Century-old house earns historic designation – Glenwood’s first
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – On September 16, 1909, George P. Coryell and his wife Cristina began constructing their new home located at 911 Pitkin Avenue in Glenwood Springs.
At the time, it was one of the first homes in the neighborhood of what is now Glenwood’s downtown core.
One hundred years, and one day later, on Sept. 17, 2009 the home, currently owned by Ron and Alison Limoges received a local historical designation for the home.
Ron and Alison bought the property in 1998.
Being one of the first concrete block homes built in Glenwood at the time, it’s fitting that the house is also the very first residential historical local landmark in town, as well.
The designation is something that the Glenwood couple is very proud of.
“I feel really proud that we are doing this,” Alison said. “We’re trying to preserve this home pretty much as it is, and we have a real sense of pride in protecting and preserving the downtown core.”
While the home has undergone some alterations in its 100 years, the Glenwood Springs Historical Preservation Commission, which Alison is a member of, decided that the home had historical significance to be designated a local landmark.
Designation criteria stipulates that local landmarks must be at least 50 years old and meet one or more of the criteria for architectural, social, geographical, or environmental significance.
The commission found that the 911 Pitklin home met certain architectural criteria for the use of concrete block in construction of the house, and was also designated historically significant due to the relation with the Coryell family which was – and still is – a prominent family in the area.
“Although altered, 911 Pitkin Avenue contains many of its original construction features,” said Glenwood Senior Planner Gretchen Ricehill. “At the time of construction the use of concrete block in construction was not common practice in Glenwood Springs.”
And it’s thought that the blocks were made at a New Castle Portland Cement Company which George Coryell’s uncle, Perry Coryell, was president of beginning in 1909.
“That connection was key to the significance of this home,” Ricehill said.
Perry Coryell also owned the Coryell mine in New Castle and the town’s “Non Pareil” newspaper, according to information found through the Limoges’ research.
Through their research, the Limoges also discovered that the George P. Coryell and his family lived in the residence until 1919. George was born in Iowa in 1882 and died in Glenwood Springs in 1970. He was buried in the Rosebud Cemetery.
The house is a single story, concrete block home with a hipped roof. The home was originally built with a full-width open front porch. Sometime after 1956 the front porch was enclosed and additions were constructed on the north and rear sides of the house. However, the original concrete block remains visible along the south and much of the north sides of the house.
“What makes this house unique is that it’s made of concrete blocks,” Ron said. “What we’ve learned was that there was a pretty common building method developed in the early 1900s.”
The method included molds for small, medium and large blocks, each side with a different surface. Some were smooth and some where rough. It took between 1,000 and 1,200 blocks to build the Limoges’ house. The commission found that only six other homes in Glenwood Springs used a similar cement block pattern to the Limoges home.
“My guess is that all of the houses were built around the same time,” Ron said.
With the local landmark designation the Limoges are now able to receive certain tax breaks, and could apply for certain grants, if they wanted to do some preservation work on the residence.
While the designation is pretty cool, the research was a very enjoyable aspect for Alison. She had to go to the courthouse and read volumes of records to determine all the owners of the house through the years. She utilized the services of the Historical Society and the Preservation Commission.
“That process, while somewhat time consuming, was really interesting,” Alison said.
She hopes that she will be able to inspire other owners to research the history of their properties to find the historical significance behind them as well.
“I thought, let me take it upon myself to go through the process and to see what it’s like so that I could help others who are interested to do it as well,” Alison said.
And with the designation, a little piece of Glenwood’s history is preserved for future generations.
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