Boulder County has a rich history and residents actively want to preserve aspects of that past. Every May, Boulder County’s legacy is honored during Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month.
In 1974, the City of Boulder created the Historic Preservation Program in response to a citizen-driven effort to recognize and protect buildings and sites important to Boulder’s history. Initially, five individual landmarks were designated, and in 1978 Floral Park was the first historic district established within the city. Since the beginning of the program, more than 1,300 properties have been preserved including nearly 200 individual landmarks and 10 historic districts.
The Historic Preservation program is comprised of several parts:
Landmarks and Historic Districts
The Landmark Designation’s purpose is to honor, preserve, and protect buildings and areas that showcase Boulder’s past. Targeted properties are those of historic, architectural, and aesthetic value. You can search for designated properties by address on the city’s website at: https://bouldercolorado.gov/planning/historic-propertylandmark-search
When someone owns a property over 50 years old and would like to tear it down to build something new, the demolition permit requires approval from the Historic Preservation program. The Demolition Review process is intended to avoid the loss of buildings that have significant historical value.
If a property is an individual landmark or located in an historic district, and the owner desires to make exterior changes, a review by the Landmarks Board is required before alterations can be made. If approved, the owner is issued a Landmark Alteration Certificate. The intent of the design review is to ensure that the proposed changes won’t destroy the historical significance for which the property was originally landmarked.
Established Design Guidelines benefit both the owner of the landmarked property and the Landmarks Board. The owner can use the guidelines for ideas on improving the property while maintaining the historic nature of the property. The Landmark Board uses the guidelines as a framework for their decisions in the Design Review approval process.
National Register of Historic Places
In addition to the City of Boulder’s desire to preserve its historic places, there is also a national program that recognizes these sites: The National Register of Historic Places. The National Registry began in 1966, authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act. Boulder has some very special places listed on this registry, with the headliner being the Colorado Chautauqua, designated as a National Historic Landmark and one of 25 properties so designated in the state of Colorado. Other properties on the National Registry are the Arnett-Fuller House at 646 Pearl, Highland School at 885 Arapahoe, Carnegie Library at 1125 Pine, Boulderado Hotel at 2115 13th, Mt. St. Gertrude’s Academy at 970 Aurora, and the Downtown Boulder Historic District. Learn more at bouldercolorado.gov/historic-preservation.
Finding Out About the History of Your Home
If you are interested in finding out about the past details of your historic home, the Carnegie Library in Boulder has digital records of the Historic Home Inventory and a wealth of information.
Annual Historic Preservation Awards Ceremony
In a “normal” year without COVID-19, an awards ceremony would take place to celebrate Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month in Boulder. The ceremony acknowledges owners of recently designated landmarks and Preservation Award recipients. Also, during a “normal” May, the month would feature events such as talks, exhibits, photography, historic walk, community clean up, and workshops for the community.
This year due to COVID-19, the calendar of events is changing. You can check here Community Engagement, bouldercolorado.gov for details on the status of this year’s events.
By Duane Duggan. Duane has been a Realtor for RE/MAX of Boulder in Colorado since 1982 and has facilitated over 2,500 transactions over his career, the vast majority from repeat and referred clients. He has been awarded two of the highest honors bestowed by RE/MAX International: The Lifetime Achievement Award and the Circle of Legends Award. Living the life of a Realtor and being immersed in real estate led to the inception of his book, Realtor for Life. For questions, e-mail DuaneDuggan@boulderco.com, call 303.441.5611 or visit boulderco.com.