Ornamental Concrete Block Buildings in Colorado, 1900-1940
During the first decades of the 20th century, advances in concrete manufacturing and the development of easy to use concrete block forming machines led to the use of ornamental concrete block in both residential and commercial construction.
Although rockfaced block finishes were most widely used, other patterns included paneled, ashlar stone, cobble, rusticated, and decorative wreaths and garlands. As concrete block machines could readily be obtained from mail order catalogs and due to the ability of a single unskilled laborer to operate the machines, many individual home owners fabricated all the ornamental concrete blocks necessary to construct their own houses. Commercial builders also used the blocks for the construction of small hotels, retail offices, and warehouse buildings. (Cover documentation accepted by National Register in 1997, accepted for State Register 6/9/2004.)
Construction began on the First Baptist Church in 1907. An asymmetrical composition consisting of a variety of forms, textures and materials, the church epitomizes the Queen Anne style. Its steeply pitched complex roof with a dominant front-facing gable, the corner tower, and patterned shingles are also characteristic of the style.
Constructed in 1910, the 2½ story building is a well preserved example of ornamental concrete block construction. The property is also important for the role it played in the community’s commercial history.
The 1911 building is an excellent example of the use of on-site formed, panel-faced ornamental concrete blocks in a small but elegant church building. The irregular plan and cross-gabled roof building is also noteworthy for its primary and secondary steeples and its use of pressed metal roof shingles and siding.
The 1913 barn is an excellent example of a gambrel-roofed barn using plain-faced ornamental concrete block for its lower level. Ornamental concrete block was a popular construction material in the first three decades of the 20th century and was often formed with hand-operated machines on site.