Colorado History

Five Cool Things You May Not Know About Denver's Lumber Baron Inn

The Lumber Baron Inn & Gardens is an unofficial Northside landmark, built in 1890 as a single-family home. But by 1991, it was a decrepit, condemned wreck when it was purchased by Walter and Julie Keller for $80,000. They lovingly restored the Queen Anne-style abode at 2555 West 37th Avenue, turning it into a bed-and-breakfast/reception hall that also hosted dinner theater featuring kooky costumes. Earlier this month, though, the Lumber Baron was sold for $1.7 million to Joel and Elaine Bryant. The new owners will continue to operate the bed-and-breakfast, and also plan to add a full-service restaurant.

News of the sale inspired us to look back at the history of the Lumber Baron Inn and share these five fun facts:
5. The 126-year-old home is definitely historic, but it's not a designated historic landmark in Denver.
Though a stately example of the Queen Anne architecture common in Denver in the late 1880s and '90s, the 8,500-square-foot Lumber Baron — also known as the John Mouat Mansion — isn't on Denver's official list of designated historic landmarks. Still, the mansion is a highlight of the Potter-Highland historic district, the thirteenth historic district to be established in Denver, in 1979, and expanded in 1987.

4. The mansion was the site of an unsolved double murder 
In 1970, the bodies of seventeen-year-old Kara Lee Knoche and eighteen-year-old Marianne Weaver were found in Knoche's modest apartment unit in the dilapidated mansion. The Denver Post rehashed the whole story on its Cold Case blog in 2014, 44 years after the murders, which remain unsolved. At the time of the slayings, 23 apartment units were crammed into every nook and cranny of the once-ornate structure. 

Keep reading for five more things you should know about the Lumber Baron Inn.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Bree Davies is a multimedia journalist, artist advocate and community organizer born and raised in Denver. Rooted in the world of Do-It-Yourself arts and music, Davies co-founded Titwrench experimental music festival, is host of the local music and comedy show Sounds on 29th on CPT12 Colorado Public Television and is creator and host of the civic and social issue-focused podcast, Hello? Denver? Are You Still There? Her work is centered on a passionate advocacy for all ages, accessible, inclusive, non-commercial and autonomous DIY art spaces and music venues in Denver.
Contact: Bree Davies