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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

Touring the Byers-Evans House

When I finished talking on the travel panel in downtown Denver with the Public Relations Society of America I felt motivated to go out and do something. Here I had just exchanged a lot of good travel ideas with some top notch people and I wanted to get out and do and see something. I left Maggiano’s on the 16th Street Mall though with every intention of just heading back to my car though, until I remembered the Byers-Evans House that is.

I’ve been wanting to get a tour of the house where two of the most famous families in Colorado history once lived. I’ve tried several times but I always end up just missing the last tour of the day. It was well worth the wait though; the tour guide was excellent, the house was beautifully restored, and I loved seeing it all decorated in preparation for their Halloween events.
As the tour guide unlocked the door she explained to us how they didn’t always have locks and generally left it open. One day though someone broke into the house at night and made his way upstairs to the living quarters of the historic house. When people responded to see what the alarm was about, he was found taking a bath.
William Byers, the founder of the now defunct Rocky Mountain News newspaper, had the house built for his family in 1883. They were apparently moving away from a scandal just a short distance away on Capitol Hill and didn’t want their problems, an upset mistress, so close at hand.
One room, the tea parlor, is now restored to how the Byers family had it furnished, but none of the decorations, save three, are actually from their family. Two vases and a small clock in between them over the fire place were donated by their decendents. They’re gorgeous pieces, but it’s disappointing that more of the beautiful room isn’t authentic family heirlooms. In 1981 the remaining Evans family members used the parlor as a tv room; at their death the house was donated, along with all of its furnishings, to the Colorado Historical Society.
Businessman William Evans purchased the home in 1889 and raised his family there for generations to come. When his father, John Evans – the second territorial governor of Colorado – died, William had a massive extension built for his mother and sister, Maragaret and Anne. The addition to the home was so big I honestly think it more than doubled what was already there. It was a bit like a maze though that reminded me of that weird stair picture, especially since there was a staircase that went absolutely no where.
With so much of the decor being authentic, circa 1920, from the Evans family I really felt like I was intruding in someone’s personal home. At times I felt like I was even being watched, beyond the security cameras that is, but the guide insisted that no haunting presence was ever detected. About a year ago they apparently brought in a crew to monitor the house and spend the night and they only came back with one “hit.”
I dared not take a photo of the picture, but apparently one of the ghostbusters commented that one of the paintings Anne did wasn’t very good. As a response everyone in the room heard a whispering, “why?” I too wondered that since it seemed fine by me, but I thought better of challenging Anne’s ghost and left the painting in her upstairs sitting room alone. Instead I admired one she did of Governor John Evans near his death.
To become a member of a Denver art society Anne needed to contribute a painting. She did this one of her father and offered it for her entry. She was accepted and became a leading member in the society, which later became the Denver Art Museum. And now by an interesting coincidence that museum sits in their backyard, all of which is the center of the cultural district in Denver.
The home is a historical treasure for Colorado. There are so many interesting stories that passed between these walls, like the ones that I’ve related, and I’m glad I made the stop to learn about it. This tour was really the perfect follow up to the travel luncheon I participated in, especially since the Evans family were big travelers themselves. It was a perfect fit and one that I’d definitely recommend to anyone visiting Colorado.

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  1. Spending a Free Night at Denver Museums | Jason's Travels - November 1, 2012


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