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 The Hannah Barker House Rehabilitation

Before  Historic Boulder took ownership of the Hannah Barker House two and a half years ago, this historically significant structure was boarded up and had been left to deteriorate for nearly two decades.

But thanks to many generous financial and in-kind contributions, thousands of volunteer hours, and grant funding, it is coming back to life at last!

       Illustration by Tom Lyon, Wolff Lyon Architects

 

The Hannah Barker House and a 7,656 square-foot lot was donated to Historic Boulder, Inc. on December 30, 2010. Historic Boulder intends to stabilize and rehabilitate the house. In order to take advantage of various grants and funding sources and for Historic Boulder to monitor and evaluate its next steps in stages, the project will likely be completed in five phases.

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The Woman of the House

The Hannah Barker House is significant for its association with one of Colorado's most prominent pioneer women, Hannah Connell Barker.

Born in Ireland, young Hannah Connell traveled West with the Davidson family, for whom Davidson Mesa was named. She lived first in Ward, then moved to Boulder where she was one of the city's first female teachers.

She married Ezra Barker and became a civic leader, philanthropist and businesswoman. Her life illiustrates some of the many roles women played in settling the West even as their contributions were often unacknowledged and lost to the historical record. 

 

 

 

A House with a History

The Hannah Barker House is located at 800 Arapahoe Ave. (originally 743 Valley Road) and is one of the oldest buildings in Boulder. The oldest portion of the existing house was built in 1875 by Caleb S. and Carrie A. Stowell and has slowly been modified over time.

Early additions to the house were built in the Italianate style, with a small front porch, a one-story bay window, five chimneys and a distinctive cupola. The Boulder County News reported in 1875 that “the building will be an ornament to any street and add another to the beautiful homes building in that desirable part of town.”

 

Hannah Connell Barker and her husband Ezra K. Barker purchased the house in 1877.

 

                       1890                                                        1900

The Hannah Barker House in 1890The Hannah Barker House in 1900

                         Carnegie Branch Library for Local History                              Carnegie Branch Library for Local History

 Later additions included a prominent wraparound front porch with distinctive decorative brickwork and railings, and decorative brackets on the second story cornice of the house. The grounds featured an attractive and distinctive iron fence. Ezra died in 1883 and Hannah inherited Ezra’s landholdings and wealth. For more than 40 years, the house was the home of Hannah Barker, one of the most significant pioneer women in Boulder.

            1949                                                    2010

The Hannah Barker House in 1949The Hannah Barker House in 2010

                         Carnegie Branch Library for Local History                             Photo by Tom Lyon, Wolff Lyon Architects

In later years, the house was converted into an apartment building, but it has been vacant and boarded up for almost two decades. Although the eight-room, 2,300-square-foot interior is deteriorated, it retains most of the historic wood trim and flooring, as well as two elaborate fireplaces. The property is prominently located on Arapahoe Avenue and has its original wrought-iron fence.
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