Monaco to Quebec, 6th Avenue to Colfax
|The connection between the infamous “Red Baron” of World War I and the Montclair neighborhood can be found in Baron Manfred von Richthofen—he was the uncle of the “Red Baron” and the father of Montclair!Richthofen arrived in Colorado from Germany in 1877. A man of many interests, he started the Downtown Denver Real Estate Company in 1881, was a novelist, and was also a founding member of the Denver Chamber of Commerce. With Matthias P. Cochrane, Richthofen established the Montclair Town and Improvement Company in 1885.
Though promoted as a healthy place to live, away from the smoke and fumes of the city, the Montclair neighborhood was not drawing residents. To demonstrate the wonderful quality of life there, the Baron decided to build a castle of his own at 12th and Olive. He had the Montclair ditch created, which was a lateral of the Highline Canal, eventually flowing into Montclair Park. The water supply enabled many flowers, trees, and shrubs to be planted and to thrive where the land had previously been essentially barren.
The Baron pushed for the Denver Tramway Company to build four streetcar lines on 6th, 8th, and 17th Avenues as well as Colfax. This convenient access to downtown was the beginning of the Montclair boom. To further promote Montclair (as not only a healthy place but also as a prestigious neighborhood), strict building requirements were in place including using only brick or stone, planning for a minimum of two stories, and building on double size lots (twice the size of the typical 25’x125’ lots).
In 1890, the Baron platted his own addition to Montclair and the building continued. With the Colorado Women’s College (1890) and the Fairmount Cemetery (1890), as well as the increasingly well-known reputation as a community for people suffering from lung-related illnesses, Montclair thrived. It was also home to the National Jewish Hospital and Agnes Memorial Sanatorium, one of the largest tuberculosis treatment centers in Colorado.
With the Silver Crash in 1893, development quickly halted. However, the foundation had already been laid for Montclair to become a unique and architecturally diverse community. In 1975, the area bounded by 7th and 12th Avenues, from Newport to Pontiac, was designated as a Historic District. And today, Montclair remains one of the most popular neighborhoods in Denver.
Historic Montclair Community Association
President: Carrie O’Shea
Address: 1347 Olive Street, Denver, CO 80220
East Montclair Neighborhood Association
President: Jan Franklin
Address: PO Box 201273 Denver, CO 80020