The Pioneer Monument, Subcribers #27 and #28

Pioneer Monument Subscribers #27 & #28

Continuing the list of subscribers on the Pioneer Fountain, we have John K. Mullen and Thomas M. Patterson.  Both these famous Denverites has mansions on Capitol Hill and Quality Hill.

John Kernan Mullen was born in Ireland in 1847.  His family arrived in the U.S. in 1856.  Mullen, when living in New York ran the Oriskany Flour Mill becoming in charge of the mill before he was 20 years old.  He made it to Denver in 1871.  By 1875 he leased the Star Mill, took over the Iron Clad Mill, the Sigler Mill and the Excelsior Mill.  He took over the Hungarian Mill which purchased from John W. Smith or Smith Ditch fame in 1892.  In 1885 he began the Colorado Milling and Elevator Company (CM&E).  He also was involved in the land and cattle business and the First National Bank of Denver.

High altitude flour, in which the Hungarian mill specialized is flour made from the harder wheat, grown at high altitude.  To process this grain the grist mill process of milling is substituted with the rolling mill method of milling.  The rolling mill method mills the harder grain.  In the process because of the smaller particles the germ and bran is blown off by blowers.  By removing them the grain is less nutritious.  The high altitude flour contains about 12% protein.

John K. Mullen married Catherine Smith in 1874.  They had four daughters.  John made sure the family stayed close and built houses near his.  Ella who married Eugene Weckbaugh lived at 450 East 9th.  May Dower was the wife of John Dower and lived at 875 Pennsylvania.  Edith married Oscar Malo and they lived at 8th and Pennsylvania.  Katherine was married to John O’Conner and lived at the family mansion at 860 Pennsylvania.   Later on, Peter M. Court, brother of Baby Doe Tabor lived in the Pennsylvania street mansion for a short time.

Mullen was Irish, Catholic and a Democratic.  He was a philanthropist.  He gave money to the Catholic University of America to build the J.K. Mullen Library.  He was instrumental to the Little Sisters of the Poor on west 29th street.  He gave up the property where his house stood to build St. Cajetan’s Catholic Church.

Before his death arrangements were being made to build an orphanage.  The Shirley Dairy Farm at 3601 South Lowell Boulevard.  This farm was eventually turned from working orphanage to Mullen Hight School.

Mullen assisted Mary Elitch in 1916 when she had financial problems. He bought the Gardens and leased them to J.M. Mulvihill.  He also donated the statue in Civic Center Park named the Bronco Buster by Alexander Phimister Proctor (1920).


The Bronco Buster, By Alexander Phimster Proctor.  1920.

The second subscriber was Thomas M. Patterson.  Like Mullen, Patterson was born in Ireland.  He made it to New York in 1849.  From there he landed in Indiana were he learned printing, watchmaking and jewelry.  In 1861 he volunteered for the Civil War.  His enlistment only lasted a year or two but in that time his brother died at the Battle of Winchester.  He returned to Indiana and school.  He passed the bar in 1867.  He moved to Denver in December, 1872.  He was City Attorney a short year and a half later.  A position he held until 1874.

In 1875 he was a delegate to the 44th Congress as a Colorado Territorial Representive.  After statehood, he became the first member of the House of Representive from Colorado.  He stayed in the house until 1879.  In 1890 he started he was back in the printing business, purchasing the Rocky Mountain News, the morning paper in Denver.  He then purchased the Times, the afternoon paper.  In 1901 to 1907 he served in Congress as a Senator.

He purchased his mansion on 11th avenue from Thomas Croke year after it was built, in 1891.  He continued to live there, until his death when his daughter and son-in-law took over the house.  Katharine AC Grafton Patterson married Richard Crawford Campbell, from which the house gets its name, The Croke-Patterson-Campbell Mansion.



Sources:  Mansions of Denver, James Bretz, Denver’s Historic Mansions, Edith Dudora Kohl, Denver in Slices, Louisa Ward Arps. Denver Post, Daniel Petty 0/21/2015, US Congress Biographical Directory, History of Denver, 1918, Wiki










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This entry was posted on October 1, 2018 by in Larimer Street.
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