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Arapahoe Acres was the first post-World War II neighborhood to be listed as a historic district in the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of the most unique residential enclaves in the Denver Metro Area and is a fun, albeit, quick driving tour.
Enthusiast of Contemporary Architecture wax poetic about Arapahoe Acres and its place in history. The architecture you find here is of the International and Usonian Styles.
The International Style first appeared in the late 20’s and is based on principles of functionalism and reductionism. Simply put, these principles are the tendency to reduce the elements of a building to basic elements of function while creating a beautiful natural aesthetic.
The Usonian Style is credited to Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright aspired to create a distinctly American style of architecture which was affordable for the "common people." At the core of this movement was the idea of urban planning as an extension of architecture.
During the boom years after World War II the need for affordable housing was especially high. In 1949, Edward B. Hawkins, a Colorado native and real estate developer purchased the 30 acres that became Arapahoe Acres. With the help of a program created by an organization called The Housing Research Institue, he began to create a community which promoted “quality modern design”.
Hawkins hired Eugene Sternberg, a DU professor and Architect to design the homes. After designing the first 20 homes, there was a falling out between the two men and Hawkins designed the remainder of the subdivision. It was related to me that the falling out had to do with Hawkins increasing the price of the homes beyond what Sternberg thought to be “affordable”.