Dot's Story

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Dot Heller

The Heller Property at present, after
historically sensitive renovations

Dot Heller in riding attire - she ran cattle on the property Influenced by contemporary Pueblo Revival architecture, with its flat roofs, battered, stucco walls, projecting roof rafters, straight windows, and rounded corners, Larry and Dorothy designed and built both the main house and the guest house by hand over the next decade. Later additions to the structure included a studio and foundry, added in the 1960s and 1970s, respectively, to support Larry's burgeoning art career. Lastly, a separate, free-standing gallery was added in 1982. These modifications, additions, and dependencies, also built by the Hellers, make this site an interesting example of evolving and "living" vernacular architecture in the 20th century, designed by an artist with a national recognition, and by his equally accomplished wife. Through the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, he and Dorothy hosted weekend retreats for gatherings of artists at their property, which they jokingly called the Yawn Valley Hunt, Yacht and Recreation Club.  "The only requirement for membership is that one can't stand steady employment."

Dorothy "Dot" Heller was a much-lauded member of the Colorado Springs community. She was the first woman on the Colorado Springs Police Force, and made her mark in the community by working with at-risk youth and on social issues like sexual abuse at a time when there was more stigma than support for such work .Dorothy was unafraid to voice an unpopular opinion, however, and in the 1940s even recognized the existence of what the modern media has recently dubbed "affluenza." Heller, the only female participant on a panel on child growth said "Sometimes too much money is as much a cause of juvenile delinquency as not enough" (Colorado Springs Gazette). Dot took on similarly unpopular issues such as child molestation within families, combating the widely-held notion that only strangers perpetrated such crimes. Tough on stigmatized issues, Dot was also sympathetic to the plight of young juvenile delinquents; she fought for leniency in cases that she felt could be better handled through social work rather than jail time.