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In addition to visiting deer, a November 2017 view from Mesa Road across part of the land that’s now owned by Carl Bourgeois shows what used to be the Llewellyn family's main house and (right) the back of the 944 N. Walnut house, which was still under reconstruction at that time. Past members of Bourgeois’ family farmed this land decades ago, and his mother was a tutor there when he was young.
Westside Pioneer photo

Century-old family tie leading to revitalization of properties off Walnut/Mesa

The 944 N. Walnut St. house, which had been boarded up for years, has been rebuilt inside and out since 2016, including a broader front porch. Compare with the photo below, taken early in the reconstruction process.
Westside Pioneer photo
Oct. 29, 2018
       A family tie going back a century has led to the redevelopment that started about two years ago on late 19th-century properties off Walnut Street and Mesa Road.
       Showing the clearest evidence of improvement so far is the two-story house at 944 N. Walnut St, about a block north of Bristol Park. After being neglected for decades, it has been rebuilt in its original style, with the added touch of a broader front porch.
       The house, sitting on a 10,625-square-foot parcel, is one of four adjoining properties that were formerly owned by the Llewellyn Mesa Road Family Limited Partnership. The other properties are at 1065 Mesa Road (4.1 acres with what used to be the Llewellyns' main house), 1012 Cooper Ave. (1.68 acres with a house) and 2.66 acres off Mesa Road.
      
The 944 N. Walnut St. house is shown early in the reconstruction process that started in 2016. Compare with the photo above, taken after the recent work was completed.
Westside Pioneer photo
The owner since 2016 has been Carl Bourgeois, a Denver-based business manager who founded Civil Technology Inc. The company has worked at such locales as the Denver International Airport, Union Station and the Denver Justice Center, as well as on various revitalization projects.
       In a recent interview, Bourgeois summarized his family's connection to the Walnut/Mesa land. His grandfather, Kimbal Stroud, was trained as a schoolteacher, but as a black man in Colorado Springs in 1910, that opportunity was politically denied, the grandson explained. So with a growing family and “desperately poor,” Stroud started a hauling business, delivering coal and cleaning ashes from residential furnaces, Bourgeois related.
       Stroud bought the house at 810 N. Walnut. This was two blocks away from the large property at Walnut and Mesa, which was then an estate/farm owned by the Hagermans, a wealthy family involved in area railroads. Later, through marriage, the late Eleanor Llewellyn would inherit the property. "All of Kimbal's 11 children
Interior touches can be seen inside the renovated 944 N. Walnut St. house.
Westside Pioneer photo
worked for the Hagermans at one time or another," Bourgeois said, and this continued for many years.
       At one point, upon learning that hunger was an issue for the family, the Hagermans allowed them to use part of the land to grow food for themselves.
       The last of Bourgeois' family members to work there was his mother when he was a boy in the early 1960s and they lived in the house at 1012 Cooper. Eleanor Llewellyn owned the estate then, and for about three years employed Carl's mom, a trained educator and musician, to "work with her on books and music." In conjunction with that, Bourgeois said he and his siblings "would go over there every day."
       It was also around that time, according to past Gazette news articles, that a feud started between the Llewellyns and the city, which resulted in the family ceasing to maintain the land and buildings.
       Growing up and relocating to Denver but with nostalgic memories of his Llewellyn days, “I watched over the years as the property steadily deteriorated,” Bourgeois recalled.
       Also influencing his eventual purchase decision, was his appreciation of the site as a "beautiful piece of property," along with his recognition that the Walnut-Mesa neighbors were unhappy with what was happening to it.
       Eventually, he called one of the Llewellyn grandsons “and negotiated to do the deal,” he said.
       After the 944 project (along with some less visible cleanup work on the 4.1-acre parcel), Bourgeois said he is still mulling what to focus on next. He knew going in that he could always just “tear everything down” and build high-density housing. “But I prefer restoration,” he said, describing the over-arching goal - in concert with Clifford Taylor Architects of Colorado Springs - as “making the property better than it ever was - a pristine property that the Westside can be proud of.”
       The work at 944 N. Walnut presents “a sample of what we intend to do,” offering historic accuracy (“99 percent,” according to Bourgeois' construction foreman), as well as an interior showcasing modern technology and design.
       The house is not on the market, Bourgeois clarified.

Westside Pioneer article
(Land: Construction)

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