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#9Neighborhoods: Montclair and Mayfair, hidden historic gems near downtown Denver

Grand brick homes, tree-lined avenues, and eccentric local businesses keep history alive in two of Denver's oldest neighborhoods: Mayfair and Montclair.

<p>Richthofen Castle in Montclair</p>

Grand brick homes, tree-lined avenues, and eccentric local businesses keep history alive in two of Denver's oldest neighborhoods: Mayfair and Montclair.

Montclair was originally designed as a wealthy suburb, with homes required to be at least three stories high and grand plans for museums, health spas and casinos.

Mayfair is Montclair's sister neighborhood.

Although not officially designated by the City of Denver, the community is a strong organization of homeowners and local businesses in the area straddling Montclair and Hale.

Together, Montclair and Mayfair stretch from East Colfax down to 6th Ave and from S. Quebec west to Eudora Street.

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Montclair and Mayfair's Beginnings

Montclair is the brainchild of Baron Walter von Richthofen, a Prussian aristocrat and the uncle of famed WWI German pilot "Red Baron" Manfred von Richthofen. Richthofen wanted an "utopian community" built on what were at the time empty fields east of Denver.

He started in 1887 with building what is now known as the community's centerpiece, the 14,938-square-foot limestone Richthofen Castle, located at 7020 E. 12th Ave. The community was incorporated in 1888, with plans to feature bigger home and lush parkways.

But Richthofen's dream was never to be. It collided with the economic downturn of 1883 and its development was slowed dramatically. In 1903, it became part of Denver instead.

Richthofen's castle went on the market in 1999; 14 years later, it sold in June 2013 for $3.94 million.

The community is also home to the Molkery, now called the Montclair Civic Building, a huge, eye-captivating building with wide wrap-around porches that's now used for special events and meetings.

Both the Richthhofen Castle and the Molkery Building have been restored.

Mayfair partially overlaps Montclair and was formed as its own community much later.

In 2014, the Colfax-Mayfair Business Improvement District formed following a big push by Mayfair Neighbors, a local organization with the goal to stimulate business in the area.

The District now works closely with the City of Denver to implement economic development, public improvements and safety and advocacy efforts.

It's also continually working to revitalize the neighborhood and draw in small business to accommodate the community, which is increasingly becoming attractive to young families.

Living in Montclair/Mayfair today

Residents boast a quiet, historic neighborhood with a good mix of residential streets and businesses.

They have a rich mix of diverse architectural styles, from Tudor, to foursquare, to Queen Anne, to ranch, to cottages and more.

Listed homes run anywhere from just under $500,000 to more than $1.2 million.

Montclair is also home to the oldest home association in Denver. The Historic Montclair Community Association Inc. is 109 years old.

Residents don't have to travel far for their daily necessities.

There's also a few small businesses and a 7-11 located at Montclair Plaza at 719-745 Quebec St. That plaza was sold to Jeff Hermanson, owner of downtown Denver's Larimer Square retail district in 2011. There's also a neighborhood King Soopers and Safeway near the intersection of East 14th Avenue and Krameria Street.

The neighborhoods are home to Rosemark at Mayfair Park, an assisted living facility that opened late 2015. CLA, a consulting and management services company, is the operating partner of Rosemark.

Although the neighborhoods are self-contained and feel secluded, they are also convenient. People living in Montclair and Mayfair can head to nearby Stapleton, Cherry Creek and the East Colfax corridor for more extensive shopping.

Notable Parks: Mayfair Park; Montclair Park; Kittredge Park; Denison Park

Schools: Montclair School of Academics & Enrichments; St. James School; Montclair Elementary; International School of Denver