The Byers-Evans House Museum preserves the brick, two-story Italianate-style house in the Civic Center neighborhood that was the home of two prominent Denver families from 1883 until 1981. William Byers was the founder of the Rocky Mountain News, and William Evans was a transportation and construction executive.
The house has been restored to reflect the period between 1912 and 1924, when it served as the Evans family home. The interior features wood finishes and ornate mantels, brightly patterned wallpaper and period draperies, along with Evans family furnishings and household items, including china and glassware. The exterior has a covered front porch topped by a bay window on the second floor, pointed stone lintels over the other windows, corbelled chimneys, and iron roof cresting around a flat roof.
The house was built in 1883 for William Byers, who had founded the Rocky Mountain News, Denver’s first newspaper, which had published its first edition in on April 23, 1859. Byers was a civic booster and used the News to promote the growth of Denver and the region. Byers sold the News in 1878 and then served as Denver’s postmaster from 1878 until 1883. Byers became close friends with John Evans, Colorado’s second territorial governor, and Byers and his wife, Elizabeth, sold the house to Evans’ son William in 1889.
William Evans and his wife, Cornelia, moved into the house with their two young children, John and Josephine, and added daughters Margaret and Katharine to their family in the next five years.
William and John Evans, along with Byers, incorporated the Denver Tramway Co. in 1886 and won the city’s exclusive franchise to build electric streetcar lines. William Evans was named president and developed the company into a streetcar monopoly by 1900.
Evans then took over from industrialist David Moffat as president of the Denver, Northwestern & Pacific Railway and the Colorado-Utah Construction Co. when Moffat died in 1911, and managed to complete construction of the financially troubled Moffat Tunnel in 1928 to carry trains and water westward under the Continental Divide.
The home remained in the Evans family until the death of Margaret Evans Davis, William Evans’ last living child, in 1981. The house and its entire contents were donated to the Colorado Historical Society in 1981, and the society operates the museum.
The museum offers guided tours twice a day through more than a dozen rooms in the house and runs a gallery in the museum’s visitor center that focuses on Denver and the West.