Own a Piece of History in Arapahoe Acres
1431 E Dartmouth Avenue, Arapahoe Acres, Englewood
The Kern House, Designed by Edward Hawkins
Offered at $648,000
1431 E Dartmouth Avenue in Context . . .
The Arapahoe Acres Historic District
Arapahoe Acres celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2019, marking the start of construction in 1949. This unique tract of 124 homes was developed by Edward B. Hawkins, who not only built, but designed most of the homes in the neighborhood. Hawkins was not trained as an architect, but found his inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright designs that he had observed while working as a contractor in Chicago in the years before starting his own home-building firm in Denver in the ’40s. As a result, many of the homes in Arapahoe Acres reflect similar sensibilities to Frank Lloyd Wright designs in their form, window placement, use of natural materials, and creative design details. The first homes in the neighborhood, along Marion Street, were designed by architect Eugene Sternberg, and Hawkins was assisted in later years by young architect Gerry Dion, who was moonlighting in order to earn a down payment for his own Arapahoe Acres home.
Hawkins was not only the neighborhood’s developer, but was also a resident for many years before ultimately moving to California in his retirement. His superintendent, Clyde Mannon went on to develop Arapahoe Acres’ sister neighborhood in Littleton, Arapaho Hills.
Eight Modest Homes
1431 E Dartmouth Avenue is one of a group of eight flat-top homes that Hawkins designed in 1952 that were built to be affordable, with an emphasis on privacy, while also employing the ideas of indoor-outdoor living. Four pairs of homes were designed to be low with emphasized horizontal lines, with each pair appearing from the street as a single cohesive design using connecting concrete block fences, a similar floor plan, consistent heights, roof lines, and overhangs. His unique approach was featured in the August, 1952 issue of House + Home Magazine, a trade magazine for the home building industry, and was lauded for making small homes feel larger. through open planning and the creation of private outdoor living spaces.
1431 E Dartmouth Ave was designed and built by Edward Hawkins as part of the famous Arapahoe Acres development in 1952.
Broker Associate | Resident Realty
In the House + Home article, the writer lists highlights of Hawkins’ approach to designing this cutting-edge group of modest homes:
“To make his small houses look bigger Edward Hawkins:
Put them on wider (70') lots.
Lengthened his horizontal lines by tying each house to its next-door neighbors’ with masonry block walls. This made each house almost as wide as the lot.
Used wide overhangs of 4' on the front and 3' 4" on the sides.
Emphasized horizontal lines by a wide fascia, bands of windows, raked out horizontal masonry joints, and with strong shadow lines cast by the front overhang.
Designed the garage as an extension of the house”
“To give his buyers more privacy, better outdoor living, he:
Set each house at an angle to the street, to give longer, more private vistas from front and rear windows.
Give each house a small rear terrace that is private because of the angle of the house.
Provided high wood fences at the sides and lower fences at the rear as an optional extra which all families bought.
Concealed service yards behind walls at the sides of the houses, kept rear yard clear for lawn or garden.
Kept garages in front or at side of the houses, so they serve as buffers between rear yard and street.
Put each house approximately in the center of a 70' x 105' lot. The front setback (and placement of house at an angle) gives the front living room of the houses some privacy from street traffic.
Prevented neighbors from looking into bedroom windows because of the angle of house and high fences.”
Mid-Century Details Matter
It is rare to have so much insight into the designer/builder’s thinking behind the design of these homes. Knowing this information can help inform current and future owners as they might consider making changes to the home; changes that may or may not be right for the original design of the home. The reason I love mid-century modern design so much is how carefully thought out every single detail is. 1431 E Dartmouth Ave has hundred of thoughtful and priceless details, still intact, left in place by owners that realized that this home’s mid-century modern details really . . . do . . . matter. Are you ready to carry the torch forward for this beautiful home?