Located at 750 Lafayette Street in Denver’s East Seventh Avenue Historic District, the Doud House was built in 1905 and occupied by the Doud family from 1906 to 1960. It is significant for its association with Dwight and Mamie Doud Eisenhower, who were married in the house in 1916 and visited frequently over the next four decades. In 2005 the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Doud family was originally based in Boone, Iowa, where John Doud made a small fortune as the owner of a meatpacking business. Mamie Doud, the second of the family’s four daughters, was born in Boone in 1896. In the early twentieth century, the family moved because John’s wife Elvira disliked the Iowa climate. John Doud partially retired and the family moved to Colorado, first to Pueblo, then to Colorado Springs, and finally to Denver in 1905.
When the Douds arrived in Denver, they rented a house at 101 Logan Street. Within a year, they bought a new house at 750 Lafayette Street, which was in a stylish neighborhood then taking shape southeast of downtown. The house had been completed in summer 1905. Based on plans by the architect Edwin H. Moorman, it was a two-story Denver square with an exterior of taupe-colored brick. The house had a matching carriage house at the rear of the lot, which the Douds used as a garage for their automobiles starting in 1907.
In 1915 Mamie Doud met the young army officer Dwight Eisenhower, then a recent West Point graduate, while the Doud family was spending the winter in San Antonio and Eisenhower was stationed at nearby Fort Sam Houston. The couple became engaged in early 1916 and were married on July 1, 1916, in a ceremony held in the Doud House’s first-floor music room.
As an army couple, the Eisenhowers spent much of the next three decades at different bases around the country and around the world. Throughout those years, they considered the Doud House their home base. Dwight Eisenhower became close friends with his in-laws, and his younger son, John, was born at the house in 1922 and named after John Doud.
Despite Dwight Eisenhower’s growing fame after World War II, the Eisenhowers continued to stay at the Doud House every time they came to Denver. It became perhaps the best-known address in the city, often featured in local and national stories as Eisenhower served as the army’s chief of staff, president of Columbia University, and the first commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The only time the Eisenhowers came to Denver and did not stay in the Doud House was in 1952, when they stayed at Eisenhower’s presidential campaign headquarters at the Brown Palace Hotel.
After Eisenhower’s victory in the 1952 election, the Doud House became known as the “Summer White House.” President Eisenhower spent several weeks in Denver during the summers of 1953, 1954, and 1955. The house became such a sightseeing attraction that Secret Service agents stayed in the carriage house’s north room and guarded the house around the clock. While staying at the house in September 1955, Eisenhower suffered a heart attack. After recovering for two months at Fitzsimons General Hospital, he resumed his duties as president. He continued to visit Denver during the rest of his administration, but his visits were shorter and less active.
John Doud died in 1951, and Elvira Doud died in September 1960. In July 1961, Mamie Eisenhower sold the family house to a real estate investor from Fort Collins who planned to use it as a base for business trips to Denver. In 1962 the Daughters of the American Revolution placed a bronze plaque near the house’s front steps to commemorate its significance. As late as the 1990s, neighbors on Lafayette Street still remembered the Eisenhowers from their frequent visits to the house. In the early 2000s, David and Nancy Osburn bought the Doud House and restored the interior to its original appearance.