Fort Collins Historical Landmark, Constructed in 1904 by Sanford & Annie Darrah 970.472.0354

History of the Darrah House

Meet Sanford & Annie Darrah

Two Socialites; One Home, One Moustache

In 1885, The Fort Collins Courier announced the arrival of Judge McAnelly’s bright and upcoming cousin, Sanford Darrah. Having just graduated from Perdue University in Greencastle, IN, Sanford was to study law in the judge’s office. After leaving the desk in Judge McAnelly’s office he “to wield the ferule in district No. 8, at the mouth of Buckhorn.” “Mr. Sanford Darrah, the popular pedagogue of Buckhorn, visited this city Saturday.” (Fort Collins Courier, April 22, 1886). BFF Henry Lariviere and Sanford spent a nice chunk of 1897 “stuffing their waistcoats with trout” in the north fork of the Poudre.

On August 11, 1892, Sanford married Miss Anna Reiley, daughter of Dr. W. F. Reiley of Sardinia, Indiana. Little did he know his mother in law, Mrs. Sarah E. Reiley, would permanently move in four years later after Annie returned home from St. Luke’s hospital in Denver. (Fort Collins Courier, September 3, 1896)

Annie Darrah, Vice-President of the Columbian Club and founding member in 1893, spent a ton of time in the company of the ladies in the club. Based on research, their motto was “We build the ladder by which we rise”


Annie Darrah

Annie Darrah

Annie Hood Reiley Darrah ongoing investigation an original fort collins socialite When Anna "Annie" Reiley was born on December 12, 1859, her father, Dr. William Franklin Reiley, was 31, and her mother, Sarah, was 28.Her sister Emily was born in April 1868 in...

Sanford Ferguson Darrah

Sanford Ferguson Darrah

Sanford Ferguson Darrah ongoing investigation the man, the myth, the moustache Born to Susanna Roller & John Darrah in the late summer of 1859, Sanford Ferguson Darrah popped out an ambitious man. From what we've found, he was a descendant of a line of hard men....

We're Still Researching

If the history surrounding this historical Fort Collins landmark interests you as much as is does us, and you run into anything interesting, send it over! We’d love to look into it, and you could hold the key to a new branch in this most interesting and scandalous socialite couple. We continue the brave task of working in this probably haunted house, and constantly look for reasons to post about Sanford’s moustaches and the hot gos surrounding his life.

The 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago had awakened many Americans to the rediscovery of classical architecture and spread the City Beautiful movement. At the fair, architect and planner Daniel H. Burnham had presented a concept for dealing with the chaotic growth many cities were facing. Burnham instructed city planners to “make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not be realized.” The City Beautiful concept which Burnham advanced was one in which neoclassical public buildings inspired by the French Ecole des Beaux Arts were displayed in a landscape which emphasized order and proportion, with wide streets and orderly parks and vistas carefully situated to provide a feeling of stability and peace. The buildings which resulted were to be grand in scale and of a design and substance to withstand the ages. The City Beautiful was the most influential architectural theme during the early twentieth century, and its impact was clearly felt in Fort Collins. The prosperity of the early twentieth century was reflected in the impressive homes erected by many of the city’s prominent citizens along South College Avenue of the original townsite. Here members of the city’s power elite built houses designed in the popular architectural styles of the day. Among those who displayed their wealth with new homes during the period were attorney Sanford Darrah; Franklin Corbin, head of the Corbin-Black-Wilson Lumber Company and the Hawthorne-Corbin Motor Company; Charles and Mary Lowell, owners of the Lowell-Moore Hardware Company; and Charles R. Evans, manager of J.C. Evans & Son and a founder of the YMCA. South College Avenue continued to be a prestigious address into the 1920s, when new subdivision platting took advantage frontages along the street. Builders Garrison & Halpin erected a two-story frame house for lawyer Sanford Darrah at 612 South College in 1905 (See Figure 46). The house was Colonial Revival in style as reflected in its symmetrical appearance, clapboard siding, low hipped roof, and prominent central entrance. The house displayed a high level of craftsmanship in its slightly projecting entrance surround with fluted classical columns supporting a full entablature topped by a pediment-shaped crown. Flanking the entrance were triple windows with narrow four-over-four lights flanking divided light windows with transoms with decorative glass. Two-story bay windows ornamented the northern and southern elevations. The impressive residence soon became a fraternity house. Some of the Greek letter societies purchased large, formerly single family, homes and remodeled them to suit their purposes. Examples of this phenomenon are the Darrah house (612 South College) which became the Epsilon fraternity house by 1908;    

RIP Sarah Reiley

According to the Indiana Tribune, Sarah was the twin of Thomas Hord. His obituary reads “Thomas Hord, one of the best known citizens of Fugit township, died, yesterday after an illness of but a few hours. He and the wife of former State Senator Dr. W. F. Reiley of Sardinia, were twins and both died at the age of 70, she having died at Fort Collins, Col. in February.” Where does that put her? We aren’t sure which room, but Sarah Reiley died in the Darrah House. Most likely from the “la grippe” the newspapers reported she had contracted, followed by a trip to the Boulder Sanitorium.  


You know you want to

If you like thrills, haunts, loose ties to history, and large jumps to assumptions, we have great news for you: now you can get them delivered randomly to your spam inbox. They’ll be from thehotgos… because that is what we are dedicated to.

Rich in History & Haunts

What can we say? We live a haunted life. The Darrah House is by far the most fun workplace that we've had the privilege of working in. While we strongly encourage you to never believe the things you read online, we can't help but encourage you to make your own conclusions about the skoopy stories you'll find here.

You really never know...

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