Description George Schleier Mansion, Denver Colorado

In the late 1830's, a prominent Denver architect, E. F. Edbrooke was commissioned by Schleier to build the mansion at 1665 Grant Street, The mansion exemplifies Edhrooke's designs, advanced for the period and which lent Denver an appearance somewhat ahead of the times. The mansion, constructed of Colorado sandstone, was the most impressive of the homes designed by Edbrooke, Built on a prominent location for the 1880's, the mansion overlooks downtown Denver. The mansion is built in the eclectic architectural design, prominent in Denver during the mining years. Although there is no readily identifiable theme, the house is termed of Queen Anne style. In adding the onion tower, Edbrooke achieved a feeling of gravity. The house has a frame porch, and a new section has been added, joining the house with the carriage house.

The exterior tiles at the front door resemble hand-made Italian tiles, but were found to have been made in Indiana. It is believed that all ceramic tiles used in the fireplaces throughout the house are also domestic as names of domestic tile companies were inscribed in the backs of several tiles examined. The hardware is very elaborate and most of that remaining is original to the house. There are a total of eight fireplaces in the house, each one unique and very ornate.

The woodwork in the entry way is oak, and the floors, also in oak, have geometric parquet borders. Above the landing Edbrooke used Lincrusta-Walton friezework (made to simulate carved wood) with Chinese fret work. On the other two walls plaster composition ornament was used. Four foot wainscoting, typical of the Victorian Era, was used in the entry way and throughout the house. The coffered ceiling above the landing is in oak graining. An oak fireplace, least ostentatious in the downstairs, stands in the entry way. This fireplace has an outstanding hand-carved frieze with stopped fluted design.

The closed-string staircase with paneled base reflects Schleier's German heritage. The stairway has carvings of gargoyles and Bavarian swans, which symbolized good luck to the Germans. The baluster has extremely detailed hand-carvings. The plynth block on the woodwork, half-way up from the baseboards is also common to German styling.

Throughout the first two floors Edbrooke made extensive use of plaster molds; each room exemplifying a different type of mold. In the front parlor (the Schleier's apparently had two) the friezework is of the most elaborate plaster mold, which was very fashionable for the period. Both parlors are of cherry wood. The fireplace in the front parlor is the most ornate of any in the house, and was machine made. The surrounds of the double sash windows in the back parlor have massive plynth bases and the workable locks are original.

In the maple wood library the carvings in the fireplace mantel are hand-carved. Built-in shelving units, corresponding to the design of the fireplace, are attached to the west wall. The unit, one hundred eleven inches long and twelve and one-half inches wide, is divided into three sections. The central, tallest portion is divided into two double-doored sections by a fluted frieze. The center portion is flanked on either side with attached beveled mirrors below an egg and dart motif carving. Replacing wainscoting along all walls is horizontal reeded chair railing. The friezework is plain with embossed plaster mold flowers.

Originally there was a side door off the dining room. Like all the mirrored mantels in the house, the mirrors in the dining room server are of original beveled glass. This massive server, built into an alcove, is highly ornamental with carved animal heads and flower detail. The friezework is handpainted and the ceiling is of recessed wood panels. All door and window surrounds are hand carved, as are the tabernacle columns which flank both sides of the fireplace.

There are four bedrooms, one room believed to have been a dressing room, and two baths on the second floor. In what was likely the master bedroom, stands a magnificent fireplace of cherry wood and red and white ceramic tiles. The design of this fireplace hints of the Victorian style yet to come. The hardware on the transoms above the doorway are intact. On the second floor there is unusual plynth block detail with one-half bull's eye above the window and door surrounds.

There are three other bedrooms on the second floor. In one bedroom, the fireplace mantel has apparently been removed. In another bedroom, of maple wood, the entablature on the fireplace is in Lincrusta-Walton and the ceramic tiles are framed by a lamb's tongue wood design.

On the third floor there are several small rooms and a ballroom which, though needing much restoration work, one can tell was once very elegant.