2014 State Honor Awards

2014 State Honor Award Honoree

Donna Warner Wilson and the Cherokee Ranch and Castle Foundation for Preservation Leadership

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994, the Cherokee Ranch & Castle, located near Sedalia in Douglas County, combines architectural aspects of the Western United States with a 1450s Scottish-style castle built in the 1920s. It is situated in an absolutely extraordinary setting with a variety of landscape themes across 3,200 acres of open space. The property boasts numerous examples of archaeological and historic resources including 13th century Indian caves, a 1840s mountain man trail used by trappers and traders, mid-1860s homesteads, 1920s farming, and a purebred cattle ranch begun in 1954.

The Cherokee Ranch & Castle Foundation (CRCF) acquired the property from its last private owner, Tweet Kimball, in 1996. Since that time, the CRCF has been committed to preserving the property’s secluded natural environment and wildlife, the restoration and repurposing of its historic structures, enhancing cultural life in Colorado, and providing youth and adult educational opportunities devoted to western heritage, preservation, wildlife and the arts.

When Dr. Donna Warner Wilson took the position as Chief Executive Officer of Cherokee Ranch & Castle in 2005, it had a reputation of being an interesting relic of a lifestyle gone by. The irregular schedule of events took a heavy toll on the properties, but did not ensure a steady stream of funding or sufficient community interest to engender the kind of community support that a property with multiple aging structures requires. Dr. Wilson brought her tenacity, dedication and superior business acumen to the position, ensuring that the Castle and its grounds were an integral part of the local community.

With the hard work of Cherokee Ranch & Castle staff, along with the Foundation, the site has become a vibrant, year-round destination for people of all ages. The Foundation has become a leader in Colorado preservation by demonstrating that historic properties can celebrate their natural surroundings while serving new purposes that meet community needs and interests.

2014 State Honor Award Honoree

Eagle Valley Library District and Eagle County Historical Society for Preservation Leadership

Established as a non-profit organization in 1981, the Eagle County Historical Society strives to preserve Eagle County history through collection of artifacts, operation of a museum, book publication and special events. While the society has always excelled at collecting historical items and information, they have not always had the resources to store that information in such a way to make it readily available to the public. By partnering with the society, and funding an archivist position, the Eagle Valley Library District stepped in to make a tremendous contribution toward preserving local history and ensuring that the Eagle Valley Historical Society’s vision was brought to life.

Together, these organizations have worked hard to make local history come alive for residents and visitors by mixing history lessons with fun. Programs include: cemetery tours of the Red Cliff and Gypsum cemeteries, where characters are brought to life by volunteer actors who portray the residents laid to rest; historic tours of restored homesteads, school buildings and a stagecoach stop on the Diamond S Ranch; and history hikes and snowshoe tours to local historic sites, such as the Ranger Brown trail in Yeoman Park or the schoolhouse and homesteads on West Brush Creek.

The Historical Society has become a cornerstone of life in Eagle County. Residents rely on the organization for events, speakers, and information about mining, agriculture, skiing and all the pioneers that came before them. This valuable resource would not be available however without the support provided by the Library District, a testament to their commitment of preserving and sharing local history. Together, the Library District and Historical Society provide a link to the past and a ready source of information and assistance, with a breadth and depth that keeps them solidly connected to their roots.

2014 State Honor Award Honoree

Jefferson County Historical Commission for Preservation Leadership

The Jefferson County Historical Commission (JCHC), established in 1974, was formed to identify and document the County’s historic resources and to encourage Jefferson County residents and visitors to learn more about the colorful history of their community. JCHC takes on a leadership role and acts as the County’s historic preservation gatekeeper by supporting local museums, residents, and other agencies with the documentation, designation, preservation and restoration of historic sites and structures.

One superb example of the JCHC’s efforts is the cultural resource survey started in 1999, a grant-funded project developed to evaluate properties more than 50 years of age in unincorporated areas. The final report described the historic context of a century of development and reviewed more than 4,000 buildings. Over 700 potentially significant sites were identified through this project, in addition to multiple property owners that expressed interest in historic designation.

Other signature initiatives include: The Landmark Program, which promotes the recognition and preservation of significant buildings, sites and structures; the annual Historic Preservation Symposium designed to discuss topics of current interest in the preservation community; and Historically Jeffco, an annual journal that showcases county history, including new local landmarks and National Register sites.

The Commission’s long-term commitment to preserving Jefferson County’s history continues to have a positive affect on communities by increasing appreciation for historic sites and structures in the area, and raising public awareness of the value and richness of their unique character.

2014 State Honor Award Honoree

The Koshares for Preservation, Stewardship and Education

A common hurdle in history and preservation is the interest and involvement of youth. The Koshares, in particular, have overcome this obstacle for over 80 years by engaging young citizens in the stewardship of our heritage and resources. Members of Boy Scout Troop 232 and Venturing Crew 2230, the Koshares, have created a remarkable dance program that is known around the world and built a one-of-a-kind Kiva alongside a renowned museum, demonstrating the power and dedication of youth.

In the early 1930s, James Francis “Buck” Burshears recognized that boys in La Junta and Otero County needed organized activities, and believed that learning about local history, heritage, and developing a deep love and respect for the Native American history and culture of the region was a perfect focus. From this idea, the Koshare program was born.
The link between the dancer program and the museum began by introducing the Koshare dancers to art and artifacts throughout their tenure as dancers. The youth gained an appreciation of Native American and Southwestern art and soon began collecting and purchasing Native American Indian art and artifacts. In 1949, they built a replica of an authentic Pueblo Kiva in which to perform their dances and house their growing art collection.

Each year the Koshares give between 60 and 80 performances. In addition to performing in their Kiva, which is listed on the State Register, the Koshares have traveled the United States, Canada, and England performing for U.S. Presidents, the English Royal Family, and delegates at the United Nations. The Koshares have also been recognized and accepted by the Native American community – the highest honor bestowed on a non-Indian group.

2014 State Honor Award Honoree

The Source for Preservation Rehabilitation

The Source melds the preservationist’s eye with the vision of a dedicated developer willing to bet on the marriage of a run-down, circa 1884 iron foundry to a vibrant European-style marketplace. Located in the Brighton Boulevard corridor, better known for its gritty landscape of old factories and warehouses, The Source is bringing renewed life to Denver’s River North, or “RiNo” area. Developer Mickey Zeppelin, along with his son, Kyle, is a member of the small but growing band of visionaries who believe equally in RiNo’s potential for building community and the adaptive reuse of Denver’s character-filled old buildings.

Within its 30,000 square feet, The Source is a massive culinary community in the spirit of San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace and Seattle’s Pike Place Market. In providing this unique, one-stop destination, the Zeppelins are attracting a new audience to an area once dominated by the remnants of the turn-of-the-century manufacturing boom.

Creative rehabilitation of the foundry’s vast space has created a market space where visitors can see their purchases directly from the ‘source’. The building’s natural light and exposed infrastructure honor its origin while the building’s exterior has been left relatively raw, exposing its scars and showcasing some of its graffiti art. The industrial design with clear layers of new materials complementing the original shell coneys the integrity and edginess both of the tenants themselves and of this new marketplace.


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Preservation for a Changing Colorado

The 2017 update, Preservation for a Changing Colorado, resulted from a partnership between Colorado Preservation and History Colorado and Colorado Preservation, Inc. Prepared by Clarion Associates, the new report and accompanying website document the economic benefits of rehabilitation projects, analyzes property values and neighborhood stability in local historic districts, and summarizes the increasing impact of heritage tourism, private preservation development and the success of Colorado’s Main Street program. In a key finding, researchers found that for every $1 million spent on historic preservation in Colorado leads to $1.03 million in additional spending, 14 new jobs, and $636,700 in increased household incomes across the state! The 2017 report also considers the important role preservation plays in helping Coloradans provide new spaces for creative communities and co-working, create and sustain meaningful places, respond to the state’s changing demographics, and address climate concerns. Click Here to see the full report, "Preservation for a Changing Colorado".

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