In the late 1940s, twenty something Brad Wolff and his developer father, H.B. (Hiram) Wolff, acquired an alfalfa field in southeast Denver. As they planned for a housing development on the site, they were intrigued by the postwar Modernist homes being constructed in Southern California. After an inspiring trip to view the buildings of the now iconic Joseph Eichler, they returned to Denver with easy to build, and apparently, easy to “borrow” plans. The project was named Krisana Park, in honor of the owners of the alfalfa field, Christian and Ann Noe.
The 177 homes in the Krisana Park enclave were built between 1954 and 1955, and are all derived from a handful of modular layouts. See map here: Krisana Park Map The roughly 1250 square foot, 3-bedroom, 2-bath homes, sold for a base price of $15,950, and cost roughly $2250 for the materials for each home. Characterized by the low-slung rooflines, open floor plans, Phillippine Mahogany interior wall panels, carports, and floor to ceiling windows opening to large side or back lanais, these streamlined, post-and-beam dwellings sold quickly. After the success of the Krisana development, a smaller pocket of similar homes (with new models like A-frames) were built nearby in the area known as Lynwood.
As the homes turned 50, a renewed interest in the homes’ design, and the history of the community had begun to emerge as residents and the general public became more cognizant of the key components of mid-century modern design and recognized the unique appeal of such a well-preserved living example. Fortunately, none of the original homes have been scraped but many have been updated, expanded, and remodeled. The neighborhood has hosted several home tours, been featured in local and national publications, and in 2009, Krisana Park was honored with The Mayor’s Design Award.
Krisana Park residents are accustomed to seeing cars driving too slowly down their streets, with passengers glued to the windows in wonder. They know that their homes are an irresistible draw for architects, designers, historians, hopeful homebuyers, and enthusiasts of the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic.
On the wide, curved streets of Krisana Park, one feels the unique thrill of simultaneously touching history and the future at the same moment.