Quonset huts are the ugly stepchildren of historic preservation: Kenny Be's Yard Arteology

Baker: Twin quonset huts are in doubly good condition.
Baker: Twin quonset huts are in doubly good condition.

While Quonset huts remain cultural curiosities, they are seldom celebrated during National Historic Preservation Month. Manufactured in far-off factories and moved frequently, they seldom win a local's love. The twin Palace Construction Quonset huts pictured above are in remarkable shape compared to a pair over in Mar Lee...

Click image to enlarge.EXPAND
Click image to enlarge.

Quonset huts were manufactured as an affordable temporary building that could be shipped easily and set up quickly by unskilled labor. After World War II, the buildings were sold as surplus to satisfy the housing shortages created by returning soldiers. Many were purchased by the University of Denver, CU-Boulder and CSU to house soldiers returning to school.

The pair of Quonset huts pictured above are located directly west of Garfield Lake in the Mar Lee neighborhood. Both of the bowed-roof structures were built on top of concrete slabs because the water table in this lake-side area is just a few feet below the surface.

Below, the survivor and the mobile home replacement...  

Mar Lee: Surviving Quonset hut.
Mar Lee: Surviving Quonset hut.
Mar Lee: Boarded Quonset hut and more modern factory-manufactured neighbor.
Mar Lee: Boarded Quonset hut and more modern factory-manufactured neighbor.

Both of the Quonset huts pictured above have east-side wood-frame additions -- probably the kitchen/bath rooms needing on-site plumbing. Due to the high water table of the neighborhood adjacent to Garfield Lake park, basements are impractical and the boarded Quonset will probably be demolished to make way for a bigger concrete slab and a more angular manufactured home. Below, a false front tries in vain to hide a Highland Quonset hut...  

Highland: Quonset hut tries to hide behind a false front.
Highland: Quonset hut tries to hide behind a false front.

A Highland neighborhood Quonset hut nearly goes unnoticed behind a false front and high security fence. The building pictured above sits hidden from view before an I-25 retaining wall and is most remarkable for its numerous dormer windows. The view below shows that this Quonset hut lives larger than the pairs in both the Baker and Mar Lee neighborhoods...  

Highland: Quonset hut sports a rounded roof in a square world.
Highland: Quonset hut sports a rounded roof in a square world.
Highland: Quonset hut is still living large.
Highland: Quonset hut is still living large.

More from our Kenny Be/Comics archive: "Southwest Denver basement home historic district proposal: Kenny Be's Yard Arteology."


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