History Colorado wants to sell a historic house in City Park West that used to be home to a miniatures museum

With over 15 million artifacts, photographs, and archival materials, History Colorado is in need of a new Collections Care Facility.
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Pearce-McAllister Cottage. Feb. 3, 2023.
Isaac Vargas/Denverite

A City Park West house, once a home for miniatures, dolls, and toys, could be up for sale.

A bill has been introduced to the state that would give History Colorado the authority to sell three properties, one of those being the Pearce-McAllister Cottage in City Park West. The other two include the McFarlane House in Central City and the Pueblo Museum Support Center in Pueblo.

According to Dawn DiPrince, History Colorado's Executive Director and State Historic Preservation Officer, interest in selling the properties is due to the need for a new Collections Care Facility.

Seeking authority to sell the property is their first step in the process of expanding storage and care for the various artifacts that History Colorado has collected for more than 143 years.

The Pearce-McAllister Cottage has not been actively used since the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys moved to its new Lakewood location in August 2020.

"After more than fifty years of stewardship we think the building can be put to better use by a new owner and continue to be a part of Denver's historic fabric," DiPrince said.

Pearce-McAllister Cottage. Feb. 3, 2023.
Isaac Vargas/Denverite

The property does have historical landmark designation, making the sale and purchase of the Dutch Colonial home a tedious process.

Should someone purchase the property, changes to the exterior that require building or zoning permits must comply with landmark design guidelines, packaged in a 264-page document adopted by the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission.

A new owner could request to remove the property's historical landmark designation but this would require a designation application which outlines why the property no longer has integrity or meets the historical designation criteria. The application would first go to the Landmark Preservation Commission and then to the City Council as public hearings. A final decision would be made by city council.

Removing historical landmark designation, "has only been successful in limited circumstances," said the city's Office of Community Planning and Development.

"Whether this building belongs to History Colorado or not, we, of course, want this building to continue to be preserved for future generations. As we move through the process of a possible sale, we are also working on the tools, such as a preservation easement, necessary to protect and preserve this property for generations to come," said DiPrince.

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