Historic Homes Feature: A Labor of Love for a Colonial Revival/Queen Anne Hybrid

620 East Elizabeth Street
The Gillette Home


620 E Elizabeth St 1.jpg

Professor Clarence P. Gillette took up his post as Colorado Agricultural College’s first entomologist in 1891. In 1905, he and his wife Clara began construction on this beautiful home here on Elizabeth St, where they lived with their two daughters, Florence and Esther. In 1905, building styles were evolving from Victorian to early twentieth century styles. This home features predominantly Colonial Revival elements such as the low-pitched roof, asymmetrical yet balanced front facade, centered front door with front door sidelights, and bay and grouped double-hung windows. Before 1920, exterior wood wall materials were typically used in Colonial Revival-influenced structures, as demonstrated in this home. The metal roof cresting, classical column porch supports, single large pane of glass in the upper half of the front door, and the second floor balcony are more typical Queen Anne features and a remnant of late nineteenth century influences. Professor Gillette established the entomology museum at the college, along with CSU’s first student organization - an entomology club (for a brief time labeled ‘The Gillette Infestation’), directed the college Experiment Station, and also served as the State Entomologist. His wife Clara was a founding member of the Fort Collins Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Clara passed in 1925. Professor Gillette remained in the home, passing in 1941. The house was subsequently owned by Professor Herbert Wilgus, the head of Poultry Husbandry at Colorado A&M (CSU) and his wife Evelyn.The proprietors of Operation Electric, Robert and Mary Frison raised their family in this home, remaining here for more than fifty years.

Current owners Laura and Steven Tuchschmidt have launched themselves into a labor of love, working to remove the late twentieth century siding revealing the original shiplap, restoring a second floor bathroom, and removing an exterior wall to reopen the second floor balcony that had been enclosed for decades.
 Drawing by Kathy Bischoff

Drawing by Kathy Bischoff

The proprietors of Operation Electric, Robert and Mary Frison raised their family in this home, remaining here for more than fifty years. Current owners Laura and Steven Tuchschmidt have launched themselves into a labor of love, working to remove the late twentieth century siding revealing the original shiplap, restoring a second floor bathroom, and removing an exterior wall to reopen the second floor balcony that had been enclosed for decades. Amongst its many historic features, the home contains the original door bell, original floors, original door handles and hinges, and multiple exposed brick chimneys. Take note of the more elaborate egg and dart detailing on the moldings on the ground floor, and the less detailed moldings used upstairs in private living quarters. The Tuchschmidt’s efforts illustrate twenty-first century living in an early twentieth century abode and pay homage to the historic beauty of this home.

Author: Jodie Chamberlain