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Historic Hitchcock Home Subject of Public Open House Thursday


April 24, 2012 — One of Laramie's best known homes, designed by prolific architect Wilbur A. Hitchcock in 1909, will soon be the new building of the University of Wyoming Honors Program.

An open house to unveil plans for the new UW Honors Center, located on the corner of 10th and Ivinson streets, is scheduled 7-9 p.m., Thursday, April 26, at the Albany County Public Library. The Albany County Historic Preservation Board hosts the open house.

Representatives from the American Heritage Center will present the original architectural drawings by Hitchcock. A discussion on Hitchcock's residential designs in Laramie and on the UW campus also will be presented at the public meeting.

The UW Honors Center building is a Colonial Revival house, which represents the first residential design of Hitchcock's plans for Laramie. It was built for A.G.H. Bode, head of the UW music department. The house, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was designed by Hitchcock while he attended UW as an undergraduate student.

Hitchcock left his mark throughout the University Neighborhood Historic District. In 1912, he graduated with a bachelor's degree and taught civil engineering at UW until 1915, when he moved to Boulder, Colo., to earn his professional engineering degree from the University of Colorado. He then returned to Laramie, where he taught engineering for several years at UW.

While still an undergraduate, Hitchcock began designing buildings in Laramie -- 11 of these early endeavors are in the historic district, including former UW President Aven Nelson's home at 1100 Garfield St.; local dentist Charles Nydegger's Craftsman-style bungalow at 719 Ivinson St.; and a Colonial Revival-style music studio used by St. Matthew's Episcopal Church minister Arnold Bode, at 914 Ivinson St.

These varied buildings, built between 1909-1910, showcase Hitchcock's talent in architectural design.

In 1921, Hitchcock opened an architectural office and ran his design business while a UW professor. In 1922, he won the competition to design a new library for UW, the first of many buildings he would design for the university campus.

During the 1920s through 1930, Hitchcock designed 21 buildings in the historic district, including the seven houses built by the Laramie Home Builders Company. At least three, and possibly more, additional Hitchcock-designed houses were either demolished or moved to make way for the Albany County Public Library.

Hitchcock designed and built a total of 32 buildings (31 homes and one church) in the University Neighborhood Historic District.

Photo:
Plans for this historic home, located on the corner of 10th and Ivinson streets, designed by architect Wilbur A. Hitchcock in 1909, will be unveiled at a public meeting 7-9 p.m., Thursday, April 26, at the Albany County Public Library. (Albany County Historic Preservation Board Photo)

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