1303 Hover Road
Landmark Designation: 1994 (east portion) ; 1996 (west portion)
National Register: 1999
Construction Date: 1893
Architectural Style: Farmstead
The Hover Farm is historically important as a reminder of Longmont's rapidly
disappearing agricultural heritage. It's very location, now surrounded by
residential development, is a powerful visual symbol of how much the community
has change din the second half of the twentieth century.
The farm's historic importance is enhanced because of its association with
Charles Lewis Hover, community leader and agricultural pacesetter. The land
was owned by a succession of early St. Vrain Valley settlers, including George
Beckwith whose family was involved in many ventures in the settlement
of Burlington. Many of these settlers owned the land for only a year or two,
and there is no record of any house being built on the property before the
present one. From 1875 until 1902 the land was part of a 1500 acre parcel
listed as the Marshall Farm and the owner is recorded as Mary Marshall. The
farm house was constructed in 1893 during the Marshall ownership. The farm
was sold briefly to Joseph H. Williamson, who in turn sold it to Charles
L. Hover in 1902 together with 15 shares of the Longmont Supply Ditch
and all other water rights belonging to the land.
Hover studied pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin and then joined
his brother in the wholesale drug business in Denver where he met and married
Katherine Avery. In 1902, tired of the stresses of business and shaken by
an explosion at the Hover Drug Company, Charles purchase a 160 acre parcel
of land on a dusty country lane west of Longmont and retired to the quiet
life a gentleman farmer.
Charles and Katherine lived briefly in the original farmhouse, but soon moved
to a cottage they built in the orchard to the north. The farm he had purchased
was not regarded as particularly productive, and Charles set about immediately
to improve it using what he called a "scientific method". Hover's
innovations included a specially designed drainage system to improve the alkaline
soil and sheep feeding to replenish the nutrients. Hover add the latest in
farm machinery and this period (1902-1912) is presumably when the present
farm buildings were constructed.
In 1907 Charles and Katherine Hover adopted nine-year-old Beatrice, who lived
until her death in 1993 on what was then her father's farm and would later
become the Hover Village Retirement Community. In 1913-1914, Hover tuned his
attention to the construction of the family's new brick Tudor residence which
the family called
Hoverhome In ensuing years, Hover left much of the daily operation of
the farm to his tenant, but remained interested in new farming techniques.
At one point he planted a large grove of catalpa trees to illustrate to area
farmers what good fence posts the straight, sturdy trees would make. Hover
was active in local and state farm organizations.
Charles Hover is a prime example of the partnership between agriculture and
industry that was the cornerstone of Longmont's economy. In 1920 he and four
local investors purchased the Empson
Canning Factory from J.H. Empson and Hover served as president and general
manager of the cannery until it merged with the Kuner Pickle Company in 1927.
In 1994 this parcel was purchased by the St.
Vrain Historical Society and is used as an event center and hosts a variety
of functions from wedding ceremonies to corporate events.