Title: ASTOR HOUSE HOTEL MUSEUM
Location Current Site: Golden CO UNITED STATES
Creator Personal Name: Lake,Seth
Creator Assoc Person Biography: University of Colorado undergraduate student
Creator Assoc Person Name: Page,Ian-Echols
Creator Assoc Person Role: Photographer
Subject.Image Description: Side door
Creator.Personal Name Label: Lake,Seth
Description.Image Comments: ENVD 4122 Spring 1998 ELCALP project. Instructor: Lynn Lickteig. One of the oldest hotel buildings and stone structures in the state.
Style/Period Description: VERNACULAR
This term applies to ordinary everyday buildings, frequently not architect designed, which are direct responses to the needs of users. Vernacular buildings can be distinguished from High Style buildings, which are the self-conscious products of elite clients and designers. The works of Thomas Jefferson (a gentleman amateur designer) and those of Frank Lloyd Wright (a professional architect) are High Style artifacts, because, in addition to providing shelter, they were explicitly intended to produce an esthetic response in viewers and, most important, to make a significant cultural statement about the relationships of people to history or to nature. In contrast, vernacular buildings, such as 19th century American farm houses, were not unique or pretentious. The term vernacular originated with reference to language, to designate local, everyday speech from Latin which was spoken in church by the clergy.
The term refers to many types of buildings. Vernacular includes pre-industrial structures, folk architecture, or traditional buildings, such as the houses and barns of non-mechanized farmers in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Examples include the earliest structures erected by the first Europeans in the New World and cabins of early settlers in Colorado. Some vernacular buildings were built by the users, and others by specialist craftsmen, who followed time-honored patterns, placing little if any value on innovation or self-expression.
Industrial vernacular structures include pre-fabricated buildings, and those produced by builders on site for sail or rent using industrial materials such a steel, or industrially produced subassemblies such as windows. Like traditional or folk buildings, these are the "tools" of everyday life. Diners, storage sheds, and mobile homes do not embody complex philosophical or esthetic principles, and consequently can be changed or replaced as needed, without much concern for interfering with the designer's unique expression, as in the case of High Style buildings. Industrial buildings are frequently also Vernacular buildings, although architects have designed factories. Neither category is actually a style term in the strictest sense, although certain visual or formal qualities, such as simplicity of detail, are often common to both.
Subject Image View Type: Exterior, detail
Description.Subject Report: ASTOR HOUSE HOTEL MUSEUM, GOLDEN
When it first opened in 1867, the Astor House Hotel at 822 Twelfth Street in Golden was considered one of the finest lodgings in Colorado Territory. Today it is a municipal museum. The building was built by Seth Lake from hand-cut stones quarried at the end of Twelfth Street. The inn has a stunted-T shaped plan. It rose two stories and an attic over a basement. To lend it a more sophisticated air, Mr. Lake whitewashed the 18-inch-thick walls and added a two-story wooden porch to the entrance. Heavy, hand hewn timbers frame the windows and doors. Additions of 1892 were constructed of brick. The Astor House Hotel is one of the oldest hotel buildings in Colorado; some say it is the largest historic stone hotel between Mississippi and the Pacific Coast. It offered nine upstairs sleeping rooms and a dining room that seated 60 people, sufficient for the decade when Golden was a small supply town for the gold mining camps of Central City, Blackhawk, and Idaho Springs. The city grew when Coors Brewery and the Colorado School of Mines located there. Golden also served temporarily as Territorial Capital, sharing the role with Denver and Colorado City. The Astor House was next door to the legislative meeting hall, which still stands, restored, at Washington and 12th. After the legislature moved permanently to Denver in 1876, the guests were chiefly miners' families and travelers. The hotel then passed through several hands. In 1892, Mrs. Ida Goetze bought the Astor House for back taxes and opened it as a boarding house for students from the nearby Colorado School of Mines. The historic structure was saved from demolition in 1973 by citizens of Golden, who bought it for $31,500. It was restored as a boarding house museum, and today is run by the Golden Landmarks Association. The Astor House Hotel Museum portrays turn-of-the-century social and domestic life. Rooms include a legislator's suite with an old postmaster's desk, and accouterments for a gentleman's hotel visit. A cowboy or miner's sleeping room contains a portable rope bed. The kitchen, located at the rear of the house, features conveniences of the time, including a wood stove and a hand-cranked washing machine. The parlor and dining room are furnished as though Mrs. Goetze's boarders were about to sit down to dinner. The Golden Landmarks Association also operates the Log Cabin Park, located three blocks northwest of the Astor House on the south bank of Clear Creek. Several small dwellings and a one-room school were moved here to portray Golden's pioneer past.
Sources: National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, Colorado Historical Society, 1972.
Cathleen Norman. Golden Old and New: Walking Tour Guide. Lakewood, CO: Preservation Publishing, 1996.
Thomas J. Noel. Buildings of Colorado. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
(Ian Page-Echols and Cathleen Norman, 1998)
ID Number.Former Image Accession VISC: 35213
Rights Description: Copyright owned by The Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate, and the photographer. All rights reserved.
Source.Requestor Full Name: Lickteig, Lynn
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