By Margaret Jackson / NewsBreak Denver
(Denver, Colo.) One of Denver’s historic Capitol Hill mansions has been recommended for designation as a landmark by the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission.
The Denver City Council will hold a public hearing in February to determine whether to approve the Hart-McCourt House at 555 E. Eighth Ave. for the designation.
Built in 1898 for $20,000, the mansion is the oldest surviving structure on the block between Eighth and Ninth avenues and Pearl and Pennsylvania streets. Architecture firm Varian and Sterner designed the home in the Classical Revival style, with a front porch dominating the front facade of the structure. The porch is supported by paired Ionic columns and features a decorative balustrade on the second level.
The Hart family built the home and resided there from 1898 to 1909 when they sold it to Emma McCourt, who lived there with her husband, Peter McCourt until she died in 1912. Peter McCourt continued to live there until 1915, when the property sold again.
Charles Hart, the first owner and a Colorado pioneer originally from Connecticut, was a prominent gynecologist and served as the State Board of Medical Examiners president. He married Elizabeth Arms in the 1870s, and the couple had two children: Richard and Francis.
After studying at Harvard University and the University of Denver, Richard Hart served as attorney for the Colorado Fuel and Iron Co. in 1903 — the same year John D. Rockefeller purchased the company — until 1909. The company played a key role in the history of American labor relations and the industrialization of the West.
Richard Hart and his wife, Elizabeth, had two children while living in the house: John and Stephen. Stephen Hart co-founded one of Colorado’s most influential law firms — Holland & Hart. He also was Colorado’s first State Historic Preservation Officer.
The next owners were Peter and Emma McCourt. Peter McCourt was the brother of Baby Doe Tabor, second wife of “Silver King” Horace Tabor. McCourt was best known as the theater manager of Denver’s Tabor Grand Opera House and Broadway Theater.
The property has changed hands several times over the years, eventually becoming a boarding house like many other Capitol Hill mansions. The property ultimately was purchased and converted into a commercial space used by a variety of businesses over the years.