The Romano Residence is a one-story Craftsman-style bungalow on South Golden Road in the Pleasant View neighborhood southeast of Golden (16300 S Golden Rd, Golden, CO 80401). Built in 1927, the cobblestone house has been in the Romano family since 1929 and remains largely in its original condition. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.
Early Pleasant View
In the years after the Colorado Gold Rush of 1858–59, George Pullman and several other partners owned the area between South Table Mountain and Green Mountain and operated a ranch and way station there. In 1864 Pullman sold his land and returned to Chicago, where he developed the plush railroad sleeping car for which he became famous. In the late 1880s, Pullman’s old ranch started to be subdivided into smaller residential and commercial lots, and in 1891 the Denver, Lakewood & Golden Railway built a line through the area.
In the early 1900s, the Colorado National Guard established the State Rifle Range (now Camp George West) along South Golden Road. At the National Guard facility, Capt. Albert Bryan designed the Craftsman-style Officers’ Clubhouse (1911), which used cobblestones instead of the usual bricks or wood for its exterior walls. Cobblestones were not commonly used for the exterior of Craftsman-style buildings, but they had the advantage of being a cheap and plentiful building material that provided fireproof walls and low maintenance costs. In addition, their rustic look enhanced the Craftsman emphasis on handcrafted construction and harmony with nature. The Officers’ Clubhouse and Bryan’s 1913 Colorado National Guard Armory in Golden—which used cobblestone construction but not in the Craftsman style—may have spurred other builders in the area to use cobblestones.
Bryan’s cobblestone buildings almost certainly influenced Capt. Leopold Rundstein Sr., a German immigrant who joined the National Guard and was stationed at Camp George West. In October 1924, Rundstein acquired some land about one-half mile west of Camp George West and started to build a one-story cobblestone house in the Craftsman style, like the Officers’ Clubhouse. The next year, while his house was still in progress, Rundstein reassembled logs from the dismantled Boston Company Store—Golden’s first building—on the east side of his property. He opened the Old Homestead Restaurant there and leased the restaurant to someone else to manage.
Rundstein’s cobblestone bungalow was completed in early 1927. The rectangular house faced north toward South Golden Road, with a front-gabled roof projecting over a partial wraparound front porch. Inside, the front door opened onto the living room, which featured a brick fireplace surrounded by built-in wood shelves and cabinets. Farther south, along the east side of the house, were the dining room and kitchen. The west side of the house had a row of three bedrooms from front to back, with a bathroom between the middle and rear bedrooms. The woodwork, trim, and cabinetry all reflected the Craftsman aesthetic. The property also had a cobblestone entrance gate off South Golden Road, which framed a driveway leading to a detached garage behind the house.
It is unclear whether Rundstein and his wife ever lived in the Pleasant View house; if they did, it was for a month or two at the most. In February 1927, they sold the property to Emery and Mary Barlock and moved to Denver just before their first child was born. Emery owned a store in Golden, and he started a small mink ranch on the Pleasant View property to sell the furs for additional income.
Romano Family Home
On February 7, 1929, the Barlocks moved to West Denver and sold the Pleasant View house to Samuel and Albina Romano. Samuel was born in Castelpizzuto, Italy, before immigrating to the United States in 1908. He moved to Colorado, married Albina, and ran a grocery store in North Denver. The Romanos bought the Pleasant View property in 1929 for its mink ranch, which they switched to a silver fox ranch. After about five years of raising silver foxes, they switched back to mink, which they continued to raise until the mid-1960s. Known as La Romana, the mink ranch covered eighteen acres south of the house. The animals roamed freely most of the time, with Samuel watching them from a tower he added to the garage in 1930.
In addition to raising mink, the Romanos operated several other businesses on their property. The family built the most important, the Golden Market, just west of the house soon after they bought the property. The one-story brick building still stands on South Golden Road. Samuel also ran a lodge called the Fox Trot Inn, which no longer exists, and owned the Old Homestead Restaurant just east of the house, which remained open until the building was destroyed by fire in 1942.
The Romanos maintained their heritage as part of a small Italian community in Golden. Samuel, Albina, and their four children belonged to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Golden, to which Samuel donated a life-size statue of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini that he imported from Italy. The family also grew grapes on the east side of the house, which Samuel used to make wine in the basement.
In the second half of the twentieth century, Pleasant View became part of the sprawling Denver metropolis. The land around the Romano Residence slowly filled in with development, especially after the Romanos closed their mink ranch and started selling that property in the late 1960s. In the 1970s, commercial buildings were constructed just east of the residence and north across South Golden Road. In the 1980s, two large apartment buildings went up on the former mink ranch south of the residence.
Samuel and Albina Romano lived at the Romano Residence throughout their lives, and it is now owned by their grandson Sabino and his wife, Linda. The house remains largely unaltered, complete with the original flooring, fixtures, stove and oven, and Craftsman-style cabinetry. Today it sits on about an acre of land and is one of the few single-family houses left along South Golden Road.