April 26, 2013

Hovers’ farm sprouted harvest of caring for seniors

LONGMONT — In the late 1970s, a 160-acre tract northwest of Longmont was mostly open land, populated only by jackrabbits and the occasional pheasant. On the southeast corner of the parcel, however, stood a 3,500-square-foot Tudor-style home, surrounded by shade trees.

Inside that home, a dream was being nurtured.

That dream now lives as the nonprofit Hover Senior Living Community, which occupies most of the southern half of the old farm and is a lasting tribute to the Hover family — Charles, Katherine and adopted daughter Beatrice — who are being inducted posthumously this year into the Boulder County Business Hall of Fame.

Born in Wisconsin in 1867, Charles Hover moved to Denver in 1888 to help his family run the W.A. Hover wholesale drug business. He met and married Katherine Avery, and the couple lived in Denver until 1902, when Charles bought the farm in Longmont — bounded by present-day Mountain View and 17th avenues and Hover and Harvard streets. The ground was alkali-ridden clay soil, but Hover improved it, rotating crops of alfalfa, beets and wheat and earning a Denver newspaper headline in 1912: “Prairie Farm is Paradise in Ten Years.”

In 1907, the couple adopted 9-year-old orphan Beatrice. They lived in a bungalow on the property and built the house known today as “Hoverhome” for $27,000, where they took up residence in 1914.

Charles eventually turned operation of the farm over to tenant farmers, joining four local investors in 1920 to buy the Empson Canning Factory. Hover served as president and general manager of the cannery until it was sold to Kuner Pickle Co. in 1927. He also was instrumental in securing the land for Roosevelt Park and the Boulder County Fairgrounds — and even turned down requests to run for Colorado governor.

Charles died in 1958 at age 91, and Katherine and Beatrice lived in the home until Katherine’s death at 99 in 1971, and Beatrice stayed there until 1988.

“My hopes are that (Hoverhome) can be preserved,” Beatrice wrote, “as a museum exemplary of a fine house of the early 1900s with furnishings, rare books and artifacts kept intact, so the home can become a community center.”

That dream came true. The St. Vrain Historical Society bought Hoverhome in 1997, where it hosts tours and events.

Beatrice died in 1991 at age 94, but did live to see a bigger dream unfold. “It was Mrs. Hover’s idea to provide a place for seniors to live,´ said Luella Lindquist, events coordinator for the historical society. The Hover Community sprouted north and west of Hoverhome beginning in 1982.

“Her parents made Beatrice promise that she would always strive to have the most respect for affordable housing for seniors,” added Jean Mendez, director of assisted living for Hover Communities.

It’s no accident that Hover Communities’ headquarters is on Charles Drive — and that its symbol is a Harrison yellow rose, Katherine’s favorite flower.

LONGMONT — In the late 1970s, a 160-acre tract northwest of Longmont was mostly open land, populated only by jackrabbits and the occasional pheasant. On the southeast corner of the parcel, however, stood a 3,500-square-foot Tudor-style home, surrounded by shade trees.

Inside that home, a dream was being nurtured.

That dream now lives as the nonprofit Hover Senior Living Community, which occupies most of the southern half of the old farm and is a lasting tribute to the Hover family — Charles, Katherine and adopted daughter Beatrice — who are being inducted posthumously this year into the Boulder County Business Hall of…

Dallas Heltzell
With BizWest since 2012 and in Colorado since 1979, Dallas worked at the Longmont Times-Call, Colorado Springs Gazette, Denver Post and Public News Service. A Missouri native and Mizzou School of Journalism grad, Dallas started as a sports writer and outdoor columnist at the St. Charles (Mo.) Banner-News, then went to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before fleeing the heat and humidity for the Rockies. He especially loves covering our mountain communities.
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