It is not practical to talk about the most celebrated architects of Colorado and not mention Jules Jacques Benedict. Jacques was also a poet and a farmer, but his architectural role is what stood out. His impact on architecture in Denver, Colorado is felt and celebrated until today. Born as an American, Jacques Benedict lived in Littleton, where he began exploring architectural work.
Jules Jacques’ Initial Life
He would later move to Paris in 1899 to advance his knowledge of designing buildings at Ecole de Beaux-Arts School. After his studies, he came back to America and worked with several architectural firms before starting his own. He first joined Chicago’s Frost and Granger Architects and later worked for Carrere & Hastings in New York.
In 1909, Jacques moved back to Denver to establish his architectural firm. This marked the beginning of some of his greatest building works. He extended his architectural skills to his Littleton farmhouse that he and his wife, June Louise, had bought.
Jules Jacques transformed the old farmhouse into a thriving mansion that was surrounded by pools, gardens, and statues. His projects revolved around homes, commercial premises, parks, institutions, and public buildings. He also worked on several religious buildings.
Prominent Projects by Jules Jacques Benedict
Benedict practiced architecture between the year 1909 and up to 1942. Countless projects stood out among the many that he was in charge of. In 1916, he was contracted to design the Carnegie Library and later worked on the Woodbury Branch Library. His profession quickly picked up, leading him to be entrusted with the construction of Littleton Townhall.
Some of his outstanding domestic projects include
- Cranmer House and Belmar Weckbaugh mansion, which have since been demolished.
- Religious buildings like St. Catherine Chapel, St. Thomas Theological Seminary, and the Church of Divine Science.
- Park projects, such as Chief Hosa Lodge, Echo Lake Lodge, and Summit Lake Shelter.
- Commercial buildings, including the demolished Central Bank Building and Gullen-Thompson Motor Co.
Benedict would have loved most of his architectural propositions to come to life, but some of them never made it to the execution phase. One such proposition was the Colorado presidential summer home. His proposal to construct Denver City Hall also never materialized. Some of his works have been demolished over the years, while others have been remodeled to serve different purposes, like the case of Carnegie Library, which is now a restaurant.
Extensively, Benedict’s projects involved the use of terracotta, bricks, and stones. Arches also dominated most of his buildings. As a perfectionist, it was difficult to work with him on most of his projects as he liked doing things his way.
Jacques always inspected his projects while carrying a cane, which he used to strike his poorly done work. When irritable, he would go to the extent of burning some of his prototype drawings, which explains why they have never been found.
His dedication towards realizing his projects would sometimes compel him to raise additional funds to facilitate their completion. For instance, when building the Woodbury Library, Benedict had to raise an extra $4,000. This was after he realized the initial budget of $14,000 could not complete the building the way he desired. Jules Jacques Benedict worked until an advanced age, retiring from his profession when he was almost hitting 70 years old. He died in 1948 at Mercy Hospital.
Read More About Jules Jacques Benedict’s Vast Architecture History
There is so much more to learn about this great architect and the extensive projects he oversaw. Get familiar with Jules Jacques Benedict, one of the most prominent and celebrated architects in Colorado.