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Callahan House
312 Terry Street
Longmont, CO 80501

Kathy Korpela

Click to Visit Longmont Area Visitors Association


History of the Callahan House

T.M. Callahan was born in Chillicothe, Illinois in 1857. Although trained as a teacher, in his early years he was an itinerate photographer. In his travels he spent time in Humansville, Missouri where he fell in love with the banker's daughter, Alice. He married Alice Barnett in 1886. Together they moved West to Longmont in 1889 and opened a small dry goods store on Main Street called "The Golden Rule". Their only child, Raymond, was born in Longmont in 1894.

As his business prospered, with Alice by his side, he expanded into general merchandise, and he began training his clerks in management. With his staff of well-trained clerks as managers, he opened the "Golden Rule" stores throughout the Rocky Mountain states and Pacific Coast states.Boulder & Longmont Wedding & Event Venues at Callahan House & Garden in Longmont CO - Stairwell photo

One of Mr. Callahan's employees went on to national fame. J.C. Penney took a job with Callahan after his butcher shop failed. Penney worked with Callahan from 1899 to 1907. He opened his first store in partnership with Mr. Callahan in Kemmerer, Wyoming. This would later become one of his chain stores. The first store under the J.C. Penney name was in Longmont, Colorado

The Callahan House was built in 1892 by James Wiggins for J.K. Sweeny. The two-story red brick structure, detailed with Lyons sandstone corners and sills, had four rooms on each floor and a full basement.

T.M. Callahan purchased the house in 1896. As part of the purchase price, Callahan, an investor in a lumber mill, shipped seventeen train carloads of white pine lumber from Birch Tree, Missouri to Pueblo, Colorado. Sweeny used the material in the construction of a flourmill.

After buying the home from Sweeny, a number of modernizations were made by contractors E.G. Cauble and Frank Wiggins, including a hot water system, central heating system, electricity and indoor plumbing, along with new paint or wallpaper throughout the house.

In 1906 another phase of rehabilitation began with a two-story addition to the east side of the house, which doubled the size of the home. The bathrooms and kitchen were tiled with ornate and patterned tiles in the floor and on the walls. The original kitchen became the formal dining room and a new kitchen with butler's pantry was part of the addition. In the southeast corner of the first floor was an office for T.M. Callahan with a private outside door for his business associates to enter.

The final phase of the transformation was carried out by interior designers from Chicago. Ceiling plaster, floral and fruit wall paintings, ornate carved woodwork and parquet inlaid designs in the floors and hallways were among these design additions.

Features of the Callahan House

Boulder & Longmont Wedding & Event Venues at Callahan House & Garden in Longmont CO - Garden Statue Photo

In 1906, Alice Callahan purchased the lot to the south from the widow of Dr. Jones and had the small house removed to create a formal Italianate garden. The garden plan was designed by a Chicago firm and a Boulder landscape gardener implemented the plan. The garden features an electric lighted fountain with Pan featured in the masonry. The four statues are of Baccus and Artemis and the garden lot and home has wrought iron fencing with three gates. Alice also purchased a 30 foot strip of land from the Flanders lot to the north of the house. It was, at that time, the largest private yard in the city limits. Over the years the city has been granted historical monies for fountain and iron work restoration. Today the Callahan House garden is the only city garden in Longmont with a fountain. The grounds are still maintained by the City of Longmont's Parks Department.

In April of 1902 the Callahans purchased the first automobile in Longmont. In December of the same year the Callahans built an "automobile house." Built into the garage floor was a turntable. This allowed the driver to leave the building without putting the car in reverse. Since T.M. Callahan did not drive, his chauffeur was provided a second floor apartment in the "automobile house".

In the summer of 1904 workmen began work on the wrap-around veranda along the west and south sides of the house. The special concrete work gave the porch a very distinctive Victorian appearance. In some of the earlier photographs, sun shade awnings were located at every window.

The house and garden were presented to the City of Longmont in 1938 by the Callahan family. It was intended to be used as a meeting place and social center for the women of the Longmont community.

To preserve, maintain and promote the Historic Callahan House for the use and enjoyment of the Longmont community...creating memories and providing a legacy for the future.