Circle Drive, Hereford, Colorado

Have you ever considered converting an old schoolhouse into a home? Daydreamed about how it would be all open and airy and feel both historical and really cool and modern all at the same time? 

Me, too. Let's take a look at this not-so-little 1920's schoolhouse on the Colorado prairie and see if it fits the bill.

The center of the schoolhouse is this newly stylish staircase. The kitchen and dining are to the right.

The living room is at the opposite end, to the left of the center staircase.

Nothing quite says welcome to our home better than a creepy hospital bed vibe.

Not surprisingly, I'd change the room to look a little more like an open art gallery space, like this:

There's also a bathroom downstairs, with a great old sink and a really interesting toilet lid:

I'd like to propose a bit of an art gallery in here, too, playing off the existing bird prints.


Conveniently, the area near the school is noted for bird watching, with more than 300 species to spot.  Did you also notice the schoolhouse appropriate chart in a convenient place to sit and study?

The upstairs has a similar look to the downstairs, this time with a bedroom to the right of the staircase...

...and a sitting area to the left...

...and a really ingenius bathroom in between:

The toilet is tucked behind the sink, and that's the open stairwell right next to it. I guess privacy isn't an issue in the middle of the Hereford prairie. 

The town of Hereford is, of course, named for this guy...

...and the cattle ranches of the area near the Pawnee National Grassland of Northeastern Colorado, close to the Wyoming/Nebraska border. The school was built sometime between 1920 and 1925, and was designed by this guy...

...John Shellette Van Bergen, appropriately enough a Prairie School architect, and student of Frank Lloyd Wright (because it's hard to find a Prairie School architect of that era who wasn't a student of Frank Lloyd Wright.) He also designed the Hereford Inn on the same Circle Drive.

{Google maps}

The 9 bedroom inn in its heyday was a golf course retreat on 27 acres. Eventually it became pretty much abandoned, and sold as-is in 2016. The schoolhouse was closed in 1940, and the students were bused to nearby Grover. Today Hereford is essentially a ghost town.

What I can't figure out is why a successful Illinois based architect would design a hotel and school in the middle of sparsely populated ranch land in the first place. It's as big a mystery as why someone would design a living room with rows of beds and a bathroom with no walls. 

If you're a prairie school/Prairie School fan like me, the listing is here.

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