Melanie Shellenberger

A new book just published by College of Architecture and Planning (CAP) Senior Instructor Melanie Shellenbarger (PhD 2008) evolved from her dissertation. Shellenbarger wrote High Country Summers: The Early Second Homes of Colorado, 1880–1940 based on her efforts in the CAP PhD program in Design and Planning.

The book considers the emergence of the “summer home” in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains as both an architectural and a cultural phenomenon.

High Country Summers: The Early Second Homes of Colorado, 1880–1940Publisher University of Arizona Press said of the book. “It offers a welcome new perspective on an often-overlooked dwelling and lifestyle. Melanie Shellenbarger shows that Colorado’s early summer homes were not only enjoyed by the privileged and wealthy but crossed boundaries of class, race, and gender. They offered their inhabitants recreational and leisure experiences as well as opportunities for individual re-invention—and they helped shape both the cultural landscapes of the American West and our ideas about it.”

Shellenbarger focuses on four areas along the Front Range: Rocky Mountain National Park and its easterly gateway town, Estes Park; “recreation residences” in lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service; Lincoln Hills, one of only a few African-American summer home resorts in the United States; and the foothills west of Denver that drew Front Range urbanites, including Denver’s social elite.

From cottages to manor houses, the summer dwellings Shellenbarger examines were home to governors and government clerks; extended families and single women; business magnates and ministers; African-American building contractors and innkeepers; shop owners and tradespeople. By returning annually, Shellenbarger shows, “they created communities characterized by distinctive forms of kinship.”

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