What’s the Story with that Stone House on Overland Trail?
You may have passed by the old stone house on the northwest corner of Prospect and Overland Trail and wondered why it's now boarded up. Or, why's there no driveway?
Known as the Paul Maxwell Rock House, this home tucked in the trees at 1433 South Overland Trail is very significant to Fort Collins' history.
Built in the late 1930s, the house house originally belonged to one of the founding families of Fort Collins. The granddaughter of the home's initial owner, Linda Devers Iannuzzi, described the construction process of the home and what a labor of love it was in an article on NorthernColoradoHistory.com.
According to Iannuzzi, Paul Maxwell and his two sons, ages 14 and 16, spent the summer of 1938 hauling heavy moss rocks down from the foothills to their 160-acre farm on Maxwell Road (now Overland Trail Road).
The following summer, they laid the actual foundation and construction began on the home. Maxwell's two teenage sons hand-mixed the concrete while Paul laid the rocks.
Work on the dwelling continued into 1940, but because that year was so busy for the Maxwell family for a variety of different reasons, they did not move in until January of 1941.
When the family of six eventually did move in, the living situation was anything but glamorous. The 1100 sq. ft. home stone home consisted of a kitchen, dining room, living room and three bedrooms on the ground floor, as well a bedroom on the second floor, where the boys slept. According to Iannuzzi, since the house was uninsulated and got very cold, the interior walls were coated with building paper and tar to help keep it warm.
After several years of living in the home, some changes to the architecture were made. This included converting one of the bedrooms into an indoor bathroom so that the separate outhouse no longer needed to be used. The walls were also plastered for better insulation.
Nowadays, the home sits vacant and serves only as a reminder of the past. The stone garage was eventually torn down, but a piece was used as the entry marker for the Ponds at Overland neighborhood.
The driveway was also removed, so the only way to access the historical home now is by one of the walking paths that loop around it.
CSU students completed an award-winning home survey of the Maxwell Rock House in 2005. Their service-learning project documented the significance of the home as the only one of its kind in Fort Collins, as well as its symbolism to an important era in the city's history.
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