Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

February 1994


Published in Great Plains Research 4:1 (February 1994). Copyright © 1994 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Prospective readers of this book would be wrong to assume from the title that they will be exposed to a contemporary version of late nineteenth century hometown boosterism. The high degree of parochialism commonly encountered in studies focusing upon regional architects and their work is refreshingly subdued in this well written and handsomely illustrated book. The preface provides a revealing summary of the nearly twenty-year history of the endeavor and identifies the sources of substantial scholarly input from an unusually well-qualified cadre of contributors. One of these, Kenneth Fuller, architect and son of Robert Roeschlaub's successor, Robert Fuller, was the original author of the manuscript. It was he who initially recognized the significance of the wealth of primary resource material on the life and work of Roeschlaub which he had inherited from the firm. The current book is the collaboration of Fuller, David Wetzel, research historian with the Colorado Historical Society, and Francine Haber, architectural historian. The book consists of two substantial essays. The first, written by David Wetzel, is a biography of Robert Roeschlaub. This thoroughly documented account of Roeschlaub's background and professional life in Denver is noteworthy for its objectivity and breadth of scope. Wetzel examines the evolution of Roeschlaub's design philosophy and work in convincing detail. He is particularly adept at balancing his observations and interpretations of Roeschlaub's career within both local and national contexts. Not only does the reader gain valuable knowledge and appreciation of Roeschlaub's relationship to Denver's changing "architectural climate" from 1873 to the eve of World War I but also a good sense of how Roeschlaub's professional contributions fit into the broader history of architecture in the United States.