Historic Boulder, Inc. saves important places and buildings through advocacy, education, alliances and action.
The History of Historic Boulder
The year 1971 was one of many changes in the cityscape of Boulder. Citizens began to realize that buildings were being proposed for demolition with no thought as to their historic or architectural value. By the end of the first year, three important building were threatened with demolition: the Boulder Railroad Depot, Central School and Highland School.
Historic Boulder, Inc., Boulder's first permanent preservation organization was formed and incorporated in March, 1972. Money was raised for the purchase of Highland School, which was subsequently sold to private developers. With Historic Boulder's help in acquiring the depot, the Boulder Jaycees found a site, moved, and renovated the building. Central School - perhaps Boulder's most important building - was demolished.
Out of the destruction rose the urgency for a legal mechanism which would evaluate historic sites. In 1974, the Boulder Landmarks Preservation was passed and shortly after, the inventory of significant sites began. As a result of this, Historic Boulder successfully petitioned the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board for the downtown commercial area to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Historic Boulder has been saving places that matter for almost forty-five years; most recently the Hannah Barker House project extended that legacy by acquiring an important but threatened building, rehabilitating it, and returning it to its former glory as a beautiful residence in the community.
Historic Boulder's 2018 preservation advocacy was centered on the City-owned 1899 Harbeck-Bergheim House. At a series of public meetings, we opposed the sale of the historic estate and encouraged the City to retain and preserve this cultural asset for public use. We offered assistance with selection criteria for future tenants, a vision statement for use, and research on the art glass windows. We met with neighborhood groups, wrote letters to the newspaper and City Council and built relationships to support the preservation of this unique property.
We also advocated for restoring the archivist position and public hours at the Carnegie Library for Local History. Historic Boulder cannot fulfill its mission without this important resource.
Our attempt to stop significant alterations at the Charles Haertling Kahn house failed, but led to a discussion of a non-contiguous Charles Haertling Historic District.
Historic Boulder actively participated at the monthly City of Boulder Landmarks Board meetings and supported a stay of demolition on a historic property.
We completed the design and installation of interpretive signage at the Hannah Barker House, the final piece of a six year long restoration project.
We held a free lecture series with preservation themes, co-sponsored by the Landmarks Board. We led a Chautauqua Women's History walking tour to celebration Preservation Month. We co-hosted the annual Historic Archaeology & Preservation Month Awards at the Chautauqua Community House.
Several new partnerships were created including a history hike with Bolder Adventure Travel. We teamed up with Month of Modern on their Charles Haertling home tour. We began talks and planning with the Maryland office of the National Institute for Standards and Technology on the history of Boulder's first Federal laboratory building.
Our three signature community events were successful, profitable and well-attended.
We held a membership party with personal tours at the Arnett-Fullen House, a local architectural icon and a designated property on the National Register of Historic Places.
Our biennial Meet the Spirits event at the landmarked Columbia Cemetery doubled the revenue that we were able to contribute to the cemetery preservation funds. Supported by volunteer actors, docents and business sponsorships, we featured over 25 first person historical characters and several booths of related information. Several fresh features included a visit by Kate Harbeck, whose historic House is in transition, a portrayal of Neva Romero, a 1970s Chicana activist, and educational skits about green burials, all complimented by a strolling bagpiper.
Our 33rd Annual Homes for the Holidays tour was a partnership with the Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark and was supported by a wide variety of community businesses and volunteers. We added a deeper context of the social and architectural history of Chautauqua and the surrounding neighborhood. The tour included live music and educational holiday-related demonstrations. This event continues to be popular as well as an important source of revenue for our organization.