Jules J. B. Benedict Collection
Scope and Contents
I. Family History hand-written by J. J. B. Benedict. II. Business Papers including letters of introduction and reference, correspondence and coupons between Benedict and several lighting and manufacturing companies. Check stubs from March 1941 to May 1947 and miscellaneous other receipts. III. Scrapbooks including Denver City Hall articles and proposed designs, Benedict designs of buildings and residences, and personal holiday correspondence; all dating from 1909 to 1931. IV. Photographs of Public Buildings that Benedict designed; V. Photographs of Churches that Benedict designed; VI. Photographs of Residences that Benedict designed; VII. Photographs of Mandingo and Peiping. There appear to be a number of photographs of Japan although they are not labeled as such. VIII. Oversize Materials including original drawings of proposed buildings, trace paper sketches and paintings as well as oversize photos.
Other holdings of J.J.B. Benedict materials can be found in the Western History/Genealogy Department of the Denver Public Library, Denver, Colorado [Benedict, Jules Jacques Benois, Architectural Drawings, 1924, 3 oversize folders]. In addition, in-depth information on most of Benedicts designed residences can be found on the National Register of Historic Places, Multiple Property Documentation Form. “The Architecture of Jules Jacques Benois Benedict in Colorado, 1909-1942,” United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service.
- Creation: 1909 - 1947
Biographical / Historical
Jules Jacques Benois Benedict (J.J.B. Benedict) was born in Chicago, IL in 1879 and spent four years being educated in Paris at l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts School of Architecture. Returning to America, Benedict joined Frist and Granger, Architects in Chicago where he stayed from 1899-1902. In 1906 he began work for Carrere and Hastings, a New York City firm. In 1909 he moved to Denver and established his own firm .
On February 20, 1912, Benedict married the prominent June Louise Brown of Denver and had one daughter, Ursula B. McPhee (wife of Navy Lieutenant Robert McPhee), who lived in Aspen, and a son, Peter N. Benedict. June Louise was the daughter of Junius Flagg Brown and sister of John Sidney Brown who were both in the pioneer mercantile business that made their families millionaires. Six months after their marriage, they purchased ninety acres of ranch land in Littleton, CO – naming their estate Wyldemere Farm – and choose to live in an old farmhouse which they converted to a luxurious mansion. They landscaped with gardens, pools, statues, and terraces. Benedict was a noted gentleman farmer, specializing in raising fine hogs, registered cattle, and registered bull terriers, which he sold all over the country.
Benedict was characterized by his perfectionism and European schooling that showed up in his work with touches of Italianate and Mediterranean styles, all showcased with his extensive use of terra cotta, stone and brick. Some of his works include: The residence and gardens of George Cranmer (considered by Benedict one of his great masterpieces), Senator Lawrence Phipps’ residence, the Richard Campbell house (now the offices of the Denver Botanic Gardens), the Maytag house in Colorado Springs, mountain homes for Herman Coors and Paul T. Mayo, numerous shelters for the Denver Mountain Parks, the “Summer White House” (lightning destroyed most of the building during construction), the Cullen-Thompson Motor Company, the former Flat Iron Building, several schools in the Denver area, and the Central Savings Bank. He designed two prominent buildings in his hometown of Littleton: In 1916 he designed the Carnegie Library which has since seen many different uses and is now a restaurant. Four years later he was commissioned to design the Town Hall, and when the Littleton ran out of money, Benedict found suppliers in Denver that sold the terra cotta at cost in addition to donating the personally built cast iron exterior lamps. When completed, the town hall was described as the finest architectural example of its kind in the country2. During his career, Benedict became an authority on church architecture. His most famous and outstanding creation is the chapel at St. Thomas’ Seminary in Denver. He also designed the Divine Science Church, the Holy Ghost Catholic Church and rectory, and the St. Malo Chapel.
Benedict refused to join the A.I.A. and opposed the plan for the Denver City and County building which 39 of his colleagues supported. He was to known to have burned his designs in order to protect his intellectual property – most notably during a fight with his partner, Monroe, over the construction of the Holy Ghost Church – which could explain why several of his drawings have not been found.
The Benedicts divorced in the 1930’s; June continued to live at their ranch (it was apparently in her name), while Jacques Benedict later made his home at the Colburn Hotel in Denver. He was the president of Capitol Properties Co., member of the Denver County Club, the Wigwam Club, the Denver Art Museum, the Genessee Mountain Ski Club, the American Legion, the Isaak Walton League, and the Beaux Arts Society of New York .
J.J.B. Benedict did not retire until almost age seventy. In his last illness, he converted from Episcopalian to Catholic. He died on January 14, 1948 in Mercy Hospital.
5 linear feet
Language of Materials
J.J.B. Benedict, Denver architect who designed many of Denver’s early buildings and private homes. He proposed the Colorado Presidential Summer Home and a Denver City Hall both of which caused much controversy, but where never built. Papers contain proposed and completed drawings, sketches and pictures of Benedict buildings and homes.
This collection is arranged in original order in which we attained it from the donor, with a box level inventory list.
A23 G7; A-MC-1 10
- Processed by Joshua Senn January, 2007
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
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Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository
1720 Pleasant Street
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States