Located at 2118 Goss Circle in Boulder’s “Little Rectangle” area, and build circa 1898, the Frank Hall residence tells a story of former slaves who were among Boulder’s first black residents. Though modest, the one-story hall-and-parlor house with a side gable roof, is indicative of a building type transplanted from the rural south, where many of Boulder’s early black residents were born.
Frank Hall lived in the residence at the turn of the century. Mr. Hall’s parents moved to Boulder in 1876, and his father was a former slave and Civil War veteran. The longer resident of the home was Emily Ewing, a former slave who lived there from 1901 through 1911, when she died at the age of 93 with her widowed daughter, Mary Smith, and her five grandchildren. From 1943 through 1951, Samuel Anderson (a porter) and his wife lived there. The majority of the residents were renters, a reflection of the economic and residential restrictions by black residents in this time period.
Today, fourteen out of the original twenty residences associated with African-Americans, remain in the “Little Rectangle” area. The Frank Hall house is one of two hall-and-parlor type houses identified with African-Americans remaining.
Last month, the Boulder Landmarks Board put a stay of demolition (stopping the demolition for 180 days), asking the potential buyer and historic preservationists to work together to explore other options. However, at the next Landmarks meeting on May 15th at 6 the stay of demolition is in danger of being lifted, allowing the request for a demolition permit. One of the biggest arguments for lifting the stay is the condition of the house, which is poor. However, though much of the fabric will need to be repaired and replaced this will not affect the overall integrity of the house if done in congruence with the Secretary’s Standards for Rehabilitation, and in fact, could even use tax-credits to aid in the rehabilitation as the property was recently found eligible for the State Register of Historic Properties.
Dan Corson, History Colorado, will be leading a walking tour on Thursday, May 9th at 6pm (meet at 23rd & Goss Streets, Boulder) of the area known as the “Little Rectangle,” home to Boulder’s pioneer and early African-American families. We urge you to make reservations with Historic Boulder, to attend the walking tour, and to also attend the public Landmarks meeting on May 15th to express the importance of keeping a stay of demolition on this property to explore alternatives to demolition.