Exterior and Interior Restoration
5349 West 27th Avenue
Wheat Ridge, Jefferson County
SHF # 00-P2-012
James Richards arrived in Colorado with the rest of the 59-ers to find a fortune in gold. Like many others, his fortune was found not in the mountains, but in transporting and feeding those that came after him. By the late 1860s he was successful enough to marry and purchase 160 acres on Sloan's Lake, where he built "Lake Side" circa 1870. The original eastern half of the house is a fine example of Italianate architecture, and the western half, with some Queen Ann influence, was added within ten years.
Mr. Richards continued to be a prominent Denver businessman until his death in 1883, while the family lived in the house until 1911. In 1926 the Harts traded their ranch in Leadville for the house and property which they resided in until they sold it to the City of Wheat Ridge and Jefferson County Open Space in 1977. The City invested almost $450,000 in the initial restoration of the house and grounds. As time passed it became obvious that the house was beginning to show its age, as well as some distressing problems, so the City of Wheat Ridge applied for a SHF grant in 1999. The SHF project will invest over $116,000 to help this landmark retain its glory for the community.
In the first phase of the project a new roof was put on the house, as well as correcting a deflection in the ridge beam. The basement received improved ventilation to help curb the "rising damp" which had begun to damage the spectacular interior. Moisture metering is continuing to make sure that these measures have corrected the problem before the interior work will commence.