Walking tour of Denver's Capitol Hill mansions highlights architecture, history and high society

DENVER - Denver's Capitol Hill was ranked one of the top 10 most beautiful neighborhoods in the country last month by Forbes.

I was a little surprised - I tend to think of Capitol Hill as being full of nondescript, box-like high-rises built in the 1960s.

Taking a walking tour of the area with an expert on history and architecture changed that in about an hour and a half.

Our docent, Larry, led us around the neighborhood, stopping at historic locations such as the 1891 Keating Mansion at East 12th Avenue and Pennsylvania, the 1889 Marne Castle at East 15th Avenue and Race Street, the 1890 Croke-Patterson Mansion on East 11th Avenue and the 1906 Crawford-Hill Mansion on East 10th Avenue near Sherman Street.

Some of the buildings are now bed and breakfasts, office buildings or apartment homes, but Larry did an incredible job of explaining what life was like for the people residing in the homes in the 1890s-1900s.

It was fascinating to hear about the height of Denver's society at the time, and how Molly Brown was never quite accepted in spite of her wealth and activism in the women's suffrage movement.

I learned about Richardsonian Romanesque, Victorian, Chateauesque and Art Moderne architecture… and some of the ghostly sightings at the historic homes.

The tour is just over a mile of slow-paced walking with plenty of stops, and lasts about an hour and a half.

Tickets are $15 for the general public or $12 for members of the Molly Brown House Museum (which I also highly recommend!)

For more information, visit the site: http://www.historicdenver.org/programs/historic-denver-tours/

Anica Padilla covers breaking news, the Broncos and local arts and entertainment for 7NEWS Denver. Follow her on Twitter.

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