Projects we are working on in 2020:
Boulder Theater Facade Restoration
In 1936, the Boulder Theater was completed in high Art Deco style. It was built on the site of the Curran Opera House, built in 1906. The Theater was a marvel with its multicolored façade, stylized murals, modern snack bar, and decorative detailing. After multiplex cinemas came to Boulder in the 1970s, the Boulder Theater closed and was in danger of being lost. Historic Boulder stepped in by leasing the building. We showed second-run movies and sold popcorn to pay the rent until permanent owners were found. Historic Boulder supported the landmark designation of the theater, approved in 1980. Before it was sold in 1980, Historic Boulder placed three conservation easements on the architecture and interior. The theater façade has become an icon of the Downtown Boulder Historic District, but it needs maintenance. We are currently working with the Boulder Theater to assess and repair the façade using a grant generously given by the State Historical Fund.
Due to the success of last year’s history hikes with our partner Bolder Adventure Travel, we are happy to announce that we are expanding the program in 2020! Bolder Adventure Travel will again host a Spring/Summer series, and local guide Suzanne Michaud will host a Summer/Fall series.
- Tuesday April 7, 5pm – 7pm @ Marshall Mesa Trail
- Easy/moderate hike
- Tuesday May 5, 5pm – 7pm @ Chautauqua with Happy Hour to follow at the Dining Hall
- Easy/moderate hike
- Tuesday June 2, 7am – 9am @ Eldorado Canyon State Park
- Moderate hike
- Coming soon!
We look forward to partnering again with The Carnegie Library for Local History for a summer salon series. Stay tuned for dates and topics!
Meet the Spirits
One of Historic Boulder’s signature events returns in October 2020! Come hear the fascinating life stories from some of Boulder’s most dearly departed. As you wander through Columbia Cemetery, a National Register of Historic Places treasure and local landmark, Eben G. Fine, Mary Rippon, Tom Horn, Jane Doe, James Maxwell and Rocky Mountain Joe are just a few of the historical characters that will come to life at this favorite community event.
Discover facts about Columbia Cemetery, meet local history authors, visit with psychics, learn about green burials and much more.
More details coming soon!
Local African-American History App
Most current Boulder residents are unaware that early Boulder had a thriving African American community. Unlike many early Boulder residents who were single men coming for opportunities in the mining economy, the African Americans that settled in Boulder came as families. They contributed to the development of Boulder with a variety of jobs and most owned their own homes, with much of the social life centered around an AME Church on Pearl Street. Many lived in a part of town known as the ‘Little Rectangle,’ a flood-prone area bordered by Canyon Blvd., 19th Street, Goss Street, and 23rd.
It’s an American story of segregation and discrimination, as well as one of resilience and success.
Historic Boulder, previously sought funds to create a downloadable mobile device application to tell the story of Boulder’s African American past. Unfortunately, we hate yet to secure funding for the project, but we are looking to partner with local organizations to get the app developed.
Our narrative with this app seeks to explain why Boulder’s choices in planning and beautification led to a lack of job opportunities that drove most of the African American residents out of Boulder. Much of this history is in danger of being lost or forgotten. We believe it is important to share these stories, if we are to know the full and true history of our community.
Homes for the Holidays
Join us this December for the 35th annual Homes for the Holidays Tour. More details to come.
A Past Success:
The Hannah Barker House
Historic Boulder’s most recent and ambitious rehabilitation project is the Hannah Barker house located at 800 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder. Hannah Connell Barker (1844-1918) was an early resident of Boulder and made significant contributions to the community as a philanthropist, civic leader, teacher and a businesswoman. Her Italianate-style house is considered to be an excellent example of Boulder’s upper middle class housing built in the late 1870s. Although the house had been boarded up and neglected for several decades, a significant amount of the original architectural features remained intact. The previous owners, Historic Boulder and the City of Boulder, worked collaboratively for several years to find a way to restore the Hannah Barker house, The donation of this landmarked property to Historic Boulder in late 2010 was the culmination of these efforts.
Thanks to the State Historical Fund, generous donors, many volunteers and a stellar committee under the extraordinary leadership of Ruth McHeyser, Hannah’s house has been resurrected and is once again a cherished part of Boulder’s heritage. Today the house is structurally sound from its foundation to the top of the spire. Its glorious cupola and chimneys have been rebuilt and the exterior has been painted in a palette of colors Hannah used during her life. For more than 45 years, Historic Boulder has endeavored to save the places that matter. Each has a different story, but none have been closer to being lost forever than Hannah’s.