William Byers, who was the founder of the Rocky Mountain News, built the house in 1883. The Rocky Mountain News is still in print today. The house was sold to William Gray Evans in 1889. William Gray Evans was president of the Denver Tramway and son of Governor John Evans, who was Colorado’s influential second territory governor. The governor and William Byers worked on ventures that included founding the Colorado Seminary, which is now the University of Denver. Members of the Byers and Evans family were the most prominent and visionary residents of Denver.
Over the years, the Italianate house had many additions made to it over the years. In 1982, the house and all its contents were donated to the Colorado Historical Society. The house has been restored to a 1912-1920 period. It includes nearly all the original furniture, china, glassware, and other household items of the Evan’s family during that period. The museum is trying to convey home, family and the importance of the Evan’s and Beyer’s families to the progress and developmental of Denver.
The actual restoration took place between 1988-1989. The Byers-Evans House Museum opened in 1990. The construction and renovation work consisted of putting on a new roof, designing appropriate window treatments, reupholstering furnishings with the appropriate fabric of that time, and replicating original wallpaper. They have the actual place settings from Governor Evan’s wife, which are gold, black and white Havilland China and has her name and date, 1888, in gold on the back.
The kitchen was updated at one point with modern appliances but the family had saved their original stove and tall wooden icebox. This tall wooden icebox used 25-50 pounds of ice, which was delivered daily. William Gray Evan’s sister Anne helped to restore the Central City Opera House, and save what had become a dying ghost town. This adds to the attraction of The Byers-Evans House Museum.
Instead of taking the tour and peering into roped off rooms, you actually get to walk through the rooms and see things up close. You get to view the two parlors, the kitchen, and the upstairs bedrooms. There is a lot to see on the tour and you should plan at least an hour or more for the tour.
The Byers-Evans House Museum is located behind the Denver Art Museum in downtown Denver. There are tours given Tuesday through Sunday. In the Byers-Evans House Gallery, they offer rotating exhibits. History Colorado is the administrator of the museum.