The Haunted House of Globeville

By Mary Lou Egan

From the top of the hill at 55th Avenue and Washington Street, Pikes Peak can be seen to the south, while the view below includes the Platte River meandering through the cottonwoods. That same scenery impressed John B. Hindry.

Mary Lou Egan

Hoping to make his fortune, Hindry came to Colorado from New York not long after gold was discovered in 1858. His sawmill in Bear Creek Canyon supplied much of the lumber for Denver’s buildings, and his cattle ranch near the eastern Colorado town of Masters was also a success.

By 1870, he was able to purchase 110 acres on high ground north of Denver and overlooking the South Platte River. In 1873, he built a two-story Italianate mansion crowned with an ornate cupola and guarded by two massive iron lions. The interior featured black walnut paneling and Italian marble.

Hindry intended to create an exclusive subdivision of fine homes nearby. Behind the house stood a brick stable for his horses and a greenhouse filled with flowers. A playhouse for the Hindry children, William, Nettie, Horace, and Charles, was a small replica of the big mansion.

But Hindry’s wealth couldn’t protect him from sorrow. In 1878, his son Charles died, and in 1881, he lost his wife. By the turn of the century, his other children had married and left to begin lives of their own. John Hindry was alone in his mansion.

The Hindry house at 5500 N. Washington. / La casa Hindry at 5500 N. Washington. Photo Harry H. Buckwalter, History Colorado

His dream home suffered as well. Not long after his mansion was completed, the Boston and Colorado Smelter began operating, followed by the Grant and Globe Smelters. The construction of railroads, foundries, and meatpacking plants made the area more suited to heavy industry than to exclusive homes.

The stench from the meatpacking plants ruined any hopes for a subdivision, and the fumes from the smelters killed the trees and the pasture for his horses.

In 1897, Hindry filed suit against the Globe Smelter, declaring “the fumes have poisoned the grass, so that nine head of horses have died from grazing there … carpets and lace curtains are eaten up bodily by noxious gasses.”

The case was finally settled in 1902 with the court ruling against Hindry. But Hindry refused to leave. Rumors spread that the old man had a hoard of money hidden in the house, and thieves began to prowl the property.

After being robbed several times, he took matters into his own hands. Hindry noticed that the thieves always entered through a certain window on the front porch. He set up a shotgun and tied a cord to the trigger and the window latch so the shotgun would fire straight out of the window when the sash was raised.

It didn’t take long to get results. On September 18, 1901, Hindry set his trap as usual and traveled to Golden on business. When he returned home at 6 p.m., he found a man dead in his front yard. Eventually, the trap became Hindry’s undoing.

One night he thought he’d heard a prowler, tripped over the trigger cord, and was wounded in the right side. Although he physically recovered, he abandoned his residence and moved to California in 1906. The enormous old building with its poisoned grounds stood empty for years.

Bomareto’s Market. Photo by Mary Lou Egan

As the property deteriorated, tales of apparitions circulated. Some said they saw Hindry’s ghost; others claim the figure was that of the man who had been killed there. The former mansion became the “haunted house.”

In 1921, Leo Bomareto bought the house at a tax auction and leased it to the city for an isolation hospital for tuberculosis patients. In the 1940s, the Bomareto family fixed up the house and lived in it. They removed the decaying cupola, converted the stable to a meatpacking plant, and, during the 1950s, sold Christmas trees from the backyard.

In July 1962, an unexplained explosion threw Frank Bomareto out of bed and the resulting fire destroyed the house.

Today, Bomareto’s food market occupies the site and only the stories of the Hindry Mansion remain.

Mary Lou Egan is a fourth-generation Coloradan who loves history and is working on a history of Denver’s Globeville neighborhood. Her blog contains tidbits about the community. You can reach her at


  1. What an interesting piece of history, thanks for sharing. But I’m surprised that this publication doesn’t have the boundaries correct. At 55th and Washington we’ve left Denver and we’re in the Globe Heights neighborhood in unincorporated Adams County. An important distinction because there are significant differences between the two municipalities. Just look at the north and south sides of 54th Ave. by Heller Open Space and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

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