Arapahoe Acres
Photography courtesy of Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Join us for a cross-country trek where we’ll peek into a few neighborhoods where rooflines sweep and preservation prevails. Would you like to see your neighborhood featured? Do you have a story to share about one of the featured neighborhoods? Email Sarah Jane Stone at editor@atomic-ranch.com.

Arapahoe Acres

Located just south of Denver, the stunning postwar neighborhood is home to butterfly roofs and low-slung, horizontal homes. Inspired by the iconic work of Frank Lloyd Wright, local businessman Edward Hawkins teamed up with architect Eugene Sternberg to design middle-class homes that were anything but middle of the road.

Built between 1949 and 1957, Arapahoe Acres saw immediate success with first few homes quickly being snatched off the market. Hawkins and Sternberg went on to build 124 homes in the neighborhood, which was heralded for its exceptional planning. As the first post-World War II residential subdivision to be listed as a National Register Historic District, you would think the neighborhood would be safe from bad remodels. Unfortunately for Arapahoe Acres, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Unsympathetic Remodels

In 2011, Arapahoe Acres was listed on the Cultural Landscape Foundation’s “At-Risk Landscape” list—thanks to a growing number of non-period renovations that were slowly beginning to shift the neighborhood’s design.

As home values increased, a new population was moving into the neighborhood—one that preferred contemporary design over preservation. Carports were quickly disappearing, along with original details and period charm.

Hope for Tomorrow

The neighborhood is far from doomed. According to the Cultural Landscape Foundation, an intrepid crew of homeowners is seeking to revive and protect Arapahoe Acres through community development and education. They hope to spur on the homeowners who have faithfully preserved these midcentury marvels, as well as infuse newcomers with a deep, shared passion for both the history and future of Arapahoe Acres.

For more on Arapahoe Acres, visit the Cultural Landscape Foundation.