|Evans School ca.1904 (note light in upper left corner of photo)|
Inspired by the 1893 Chicago Exposition, then Denver Mayor Robert Speer began a program to beautify Denver, which included parks, street parkways, and attention to public school buildings. The architect chosen for the Evans School was David W. Dryden, who designed over 20 other Denver school buildings during his career. Evans was built in the Classical Revival style popular at the time, opened in1904 and served as a school for nearly 69 years. It was named after Denver businessman John Evans, an early territorial governor and founder of University of Denver. The school had about 700 elementary students at its peak. Hearing and sign language departments were added in 1928 and 30. Evans became the first Denver school to serve handicapped students. Evans School eventually closed its doors in the early 70’s and went on the auction block.
The original plans (on linen!) for the school have been preserved in an archival fashion with selected documents scanned to ensure access. The school was designed with some unique structural elements. For example, the coal fired heating system provided hot water for the washrooms and radiators, but also forced warm air up and out vents, which are visible under the dentil molding along the roof line. This served to provide good convection in the days before air conditioning. Since Evans was the only school to remain operational all summer, this was an important feature, and is similar to the heating and cooling system found in the Eastern Market in Washington D.C.
|Copper hand rail detailing|
The building, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, is currently undergoing more restoration. The Ebers have been collecting names and phone numbers of people who have had personal connections to the building and they envision a permanent display to highlight the building’s history. One current example is Mr. Joe Bargas, who lives at the Acoma Apartments across from the school and did maintenance work as a young man in the Evans School.