The story of a house:
Owner eases personal tragedy by selling to offspring of family that once loved it there
The house at 122 Hill St. will be changing hands Sept. 30. On the surface, it will be just an ordinary real-estate closing.
But there are aspects of Pat Dozier's sale to Dan and Kajsa Novembre that are not so ordinary.
Start with the house itself. It is one of the older and more prominent dwellings on the Westside, built with classic styling in 1890, when it was alone on a hilltop (one that it now shares with a currently defunct restaurant). It's also got some great views - about 270 degrees, taking in downtown and northern Colorado Springs, Cheyenne Mountain and Pikes Peak.
Then there are the people involved in the sale. For Patricia Dozier, selling the house and attached rental cottage on roughly three-fourths of an acre marks the hard end of a dream. For nine years, she had fixed up the place, pouring more than $200,000 into additions and repairs and obtaining the necessary zoning to to run a bed and breakfast business. Retired from a career in teaching, she had no intention of ever leaving. She even had other improvements in mind, including a four-car garage with an office on top.
Then, out of nowhere, the cancer hit. First it attacked her brain. She thought she'd fought it off, but a year later it came back, worse than before. After that, it got into her spine. She's already outlived the three-to-nine-month life expectancy a doctor predicted for her last January, but as she put it in a recent interview, “I know I don't have much time.”
There is a small consolation, Dozier said, and that's the fact that her buyers, Dan and Kajsa Novembre, are more than just young professionals (a system engineer and dentist, respectively) seeking a unique place to live. Kajsa's father, Dave Anderson, grew up in the house.
“We used to play football on the front lawn,” Dave chuckled in a recent interview. “There was no passing or kicking, just a running game. Once that ball went off the hill, nobody wanted to go get it.”
His bright memories aren't even diminished by the recollection of some cold nights in his bedroom - then the turret - when water by the bedside would freeze solid by morning.
He was the oldest of eight children to Andy Anderson and Helen Anderson-Rohde, who both wrote for the old Colorado Springs Free Press. The family lived in the house from 1963 to 1979 - longer than anyone else who ever lived there, according to Helen, who once researched the abstract for the property.
Dave's wife, Jennifer never lived there, but she has her own special memory of 122 Hill St.: “Dave asked me to marry him there.”
According to Helen, “there was something magnetic about that house.” There may be something to that. The Novembres, who have been renting a Westside house from Dave Anderson, said they (most often Kajsa) drove by the Hill Street house a number of times in the past year and a half, hoping to see a for-sale sign.
But the catalyst was a chance visit from Dave's younger brother, Dan, who now lives in South Carolina. His childhood memories of the house were so pleasant (he had the turret bedroom after Dave) that on a fishing trip to Colorado last July, he went to the house and introduced himself to Pat Dozier. In their conversation, she revealed her medical condition and the expectation that she planned to sell.
Dan Anderson told his brother, who passed the word along to the Novembres.
After some negotiation on the price, a contract was signed to sell the house and property for $450,000. The value has risen over the years. When the Andersons bought it in '63, the price was $16,000, and at the time it also included a field that would become a parking lot and a series of unsuccessful restaurants (originally Chicago Joe's) starting in the 1980s.
Dozier, who paid $200,000 nine years ago, said she was approached in recent years by the restaurant-property owners, regarding an idea to tear down the restaurant as well as her house and build condominiums in their place. But she never felt good about their offer and declined to sell to them.
Dozier, a divorcee with three children (one of whom later graduated from the Air Force Academy), moved to Colorado Springs in 1980. She worked three jobs at times to support her family, she said. She was a special education teacher primarily; one of her other jobs included, in the mid-'80s, managing the once-prominent waterslide at Garden of the Gods Road west of I-25. “I had a blast doing that,” she said.
In recent years, she has been living off her rental properties, including Hill Street at times.
This year, with her future short, Dozier said she hoped to sell her house for a high price, to make back her investment and have a little extra to leave to her family. But she was swayed by the idea of selling to people for whom the house had special meaning. “That's why I came down on the price,” she said.
For Dan Novembre, the main goal he and Kajsa had shared in their house-hunting was a place with a view. “We didn't want to look out our window on another house,” he said.
And now that the view will be from the house that had been so special to Kajsa's family? “That view's pretty special,” he said. “There's nothing like it.”
Westside Pioneer article