Sigma Pi Fraternity House - 2047 8TH AV

 Print Listing Historical Name - Job H. Downer House (ca. 1920)
Style - Late 19th and 20th Century Revivals/Colonial Revival/Dutch Colonial Revival
Built Year - 1900
State ID - 5Wl4359

Description - This mansion at 2047 8th Avenue is situated on the northwest corner of 8th Avenue and 21st Street. The dwelling is set back approximately 54 feet from 8th Avenue. A planted grass yard with mature landscaping surrounds the structure, and a wood privacy fence encloses a portion of the property north of the house. A two-car garage is located northwest of the house. Oriented to the east, the house rests on a concrete foundation veneered in dark-green-colored, glazed brick, and hosting one-light, hopper basement windows. The foundation beneath the portico is sandstone. White-painted aluminum siding clads the exterior walls, and a thick growth of ivy obscures the southeast corner of the house. Windows are generally one-over-one-light, double-hung sash, with white-painted wood frames and surrounds. On either end of the front-gambreled portion of the south elevation are two, oval-shaped, stained-glass windows. A segmental arch window is located between the first and second floors on the north elevation, corresponding to a landing on the main stairway inside. In the upper portion of the south- and north-facing gambrel ends is a tripartite window opening; it hosts a pair of awning windows flanking a fixed frame. Dominating the nearly symmetrical front (east) fa├žade is a full-height portico, supported by three, fluted, Ionic columns, constructed of wood. The columns rest on pedestals of black-painted, glazed brick. The portico is accessed on the north side of its front (east) elevation by six concrete steps. Surrounded by a decorative, wrought-iron railing, a balcony from the second story is suspended within the portico. The pediment of the portico features a heavy, protruding cornice, with cornice returns. Dentil molding emerges beneath the cornice. In the center of the pediment are the Greek letters sigma and pi, formed in channeled and illuminated with neon tube lighting. The south elevation consists of a canted lower floor beneath a cantilevered second floor. East of the canted bay is an engaged chimney with a prominent hearth. It is constructed of dark-green-colored, glazed brick. West of the canted bay opens a white-painted, six-panel metal door, approached by a five-step concrete stoop with a simple wood railing. Between the second full story and third half story of the south-facing gambrel are the Greek letters sigma and pi, painted purple. A one-light, cream-painted, wood slab door opens east of center on the north elevation. The rear (west) elevation hosts a fire escape with metal steps and wood landings. Gray asphalt shingles cover the cross-gambreled roof, and the eaves are boxed with white-painted sheet metal and, in some places, plywood. A dark green-colored, glazed brick chimney emerges from the west end of the roof.

Historical Background - In July 1887, James M. Freeman platted Arlington Heights. The area was also known as Freeman's Subdivision and consisted of a large area extending south from downtown Greeley. Local tax assessor records indicate that the current house was built in 1900. Job H. Downer purchased the house sometime before 1923, when he sold it to Jennie Bickel. G.H. Beard purchased the property and then sold it to Nancy Russell in 1927. Property ownership transferred to Bertha A. Pettigrew just one year later. Several individuals resided at this address between 1935 and 1942 including Otto E. Poland, Marion B. Rosenbaum, Orville E. Frakes, Anna Woodman, and O.S. Beckenhauer. James Housel lived at this address from 1944 and 1952. Housel was born October 3, 1899, in Buffalo, New York. He served in the United States Marine Corps during World War I. He moved to Greeley in 1922 and married Thelma Maxine Coleman on April 17, 1924, in Fort Collins. They had two daughters, Beverly and Rita, and two sons, Edgar and Frank. Throughout his life, Housel operated several businesses in Greeley, including a bicycle shop, furniture store, and Pansy Auto Supply. He also worked as an agent for the Internal Revenue Service. Thelma died on May 19, 1980. Her husband died on February 6, 1988. At different times between 1954 and 1965, Arthur Handy Jr., R.W. Mackey, and E. H. Stolte resided at this address. The Tau Kappa Epsilon Greek organization at Colorado State College (now the University of Northern Colorado) occupied the house between 1962 and 1982. The Sigma Pi Fraternity at the University of Northern Colorado currently occupies the house.