As Denver continues to change, the palatial mansion at 6400 Montview Blvd. will probably stay pretty much the same forever, or at least as long as the city’s historic preservation rules hold up.
The 84-year-old home in South Park Hill is on the docket for Denver City Council to give it historic status. If approved, the building, known as the Bitman-Hower House, would remain as-is give or take certain allowable changes.
Its side-gabled roof, asymmetrical façade, stucco exterior, red-tile roof, and arches make the home an example of “Spanish Eclectic” architecture, which is uncommon in Denver, according to the application for landmark designation. Its distinctive style is one reason for the likely historic designation.
Another reason this house is special, according to the application, is that it was designed by J. Roger Musick and built by Harry Bitman. Musick was a locally prominent architect who also designed the Berkeley Park Chapel, whose preservation was controversial. Bitman, who built the home and lived in it, co-founded Quality Home Builders.
The house also represents a side of the Great Depression that people don’t typically associate with the economically dark times: the rich, according to city historians. No neighborhood grew more than South Park Hill during that period, according to the application, with 686 new developments.
The home is linked to redlining, according to the application. It sat in the large swathe of Denver classified as “first-grade” by a 1938 redlining map, meaning it was off-limits for non-whites.
On Tuesday, Denver’s land-use committee advanced the historic designation to a vote of the full council later this month.