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The Pearce-McAllister Cottage


 

The Pearce-McAllister Cottage is an outstanding example of the Dutch-Colonial Revival movement, which shaped America's taste in architecture and interior furnishings between 1876 and the 1930s.  Frederick J. Sterner, a leading Denver architect, built the house in 1899 for Harold V. Pearce and his wife, Cara Rowena Bell Pearce.  The gambrel-roofed home was designed to satisfy Mrs. Pearce's desire for "a perfect colonial cottage such as one sees in the older districts of the eastern states of America."  The interior spaces, though somewhat changed by Phebe McAllister in the late 1920s, reflect the lifestyle of upper middle class families from 1890 through World War I and into the Roaring Twenties.

Family Histories

Both the Pearce and McAllister families had close and important ties with early Colorado history.  Harold V. Pearce was the son of Richard Pearce, an experienced metallurgist from Swansea, Wales, who came to Colorado in 1872 to help find a profitable method for smelting gold ores in the Central City area.  Richard later became the manager of Nathaniel P. Hill's Argo Smelter in Denver, and Harold succeeded him.  When the Argo burned in 1906, the Pearce family moved back to England.   In 1907 they sold 1880 Gaylord to Honora Sachs, who sold the building to Henry McAllister, Jr., a few months later. Henry McAllister, Jr. (1872-1954) was the son of Major Henry McAllister, who came to Colorado in the early 1870s with William Jackson Palmer.  Henry, Jr. was a lawyer and general counsel for the Denver and Rio Grand Railways.  He served as district attorney in Colorado Springs before moving to Denver to establish a private practice in 1907.  Known as one of the most brilliant legal minds of his day, he was named by the Colorado Bar Association in 1983 as one of six outstanding lawyers throughout Colorado history.  Phebe Hallock Ketcham McAllister (1872-1944), Henry's wife, grew up in Jericho, Long Island, and could trace her family ancestry to early colonial days.  Henry and Phebe met at Swarthmore College from which they both graduated in 1892.  They married in 1896 and had two children:  Townsend Sherman (1898-1970) and Henry (1904-1936).  Well aware of her family heritage, Phebe chose to decorate her home in the popular Colonial Revival style of the 1920s.  Mrs. McAllister died in 1944, ten years earlier than her husband, who willed the home to their son, Townsend Sherman McAllister.  He, in turn, bequeathed the house and its contents to the Colorado Historical Society in 1970.  All contents are being stored by CHS in Pueblo, Colorado.