Projects we are working on in 2019:
Our preservation advocacy focus, since Spring of 2018, is the future of the Harbeck-Bergheim House, an emblem of historic preservation in our community. At the first public meeting, we were disheartened that some people thought selling the landmark might be the best option. With that, Historic Boulder went to work mostly behind the scenes rallying support to encourage options that we felt were in the best interest of the House, the neighborhood and the Boulder community. We have attended each and every meeting, offering our input about similar estate properties, criteria for selecting suitable tenants as well as highlighting interior preservation concerns. We continue to advocate for the historic preservation and public use of this unique property.
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 submit a grant to the State Historical Fund for matching funds to assess and repair the façade.
Historic Boulder, a longstanding preservation and heritage nonprofit, is in the process of securing for funds to create a downloadable mobile device application to tell the story of Boulder’s African American past.
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.,19thStreet, Goss Street, and 23rrd.
It’s an American story of segregation and discrimination, as well as one of resilience and success.
Our narrative will 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.
UPDATE: Unfortunately we did not receive the grant for this project.
On May 22ndHistoric Boulder, in partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the City of Boulder Preservation Planning office will offer the first public tours of Building 1. This is where Big Science began in Boulder! Join us to learn about the historical context, architecture and tour the original laboratory. Free, but registration required due to limited space and security procedures.
UPDATE: This tour was a hit and was totally sold out!
This year, with our partner Bolder Adventure Travel, we are offering three Friday morning hikes at notable historic sites.
March 29th, Meyers Homestead Trail, part of the Walker Ranch Open Space property. Walker Ranch was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, with the boundaries extended in 1988 to include the Meyers Homestead. The ranch is the largest designated historic cultural landscape in Colorado.
April 26, Eldorado Canyon
June 21, Boulder Canyon to the Historic Wagon Wheel Lodge (now the A-Lodge)
$10 for Historic Boulder members and $20 General Admission. Email email@example.com reserve your spot and receive details. Limited to 20 participants.
UPDATE: These hikes were well attended and we look forward to doing more in 2020!
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.