COLORADO ARCHITECTS
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
OFFICE OF ARCHAEOLOGY AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION
COLORADO HISTORICAL SOCIETY

 

Architect: James M. Hunter
Birth/Death Dates: 1908-1983
Practice Dates: 1936-1973
Firms: Huntington, Jones and Hunter
James M. Hunter and Associates

Biographical Information

James M. Hunter, prominent Boulder architect and Fellow, American Institute of Architects, was born in 1908 in Omaha, Nebraska. Hunter studied architectural engineering at Iowa State University and received his degree from the University of Illinois in 1936. That same year he came to Boulder to work as a draftsman for Glen H. Huntington. By 1940, Harold Stuart Jones had joined the same company and the firm Huntington, Jones and Hunter was born. This firm remained active until 1945. They designed a number of buildings in that short time, including the Citizens National Bank Building in Boulder as well as a number of houses in Floral Park, a Boulder subdivision.

After service in World War II, Hunter formed his own Boulder-based firm. As firm principal he worked on numerous academic complexes. Hunter served as planner and architect for Colorado A & M College (now Colorado State University), Fort Collins; Fort Lewis College, Durango; Regis College, Denver, and Tarkio College in Missouri. Hunter also was a member of the advisory board of local (Boulder) architects who helped establish an accredited degree program in Architecture at the University of Colorado at Boulder. This new major was approved in 1949. In honor of Hunter’s contributions both to education and to architecture, the AIA Colorado chapter established the James M. Hunter Scholarship. This Hunter scholarship is awarded for graduate study or travel within the continental United States specifically for the study of American architecture.

Hunter designed many civic, commercial, organizational, educational, and residential buildings in Boulder. Key commissions included the original Boulder Public Library, Baseline Junior High School, Boulder Medical Center, the Nelson House and the Boulder Municipal Building. In addition to his practice, Hunter was interested in architectural research, especially solar design. He was highly regarded for his early efforts to use active solar design in his architecture. He served as a consultant on the utilization of solar energy and was a member of the advisory board for the Association of Applied Solar Energy. In collaboration with George Löf, a noted authority on active solar design, Hunter designed residences for Löf in Boulder in 1949 and in Denver (Cherry Hills Village) in the early 1950s. The Nelson House in Boulder embodies many of the principles of solar design, albeit passive as opposed to active solar design. Further research is needed in order to better understand Hunter’s contributions to solar design and his role in the then-new technology.

Hunter retired from practice in 1973. He died at the age of 75 in 1983 at his home in Boulder. He is interred at Danforth Chapel on the campus at Colorado State University, a building of his own design.

Biography by Diane Wray

Credited Buildings (partial list)

Building Name Location Site No. Date* Status
Huntington, Jones &
Hunter
       
Weihofen House Boulder 5BL.1453 1940  
Allen House Boulder 5BL.1454 1940  
Swisher House Boulder 5BL.1455 1940  
Garnsey House Boulder 5BL.1456 1940  
Harrington House Boulder 5BL.1457 1940  
Parker House Boulder 5BL.1458 1940  
Geck House Boulder 5BL.1459 1940  
Thompson House Boulder 5BL.1460 1940  
James M. Hunter House Boulder 5BL.3719 1940  
House Boulder 5BL.3720 1941  
Spackman House Boulder 5BL.3594 1941  
George Lof House Boulder 5BL.3725 1940s  
Public Service Company Warehouse and Office Boulder 5BL.4677 1941 or 1950  
James M. Hunter &
Associates
       
Masonic Lodge Boulder 5BL.6040 1948  
University Hill Elementary Boulder 5BL.8220 1949  
Seventh Day Adventist Church Boulder 5BL.6206 1949  
Academic Building, Fort Lewis College Durango   1950s  
Danforth Chapel, Fort Lewis College (also McPherson Chapel) Durango   1950s  
Allison Hall, Colorado State University Fort Collins   1950s  
Brighton City Hall Brighton   1950s  
Nelson House Boulder 5BL.8232 1951 State Register
City of Boulder Municipal Building Boulder 5BL.6039 1951  
Nomad Playhouse Boulder 5BL.6281 1952  
Mercantile Bank & Trust Boulder   1953 Baseline Junior
High School Boulder   1954  
Boulder Medical Center Boulder   1954 Danforth Chapel
Colorado State university Fort Collins 5LR.2096 1954  
Colorado Insurance Building Boulder 5BL.5913 1955  
Commonwealth Industrial Bank (also Boulder Industrial Bank) Boulder   1955  
George Lof Residence Cherry Hills Village   1955-1957  
Engineering Building, Colorado State University Fort Collins 5LR.9988 1957  
Charles A. Lory Student Center, Colorado State University Fort Collins 5LR.9987 1961  
Boulder Public Library/ Boulder Library and Community Center Boulder 5BL.6065 1961  
First National Bank Fort Collins 5LR.9997 1961  
McClelland Public Library Pueblo 5PE.4270 1965  
Norton House Boulder   By 1953  
Citizens National Bank Boulder      
Boulder Chamber of Commerce Boulder      

*Completion date is stated if known. Plan, building permit, or assessor date is shown if
completion date is unknown.
Information Sources
“Architecture of James M. Hunter and Associates,” undated brochure.
Boulder Daily Camera, “James M. Hunter,” obituary, September 13, 1983.
Cole, Estella. Nelson House State Register nomination, August 20, 2005.
Hunter, James M. Architects files, Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, Colorado
Historical Society, Denver.
New York Times, “Denver Family Set for Winter in Solar-Heated Home,” November 10, 1957, p.
313.
Site Files Database, Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, Colorado Historical
Society, Denver.
Revised: August 23, 2006