Mathews-Gotthelf Mansion Rehabilitation


History of the Mansion

The Mathews-Gotthelf Mansion is a two-story Second Empire style building and contributes to both the Curtis Park National Register Historic District and the Denver Landmark District, which is made up of over 500 homes. The Curtis Park neighborhood has a rich history, beginning with the introduction of the railroad into Denver. Curtis Park’s wide and tree-lined streets were an easy fit for the city’s first horse-drawn streetcar, making the neighborhood Denver’s initial streetcar suburb. The large homes of Curtis Park were all built between the 1880s and1890s. During this time, the prosperous merchants of the new city quickly developed the area, establishing a period of significance for the neighborhood and the Mathews-Gotthelf Mansion.

In 1880, James F. Mathews, a prosperous ore and bullion dealer, built the Mansion on the prominent corner lot at 26th and Champa Streets. The original house consisted of 5,000 square feet and occupied three lots. Mathews and his wife were socially prominent members of early Denver society. In 1890, Isaac Gotthelf purchased the house for $25,000. Gotthelf made his fortune from a mercantile in the San Luis Valley, cattle ranching, and banking interests. He was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives for the first General Assembly in 1876 and also served in the second General Assembly. Isaac Gotthelf died in 1910, and in 1915 his widow and four children sold the Mansion and moved back to the San Luis Valley. As early as the Silver Crash of 1893, the Curtis Park neighborhood began to deteriorate. Similarly, after 1915, the Mansion began to deteriorate as it cycled through various owners and was eventually divided into ten apartment units. Today the area is experiencing a renaissance, and dedicated residents are slowly restoring the neighborhood to its early grandeur. To aid the community’s revitalization efforts, and to prevent the loss of this significant historic resource, Colorado Preservation, Inc. purchased the house in 2007 with the intent to restore the Mansion to its period of significance (1880-1890s). Without this intervention, the building would have continued to fall into disrepair.

Project Description

Voted “Best Rehab Project” by Denver’s Westword magazine in March 2009, CPI’s involvement in the rescue of the historic Mathews-Gotthelf Mansion resulted in a critically needed stabilization/rescue of a neglected historic mansion in Denver’s Curtis Park historic district.

Back story: Colorado Preservation Inc. purchased the Mathews-Gotthelf Mansion in 2007 with the intent to restore its exterior and resell the property to a developer skilled in rehabilitation/reuse projects. A serious downturn in Denver’s housing market due to the 2008 recession altered – but did not derail – CPI’s plans to rescue the mansion. CPI formed a limited liability company (LLC) in conjunction with a private developer with the intent of utilizing state and federal historic tax credits to assist in the redevelopment costs. CPI held a volunteer work day in August 2010 to “deconstruct” some of the interior alterations, and then had the Mansion open for a very successful Doors Open Denver event that hosted nearly 400 visitors. Rehabilitation work included:

  • Reconstruction the original front porch and south side door overhang
  • Repair and restoration of the iron finials, windows and doors.
  • Removal of all exterior paint and repainting
  • Restoration of exterior masonry
  • Reconstruction of the wood cornice and mansard slate roof
  • Removal of the north annex, a later addition built in 1920
  • landscape improvements

In 2014, CPI transferred ownership to a developer/contractor and arranged for a preservation easement agreement protecting the mansion’s exterior to be held in perpetuity by our local partners, Historic Denver, Inc.

Lessons learned: The Mathews-Gotthelf Mansion multi-phase project serves to illustrate how historic preservation, historic rehabilitation tax credit syndication, and a public/private partnership can make economic sense and revitalize historic neighborhoods such as Curtis Park, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Denver.

Project Support

This received support from the State Historical Fund, the Curtis Park Neighbors, Historic Denver, Inc., the City and County of Denver, the Colorado Historical Foundation, and Colorado Preservation, Inc.

Donate to CPI

We hope you will extend your appreciation for Colorado's heritage by helping us take advantage of this $1 to $1 matching campaign. Learn more about our matching campaign and make your tax-deductible donation today!

Matching Campaign

Thank you to our donors for this matching campaign!


Hannah Braun

Laurel Campbell

Nore Winter

Peter Grosshuesch

Matt Goebel

Andy Duckett-Emke

Kelly and Peter Merrion

Blair and Chris Miller

Keith and Carmen Willy

Mike and Anne Coughlin

Steven Turner and  Steven Kick

T. Drew Notestine


Elaine Freed

Megan Concannon

Nicole Hernandez

Ron and Linde Thompson

Dan Corson

Lucas Schneider

Jon Nathan Schler

Jane and Phil Watkins

Ariel Steele 

Kimberly Kintz

Lisa A. Stegman

Graham Johnson

James and Joan Kroll

James Hewat

JoVonne P. Fitzgerald

Jennifer Wahlers

Stephen Blitz

Arianthé Stettner

Ann Mullins

R. Michael Bell

Nan and Dave Anderson

Patrick Eidman

Beverly Rich

Jane Daniels

Kaaren Hardy

Cynthia Pond

Rheba Massey

Katherine Woods and Christopher Koziol

Dave Lively

Paul O’Rourke

Lisa May

Sally Hopper

Ann Alexander Walker

Julie Johnson


Judith W. Amico

Featured Project

Preservation for a Changing Colorado

The 2017 update, Preservation for a Changing Colorado, resulted from a partnership between Colorado Preservation and History Colorado and Colorado Preservation, Inc. Prepared by Clarion Associates, the new report and accompanying website document the economic benefits of rehabilitation projects, analyzes property values and neighborhood stability in local historic districts, and summarizes the increasing impact of heritage tourism, private preservation development and the success of Colorado’s Main Street program. In a key finding, researchers found that for every $1 million spent on historic preservation in Colorado leads to $1.03 million in additional spending, 14 new jobs, and $636,700 in increased household incomes across the state! The 2017 report also considers the important role preservation plays in helping Coloradans provide new spaces for creative communities and co-working, create and sustain meaningful places, respond to the state’s changing demographics, and address climate concerns. Click Here to see the full report, "Preservation for a Changing Colorado".