Historic Homes Feature: Charming Eclectic Bungalow Built in 1907

811 Peterson Street
The Dura & Neil Graham House


811 Peterson St 1.jpg

Built in 1907, the Dura & Neil Graham House is an eclectic bungalow, incorporating elements of the Shingle Style, with strong Italianate, Craftsman, and Prairie influences. The rusticated sandstone foundation, typical of many Fort Collins homes built prior to the Great War, fits nicely into the aesthetic of the Shingle Style. Above, the deep Prairie style eaves, closed cornices, and false rafter tails set off the symmetrical bellcast side gables, and frame the central hipped dormers (front and rear).

The amalgam of styles makes this a unique house, architecturally, and is a testament either to the sophisticated taste, or a lack of direction, on the part of the builder. Since the house is so aesthetically pleasing overall, it is most certainly the former.
 Drawing by Kathy Bischoff

Drawing by Kathy Bischoff

The remarkably intact interior detail displays splendid examples of some of the craftsmanship available through millwork catalogs in the early 20th century, and most of these appear in Sears Roebuck building catalogs. Since this house was built in 1907, it predates by one year the availability of the mail-order Sears kit house, first offered in 1908. Neil Graham was born in Komoka, Ontario, in1866, one year before Canada transitioned from a Province to a Country. He moved to Kansas, attended University, was admitted to the bar, and represented Kansas at the Democratic National conventions in 1896 and 1900. In 1898, he married Dura Evans, with whom he had three children, two of whom did not survive into adulthood.

In 1907, Neil and Dura moved to Fort Collins with their remaining daughter, Margaret. He practiced law, and was appointed as a District Judge in 1911. He was re-elected twice, before declining to run again in 1925. He briefly served as City Attorney for Fort Collins, before again being elected as a Judge in 1930. He died in 1934, and was survived by his wife, who lived in the house until 1955. She moved to Texas, and passed away in 1967, after which the house was sold to a short succession of people, including Merlin Paulson, a professor of landscape architecture at Colorado State University. The current owners are Bruce Berkowitz & Elisabeth Aron.

Source: City of Fort Collins Landmark designation documentation.
Author:Bill Whitley