Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Former residence of legacy professor is demolished

A University Park “professors’ row” home that was the former residence of DU professor Ammi Hyde has been demolished.

The Victorian-style structure at the northwest corner of East Evans Avenue and South Milwaukee Street was torn down early this week to improve prospects for sale of the land, according to property owner Sue Gallagher.

“We couldn’t sell it with the house on it,” Gallagher says, who occupied the three-bedroom, two-bath residence from 1987 until she and her husband, Don Gallagher, put it on the market more than two years ago. “The foundation was in very bad shape. It was built of soft stone and crumbling.” Repair estimates ranged from $50,000 to $75,000, she says. The home also needed extensive remodeling.

Public records say the 2,250-square-foot home was built in 1896, but Gallagher believes the actual date was 1887. The two-story, stuccoed red-brick structure at 2102 S. Milwaukee was one of the first homes in University Park, anchoring the north end of a strip of properties that stretches south to Grey Gables, the former home of Bishop Henry and Elizabeth Warren.

It was the Warrens’ $100,000 donation that enticed DU to move from downtown Denver to what was then prairie and induced the Warrens to move into Grey Gables as a way of promoting University Park and building DU, according to Millie Van Wyke in The Town of South Denver, It’s People, Neighborhoods and Events Since 1858.

Homes for DU faculty filled the space between the Warrens’ property and Hyde’s residence. These houses were built from about 1891 to 1898, according to public records, and became known as “professors’ row.” The exact dates of Hyde’s residence in the house are unknown.

One of DU’s first professors, Hyde was facile in seven languages, including Sanskrit. At DU, he taught Greek and Latin and served as acting chancellor from 1889–90. He was the first minister of what is today the University Park United Methodist Church.

Hyde’s name graces the Ammi Hyde Building on South Vine Street, presently occupied by the Morgridge College of Education and the Graduate School of Professional Psychology. The noted professor also is associated with the Ammi Hyde Award, presented for alumni achievement within 10 years of graduation, and the Ammi Hyde Interviews. Hyde interviews of prospective students are given in more than 30 cities throughout the nation by alumni, faculty and staff.

Hyde retired from teaching in 1911 and died in 1921 at the age of 97.

Demolition of Hyde’s former residence came over objections by a number of University Park residents, who pressed to save the historic house.

“It’s just a tragedy,” says Ellen van Ness-Seymour, who lives nearby.

Gallagher says she understood the concerns but was unable to find a buyer. Records show the property was offered for sale in June 2007 at $595,000 then gradually lowered to $385,000 in August 2008. The city’s most recent assessed value was $424,900.

“It’s a nice lot,” Gallagher says. “Somebody can build a house sensitive to the neighborhood.

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