The Hill is known as a hangout for college students and its proximity to historic Chautauqua, but there’s actually quite a lot of history on The Hill. What started out as grazing lands for Anthony Arnett’s livestock has delved over time into a neat neighborhood with a mix of history, culture and yes…college students.
Here are some of the interesting buildings that have caught my attention.
The Academy Nursing Home
970 Aurora Ave, Boulder, CO 80302
This beautiful brick building that currently serves as a nursing home actually started out as a college prep school. Mount St. Gertrude Academy was built in 1892 and served as an all girl’s boarding school for Catholic women. It was believed by the Sisters who built the school that the wholesome air of the neighborhood would be good for children, especially kiddos suffering from tuberculosis. The neighborhood was sought out by many people suffering from tuberculosis as Colorado’s dry air was considered more desirable by those with TB.
Later as this blogger delves, St. Gertie’s as it was known became a school for “difficult girls” whose parents wanted them to receive a Catholic education. The school was closed in 1969, and reopened as a retirement home in 1998.
Boulder Pottery Lab
1010 Aurora Ave, Boulder, CO 80302
Right down the street from the nursing home is the Boulder Pottery Lab, which was previously a fire station. Built in 1908, the fire station was known as the St. Gertie firehouse due to its proximity to the school. It became a pottery studio in 1963, and you can still take pottery lessons there. If you’re interested, check out classes here.
891 12th St, Boulder, CO 80302
Marpa House is an urban meditation living center for Buddhists with classes and retreats on meditation, yoga and Buddhism. It was built in the late 1970’s and was named for the Buddhist teacher Marpa Lotsawa. Up to 30 residents can live there while working on their Buddhist practice.
Shaeffer Chabad House at CU
909 14th St., Boulder, CO 80302
This building is the new center for Jewish life at CU Boulder students. Built in the 1930s and remodeled in the 1960s, the building has had many lives already housing sororities, fraternities, classrooms for Naropa University and even serving as a boarding house. It was purchased by Chabad in 2011, and they moved into the renovated building in 2014. They are neighbors with St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, the Catholic church serving CU students, and they’ve been known to play a basketball game or two. Read more about their services here.
1206 Euclid Avenue, Boulder, CO 80302
This house was built in 1899 by John Harbeck, a prominent New Yorker, who liked to summer in Boulder with his wife. Later it passed to another Boulder family who lived in it for another 30 years until selling it to the city of Boulder in 1969. Most recently, the house has served as the location of the Boulder History Museum, which is moving to a closer location to downtown. To visit currently, you must make an appointment while they are preparing for a move to their new location. It remains property of the Boulder Historical Society, and it’ll be interesting to see how this neighborhood might change yet again. You can read more about the history of the house here.