by Clark Stone. Howard Bunger and others.

 By the mid-1980's the library at the Wheat Ridge Historical Society had a file of information on both the Olinger family and the Olinger businesses located in or near Wheat Ridge (Mortuary, Crown Hill, Tower of Memories, Olinger Gardens, Associated Industries).

In 1997 and 1998 a survey was begun of historic structures in Wheat Ridge.  The surveys used the United States Department of Interior standards for evaluating historic sites and structures and Preservation.  One of the first six site surveys submitted was the Olinger house.

During 2005-2006 extensive research was done during land use hearings on the site.  These included additional research by the Wheat Ridge Historical Society, input from Historic Denver incorporated and the Denver field office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  The City of Wheat Ridge hired Felsburg Holt and Ullevig engineering consultant to prepare an historic resouce assessment.  (This assessment had a short time for research and preparation).

All of the research prior to the current time has focused on the "site" which included both the main residential structure and also several additional structures as well as landscape and non-building structures on the 4.45 acre site.  The present application deals only with the main house. Therefore the prior research will be used but only as it pertains to the 7,000 square foot house.

There is no doubt when the building was constructed. Newspaper articles were written in September, 1914 which described the building as it was then and as it still appears today.  There is an unbroken set of land deeds filed in the County Clerk's office showing the ownership from homestead patent (1870) through platting of Barth Subdivision (1882) to early landowner Simon Brown.  Documents show George Olinger bought the land on March 11, 1911.

 The house now appears to have been built as a complete unit during 1913 and 1914.  There remains the possibility that the northwest corner including a garage and second story room above the garage may have been built later.  The Jefferson County Assessor's office identified the year built as 1949.  which is clearly wrong.  however, some construction must have occurred which led the Assessor to this erroneous conclusion.

 Historical documentation including land and assessment records, newspaper clippings, published directories, interviews with local residents and other sources of information clearly identify three separate uses for the main structure over time.  From 1914 until the 1960's as a single family residence, used by George W. and Margaret Olinger.  From 1969 until 2005 it was used by the Olinger Mortuary as and office building.  No funerals were held and embalming was done off-site at the headquarters building at 16th and Boulder Streets, Activities inside the 1914 portion of the site included general administration, reception, sales and marketing activities; talking with clients, etc.  Funeral services, viewing, and similar activities were all done in the chapel building constructed in 1969 east of the house.  Between the early 1960's and 1969 all or a portion of the house was used as a group home.

This article was researched and written  By Robert Olsen and was submitted to the Wheat Ridge City Council as part of the Application for Historic Designation for the Olinger House/Mansion in March 2008

Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 June 2008 )
 
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