Erected in 1902, the Grant-Humphreys Mansion has been home to two different families with significant ties to Colorado and American history.
It was built for James Benton Grant, the third Governor of the state of Colorado, whose two-year term ended in 1885. Grant was a mining engineer and probably best known for his work in the smelting industry. Initially plying his trade in the boomtown of Leadville, Grant eventually moved to Denver. Located two miles northeast of downtown, the Grant Smelting Company featured what, at the time, was the tallest furnace stack in the United States, and third tallest in the world.
During his time in Leadville, Grant met Mary Matteson Goodell, whom he would marry. Goodell, who was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, would feature prominently in Denver society and helped to found a home for destitute children.
After Grant died in 1911, his wife lived in the mansion for the following six years. She finally sold the house to Albert E. Humphreys in 1917.
A.E. Humphreys earned renown for being the so-called “King of the Wildcatters” after his profitable oil-drilling ventures in Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Texas. Humphreys came to Denver with his wife, Alice, and his two sons, Ira and Albert, Jr., in 1898. Along with associations with the turn-of-the-century oil industry, the Humphreys were also known for their active philanthropic contributions. Ira, considered the family’s mechanical genius (he would, over the course of his life, introduce a number of technological innovations to oil drilling and mining), and Albert, Jr., who would move into a managerial role within the family oil business, were both fascinated by airplanes. In fact, Ira opened Denver’s first commercial airport in 1919. Subsequently renamed Stapleton International Airport, its tower still stands just south of Denver International Airport. Both Ira and Albert, Jr. were eventually inducted into the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame.
Albert, Jr. lived in the mansion with his parents until their deaths. When Albert, Jr. himself died suddenly in 1968, Ira took over the property, as well as operations of the family business. Ira bequeathed the family home to the Colorado Historical Society, which took possession of the mansion after Ira’s death in 1976. By this time, the house was in a state of severe deterioration resulting from years of neglect. A new roof, brick replacement, and waterproofing of the foundation have all been completed since the Historical Society took possession.