Stocke-Walter Addition Historic District
The Stocke/Walter Addition Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2012, The Gombach Group.
The Stocke/Walter Addition Historic District is composed of seventy-one buildings concentrated within an area reflecting the design, layout, and development of a late nineteenth residential neighborhood and its growth and evolution during the twentieth century. The neighborhood is distinguished by the varied size of its lots. A number of parcels encompass substantial tracts which reflect the area's agricultural heritage and provide contrast to the historic residential area to the west of the downtown business district, which displays more typical urban lots. The buildings were erected from the early 1890s through the first half of the twentieth century, and display a variety of architectural influences popular during that period. There are a few large landmark homes located along Grandview Avenue which attracted Arvada's small group of elite, but most of the residences are of moderate to small size (photo).
In September 1870, the Colorado Central Railroad completed construction on a link between Golden and the Kansas Pacific line in Denver. Ralston Station (Arvada) was a stop along the line, which included a passenger and freight depot with a connected telegraph office. The arrival of the railroad insured a supply of new settlers and access to outside markets for the area's farms and ranches. Understanding that the transportation system would lead to an expansion in population, Benjamin Franklin Wadsworth, an experienced town developer, and his neighbor, Louis A. Reno, platted the Arvada townsite on 28 November 1870. On 1 December 1870, the Rocky Mountain News reported that
a new town has been laid out upon the farms of Mr. Wadsworth and Mr. Reno ... Nine blocks have been laid out with streets 66 feet wide between them. The new townsite is situated on the high, dry ridge between Clear and Ralston creeks.
Wadsworth erected a fine brick dwelling on his land to the east of what developed as the business district of the town along Wadsworth Boulevard. An early photograph of his residence shows the signs he erected advertising lots, blocks, and acres for sale.
Construction dates for homes within the Stocke/Walter Addition Historic District show that about 18 percent were erected prior to 1900, before the creation of residential subdivisions. Of these, the most significant was the home of Rev. John F. White, erected in 1893. The English-born White came to the United States in 1876, took up mining in Black Hawk, and preached at Silver Plume, Idaho Springs, Longmont, Golden, and Loveland before moving to Arvada in 1890. Under his leadership, the Arvada Methodist Church was completed. He purchased five acres of land east of Wadsworth Boulevard fronting on Grandview Avenue, and built "his long-dreamed-of red brick home." The house at 7001 Grandview as massive in size, with projecting, ornamented gables, decorative shingles, and a variety of windows. White was involved in a variety of activities which furthered Arvada. In 1908, he founded the Arvada Enterprise newspaper, and, in 1915, he was one of the incorporators of the First State Bank. The White residence, from its commanding location on Grandview Avenue, continues to be a prominent landmark in the community.
In 1901, transportation access to Arvada took a great leap forward with the construction of an interurban electric railway. The Denver, Boulder and Northwestern Railway, a subsidiary of the Denver Tramway Company, connected Arvada to the Denver streetcar system, providing residents with a fast, efficient ride to and from the big city. Arvada residents were then easily able to work in Denver and live in Arvada. This improvement resulted in Arvada being "recognized as one of the most desirable of all the suburban towns of Denver in which to live." In 1904, Arvada voted to incorporate an area embracing about 352 acres, including the Stocke/Walter Addition Historic District.
Stimulated by the plan for incorporation, subdivision platting within the boundaries of the townsite proceeded. The Stocke Addition, consisting of a small subdivision lying along Saulsbury between Ralston Road and Grandview Avenue, was platted by Mary Stocke on 17 March 1904. Christian and Mary Stocke had acquired acreage on what had been Benjamin Wadsworth's farm. The Stocke Addition contained lots measuring 50' X 102' along a narrow 40' street. Mr. Stocke built the first north-south street east of Wadsworth Boulevard, a road which was originally called "Stocke Avenue" and today is known as Saulsbury. He also constructed a well which supplied houses along Stocke Avenue with water. The Stockes built two houses for themselves in their addition. The first was a one-story 1899 dwelling at 7009 Grandview Ave., with an asymmetrical gabled L plan, a projecting bay window, and a porch with spindled supports. William Jolly, an English carpenter who came to the United States in 1880 and owned a sizeable tract of land in the Stocke/Walter neighborhood, worked on the house.
The Stocke Addition was well-situated, with the tracks of the Colorado & Southern (formerly the Colorado Central) lying immediately to the south, and the tracks of the interurban located to the west. This was a logical site for residential growth. Other areas within the district were still large privately owned tracts. The 1904 Stocke plat indicates that Jolly and Williams were owners of two of these tracts. In 1904, one of the treasures of the neighborhood was erected, the second Stocke residence at 7011 Grandview Ave. For their new home, the Stockes erected a stately brick dwelling with a fine view of the countryside south of Arvada and the mountain ranges beyond. The house was ornamented with Palladian motif triple windows on gable faces, decorative shingles, and a full-width porch with grouped columns topped by a balcony. An elaborately detailed wrought iron fence enclosed the large yard. The area along Grandview Avenue where Rev. White and the Stockes built their homes came to be viewed by some as Arvada's first elite residential neighborhood.
Arvada's population grew slowly during the early twentieth century, with an increase of just seventy-five persons between 1910 and 1920, bringing the total number of residents to 915. However, the largest period of growth for the Stocke/Walter Addition Historic District came during the first two decades of the twentieth century, when 42 percent of the buildings were completed.
Many homes built during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century were designed in the Classic Cottage style. These solid, one-story frame and brick dwellings had a boxy appearance, hipped roof with overhanging eaves, and a projecting porch with column supports. A number of homes in the neighborhood incorporated one or two popular ornamental features, such as porch spindles or decorative shingles, but did not represent a particular architectural style. Erected along the narrow streets behind Grandview Avenue, these were designed with efficiency and practicality as primary considerations and attracted middle class residents.
The Craftsman Bungalow style was a popular choice for homes erected in the neighborhood during the early twentieth century. The long-time home of Ray and Alice Boyd at 6806 Ralston Road represented this type of house in the neighborhood through its clipped gable roof with overhanging eaves, exposed rafters, and decorative beams. The walls of the house were clad with narrow lap siding and the gable face was ornamented with stucco and half-timbering. The projecting porch had thick column supports, a stick balustrade, and a pergola extension. A 1915 Craftsman style dwelling at 6907 Grandview Avenue served as the Arvada Methodist Church parsonage for many years. The house was notable for its brick walls, concrete foundation with pebble dash finish, gabled porch with brick piers and solid balustrade with stone trim, and decorative stucco and half-timbering on the gable faces.
Although agricultural profits had already begun to decline during the 1920s, the town expanded at a fairly substantial rate of 39.5 percent during that decade, to reach a population of 1,276 citizens. Sophia Walter took advantage of this growth to create the Walter Subdivision on 11 September 1920. The subdivision lay between Ralston Road and Grandview Avenue, east of Reed Street, and its plat included eleven lots measuring 48' X 256' to 313'. The creation of the new addition received little publicity. A small item in the Arvada Enterprise on 16 September 1920 noted that J.J. Webber and U.G. Griffith had each purchased two lots from the Walter's property from the First National Bank.
The 1930s brought hard times to Arvada and the surrounding agricultural community. The Stocke/Walter neighborhood continued to be a desirable residential area, attracting homeowners such as Arvada's fifth postmaster, Robert L. Newton (6709 Grandview Ave.) and Ralph A. Parsons, town trustee, police magistrate, and mayor pro tem, who lived at 7002 Grandview Ave. An unusual basement house was erected at 5719 Saulsbury St. before 1932. This type of house was outlawed by the Arvada Town Board in August 1947.
Marie Meininger, who lived in the Stocke/Walter neighborhood on the south side of east Grandview Avenue, recalled that "everyone had a garden, chickens, a goat or cow, so all shared produce instead of money, which was scarce." The property that her family acquired in 1933-34 had been a chicken ranch with five 90' chicken houses. She remembered that the railroad still played an important role in the lives of residents along its corridor. Sparks from passing trains would periodically burn wooden steps constructed to reach the level of Grandview from the railroad. In December, one railroad conductor would obtain Christmas trees in Idaho Springs and distribute them to families with children as the train passed. Despite the economic crisis, 14 percent of houses in the Stocke/Walter Addition Historic District were completed in the 1930s.
By 1940, the Stocke/Walter neighborhood was nearing the end of its development. Only 7 percent of the houses in the district were erected in the 1940s, and only 7 percent of the district's dwellings were erected after 1947. The newer homes were mostly Modern style dwellings with minimal traditional details. Guy and Charlotte Grimes completed a representative Modern style home at 6800 Ralston Road after World War II. The one-story brick house had a hipped roof, broad, stepped facade, and ornamentation confined to an elaborated entrance. As in previous decades, comfort and practicality in the design of most homes in the area received greater emphasis than ostentation. As Arvada expanded its boundaries in immense postwar subdivisions, the historic residences and charming landscape of the Stocke/Walter neighborhood increased in significance.
† R. Laurie Simmons and Thomas H. Simmons, historians, Front Range Research Associates, Inc., Stocke/Walter Addition, Jefferson County, Colorado, nomination document, 1999, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.