Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of common questions with answers. Feel free to contact us if for any other helpful information you might need.

How do I find out more about the history of my building?

  • Visit your local library. There you will learn about the development of your town and begin to put your building into the framework of local history. Libraries, whether large or small, generally house local history books, documents, and publications including City Directories, a useful tool in learning about previous owners of your building and its prior use. Photographic collections housed at either the library or the museum may provide valuable information. The librarian may be able to give you names of people in the community who are active in a local historical organization or history museum.
  • If your town has a local history museum, make an appointment to meet with the person on their staff who knows most about buildings in your community. If the museum has a local history archives and/or photographic collection, these will be valuable in your search.
  • Contact the local historical society. These organizations come in all shapes and sizes, from the Colorado Historical Society down to groups with just a few members in small communities. As advocates of history, people with these groups will be able to direct you to valuable information.
  • Visit the county clerk’s office or tax assessor’s office. You will find property records, leading you to a title search. The legal description of your property, construction dates and dates of additions and/or alterations (often estimated) and the names of previous owners will provide you with a blueprint for your research.
  • Visit the building department of your city. You’ll be looking for old building permits for your house. Cities differ as to which year they began requiring building permits, so the information you find may be relatively recent, dating back only 60 years or so. This information is very useful in determining past configurations of the building. Importantly, determining the years in which alterations and additions to the structure have been made will alert you to the use of possibly hazardous building materials such as asbestos. (See “What hazardous materials should I be concerned about in my building?”) Previous commercial uses may suggest the presence of hazardous or toxic materials as a result of manufacturing processes or the existence of underground fuel storage tanks.

Helpful References:

National Register Bulletin: Researching a Historic Property
National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service
1849 C Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20240

This publication includes a through listing of additional sources as well as a list of National Register Bulletins.
Visit the web site for a full listing of publications and an order form.

Colorado Historical Society Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation
Publication #1522: Researching the History of Your House
Available to print as a PDF file. Serves as a basic guide to property research and contains some information specific to Denver.
Phone: 303-866-3395

The Colorado Historical Society maintains a listing of Colorado properties on the State Register and National Register of Historic Places.

Houses and Homes: Exploring Their History
Howe, Barbara, Dolores Fleming, Emory Kemp, and Ruth Overbeck. AltaMira Press

What kinds of things should I look for to discover more about my building’s past?

  • Look at the buildings nearby. Does your building fit into the same style category? Are the surrounding buildings very much like yours, or very different? Are the lots of uniform size or does your building occupy a larger lot? Do you have neighbors who have been in the neighborhood for many years? If so, they may know something about your building, or know others who do. Looking for clues about your building’s past can involve more than reviewing your abstract and researching old building permits. The true building detective is a Sherlock “Homes”, asking neighbors what and whom they know, closely examining old photographs (maybe neighbors have pictures of your building), tracking down previous owners and asking them for information. Look closely at your lot. Is there evidence of other buildings that may have been torn down? Look at the trees and shrubbery- do the plantings coincide with the present configuration of the building? Is there an alley behind the building? Did the property once contain a small barn or garage?
  • Look at your building. This may sound very “Elementary, my dear Watson”, but the value of looking at your building with an analytical eye cannot be stressed enough. Do you see changes in the exterior, such as different siding or siding that doesn’t line up? Do you see windows that are of different sizes and/or materials in odd places? Do you see changes in the flooring- Changes in the width, alignment, and type of flooring material? – Are there any areas that appear to have been patched in? Do you see different roofing materials in place, Rooflines that appear to have been added? Does the paint on the exterior vary in thickness or texture, suggesting that one area may have been painted more often than another? Does the placement of interior doors make sense? Are windows in the right places throughout the building? If not, perhaps rooms have been either opened up or divided. Are there changes in the foundation; have different materials been used in different areas? What do you see when you look ben eath the building – Places where floor joists have been “tied in” or cut? Varying sizes of lumber?
  • Learn about the way people lived and worked at the time your building was built, and from then until now. In homes and apartments, people used their living spaces differently than they do today. Stores, warehouses, factories, and other commercial building housed equipment, machinery, and even animals that were used in ways unfamiliar to us today. By learning about the buildings life throughout time, you will be able to discover more about how the building was designed and has been adapted.

How do I learn about Colorado history and the history of my community?

Begin by visiting your local library. Ask the librarian about local history and Colorado history collections. Collections such as these will vary in volume ranging from the extensive holdings at the Denver Public Library to modest collections in small towns. If your town has a local history museum, pay a visit and ask about local historical organizations you may wish to join.

The statewide historical organization is the Colorado Historical Society. Located in Denver, the Society manages the Colorado History Museum and additional sites throughout the state. Here you will also find the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.

Colorado Historical Society
1300 Broadway
Denver, CO 80203

How do I care for old objects?

As a historic preservation organization, Colorado Preservation, Inc. is primarily involved in the preservation of the built environment and landscapes. We recommend that you contact your local history museum and speak with their curators regarding the care of individual objects. You may also contact the Colorado Preservation Alliance.

Colorado Preservation Alliance

What hazardous materials should I be concerned about in my building?

The following is provided as information only. Before working with hazardous materials or in an environment containing potentially hazardous substances, consult a professional.

Asbestos: Commonly present in buildings built after 1870, buildings renovated since 1870, and additions to buildings made after 1870. Asbestos may be found in insulation, roofing materials, wallboard, flooring, chimneys, paint, plaster, wallpaper, exterior sheathing, and more. As material used widely and in a multitude of applications, it is wise to assume that asbestos is present in your building. Mesothelioma, is a lung cancer that may be caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.

The Environmental Protection Agency began issuing regulations for the safe handling of asbestos in 1973.
For the best information concerning asbestos, visit the EPA web site:

Lead: Lead was used extensively in paint until the mid 1900’s, and was outlawed for use in residential construction in 1978. As renovation activities disturb surfaces bearing lead based paints, chips and lead bearing dust may be ingested or inhaled, posing a significant health risk. Lead is also found in solder, roofing metals, piping, and other materials because of its waterproofing quality.

For information about lead contact:
Environmental Protection Agency

A helpful publication is available from:
The National Trust For Historic Preservation

Maintaining A Lead Safe Home
Livingston, Dennis. 1998,2000. Community Resources

Animal Matter: Present in the form of animal excrement including rodent droppings, urine, and bat and pigeon guano and feathers. Hantavirus is carried by rodent material and passed on to humans by inhaling airborne particles. Ornithosis, also known as psittacosis may be harbored in guano and carried by airborne particles into the respiratory system.

Care must be taken to protect workers from inhaling contaminated particles, and the skin should be kept covered . Wear dust masks, goggles, and rubber gloves. Skin and clothing should be washed with disinfectant soap after each contact with potentially contaminated material. For details on clean up and working in a contaminated environment, contact:

Colorado Dept. of Public Health

For information on hantavirus see:

Radon: Radon is a radioactive gas produced by the decay of radium. It is harmful when inhaled and is known be a cause of lung cancer.

Radon test kits are available at hardware stores, or you may contact an environmental contractor for more extensive testing. Radon may accumulate in basements and crawl spaces and where ventilation is poor.

Contact your local building department for more information on radon in your community.

Underground Storage Tanks: (UTS) Generally fuel storage tanks, they are likely to develop leaks after 15 years. For help in detecting tanks, you will need to research the prior use of your building (consult your local library for historical resources) and contact your building department for permit history.

For information on monitoring and eliminating USTs, contact:
Environmental Protection Agency

General reference:
Coping With Contamination: A Primer for Preservationists
Andrews, Carol. National Trust for Historic Preservation

How do I find architects and contractors to work on my historic building?

Colorado Preservation, Inc. does not act as a referral agency. We are happy to offer the following advice for those seeking out professionals to complete their projects.

You might begin by talking with owners of historic properties in your area that have recently undergone preservation and/or rehabilitation work. Their experiences and recommendations will be very helpful to you when the time comes to hire an architect and builder.

You may call architectural firms and ask if they have an architect on staff with experience in working on historic properties like yours.

Always check past work: Did the project come in on time and on budget? Is the owner pleased? What problems occurred and how were they solved? Were there any unexpected setbacks that were especially troublesome? Were you able to communicate well with the architect and the general contractor? Would you hire these people again?

The Colorado Historical Society Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation maintains the Directory of Cultural Resource Management Agencies, Consultants, and Personnel for Colorado. You may access this information by going to:
go to Publications, Most Requested Documents, #1502

I know of a building that may be threatened by neglect or development. What can I do to protect it?

In a case where you are not the owner of the building, you will want to determine who the owner is and what the plans are for the property. Then you may proceed to find out more:

  • Find out if the building is in a designated historic district by contacting your city’s planning department.
  • Talk with those who own neighboring buildings in order to “take the pulse” of the area.
  • If you want to mobilize support to protect the building, contact the local historical society and/or museum. Find out who is interested in protecting old buildings in the community and contact them.

Books and publications of interest include:

Organizing for Change
Gary, Grace. National Trust for Historic Preservation

Rescuing Historic Resources: How to Respond to a Preservation Emergency
National Trust for Historic Preservation

Protecting America’s Historic Neighborhoods: Taming the Teardown Trend
Fine, Adrian Scott and Jim Lindberg. National Trust for Historic Preservation

Getting to Know Your 20th Century Neighborhood
Terrell, Greta. National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation
see: “Help from the National Trust”

The Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Development Association, and similar organizations may have an interest in preserving the building. Give them a call.

You may want to learn more about preserving historic downtowns and heritage areas. Good sources are:

National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street Center

National Trust for Historic Preservation

Colorado Community Revitalization Association

Colorado Preservation, Inc.
Most Endangered Places List.

Information about protecting specific kinds of buildings, lands, and places, is available at the following:

Barns, Farms, Ranch Buildings

Centennial Farms: Colorado Centennial Farms
Colorado Historical society Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation
go to: “Program Areas”

Barn Again!
National Trust for Historic Preservation

Using Old Farm Buildings
Humstone, Mary. National Trust for Historic Preservation

Barn Again! A Guide to the Rehabilitation of Older Farm Buildings
Humstone, Mary. National Trust for Historic Preservation and Meredith Publishing


Theatre Historical Society of America

League of Historic American Theatres

Curtain Up: New Life for Historic Theatres
Hautaluoma, Grey. National Trust for Historic Preservation

Land, Landscapes, Rural Heritage Areas, Roads

Colorado Open Lands

Trust for Public Land

The Nature Conservancy

The Conservation Fund

Colorado Historical Society
Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation

Colorado Department of Transportation
Scenic and Historic Byways

National Park Service, Historic Landscape Initiative
Heritage Preservation Services

National Center for Preservation Technology & Training

Guidelines for Evaluating and Documenting Rural Historic Landscapes
National Register Bulletin, National Park Service


Community Guide to Saving Older Schools.
Rubman, Kerri. National Trust for Historic Preservation


Historic Denver, Inc.

Partners for Sacred Places

Conservation of Urban Religious Properties.
Nezel, Anne. National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Cemeteries & Burial Grounds

Contact your local law enforcement agency if vandalism is the problem. If development is the issue, contact your local planning department. If you are concerned about the neglect of a property, contact the planning department to learn who is responsible for the care of the property.

A Graveyard Preservation Primer.
Strangstad, Lynette. American Association for State and Local History Books.

Preservation of Historic Burial Grounds.
Strangstad, Lynette. National Trust for Historic

What do I do if I find bones?

If the bones are human or if you don’t know if they are human or not, immediately contact your local law enforcement agency. Do not touch the remains or disturb the site. Critical information may be gleaned from the location and condition of the site, and materials in the vicinity.

What about ancient bones such as dinosaur or mammoth?

Again, do not disturb the site. Contact a paleontologist. You may contact a one of the State Universities, or go to the Colorado Historical Society web site for a listing of paleontologists.

What if I find arrowheads or Native American artifacts such as pottery?

Once more, do not disturb the site! Resist the temptation to pick the item up, then call the Colorado Historical Society Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation.(303-866-4671) Professional archeologists will want to know about your find and will be grateful you contacted them first.

It is illegal to collect arrowheads and other artifacts from public lands.

What is the Main Street Program?

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Center works in partnership with communities to revitalize downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. To learn more about the Main Street Center, go to:

The Colorado Community Revitalization Association is the local contact for the Main Street program in Colorado. Visit their site at

What makes a building historic?

Buildings, neighborhoods, and landscapes are often thought of as being historic solely because they are old. Does that mean that all old places should be protected and preserved? The decision to protect historic places rests in the meaning they bring to our lives as places that define and mark our history. For example, a building may be historic because it was designed by a well- known architect or was the first county courthouse or is the place where a significant event occurred. A building may also be historic because it signifies patterns of settlement and trade, incorporated local materials and methods in construction, or because it is typical of the time. Because there are so many factors in determining what is historic, you may want to learn about federal, state, and local interpretations and guidelines.

The following sources will be helpful:

National Trust for Historic Preservation: Why Preserve?
What Does Historic Mean, Anyway?

National Park Service, The National Register of Historic Places
See especially:
About The Register
Listing a Property: What Are The Criteria For Listing?
How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation

Colorado Historical Society, Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation
See especially:
Publication #1414: How to Nominate a Property to the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties: Section IV Significance of the Property
Publication #1501: Information on the National Register of Historic Places and the Colorado State register of Historic Properties

Contact the planning department of your town or city to learn about local historic building and neighborhood designations.

I’m thinking about buying an old house and restoring it. What kinds of things should I know before I buy?

Congratulations! You’ll be joining the thousands of Americans who are doing their part to preserve and protect our history as it is evidenced by the built environment. Before you sign on the dotted line then rush over to Home Depot to buy a crow bar, SawzAll, and order new insulated windows, take time to research both the building and how it fits into the historic preservation plan for your town. You’ll want to know if there are any restrictions on what you can do to the building, any economic incentives for restoration, and if your neighborhood has ordinances to control demolition and remodeling of existing structures. Are you planning to enlarge the house? Can the house next door be razed and a tract mansion squeezed onto the lot, obscuring your views and overwhelming your house? As in most cases with historic preservation work, hindsight is twenty-twenty and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Help from the National Trust: Getting Started

Buyer’s Guide to Older and Historic Houses
Wagner, Richard, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Washington, DC.

Local Planning and Zoning Office

What is The National Register of Historic Places?

As defined by National Register Bulletin 16A, ” The National Register is the official Federal list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture. These contribute to an understanding of the historical and cultural foundations of the Nation.The National Preservation Act of 1966 (Public Law 89-665) authorized the National Register of Historic Places, expanding Federal recognition to historic properties of local and State significance.”

The Register is under the administration of The National Park Service.

Will listing on The National Register regulate, limit, or in any way affect what I may do to my property?

  • Private property owners can do anything they wish with their property, provided that no Federal license, permit, or funding is involved.
  • Owners have no obligation to open their properties to the public, to restore, them, or even to maintain them, if they chose not to.
  • Federal agencies whose projects affect a listed property must give the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation an opportunity to comment on the project and its effects on the property.”

Source: Pamphlet: My Property is Important To America’s Heritage: What Does That Mean? Answers to Questions for Owners of Historic Properties. National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service.

To learn more about the National Register, see:

National Register of Historic Places
National Park Service
About The Register
Listing A Property
How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation

What kinds of historic designations are there and how do they work? Will designation prevent me from changing my property?

Historic designations occur at the National, State, and Local level:


  • National Register of Historic Places (see: What is The National Register of Historic Places?) Listing in the National Register or eligibility for the Register is an element in obtaining Federal preservation tax credits, considerations for Section 106 Review, and other Federal and State programs.
  • National Historic Landmarks: These are properties of great national significance. A list of places is proposed annually by the National Park Service and those chosen are designated by the Department of the Interior.
  • National Historic Landmarks are sometimes private property. The property owner must consent to the designation.
  • “There are no Federal designations that place Federal restrictions on private property owners.”

Source: Pamphlet: My Property is Important to America’s Heritage. What Does That Mean? Answers to Questions for Owners of Historic Properties. National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service.


  • Colorado State Register of Historic Properties like the National Register, the State Register does not regulate what property owners may do with their listed property. Designation at the state level aids in securing state tax incentives and participation in state grant-in-aid programs.


  • Local designations such as Historic Districts and Landmarks exist in thousands of towns and cities across the nation and many in Colorado. With local support, cities may designate certain areas as historic districts, contributing to the unique character of the town. Cities may also choose to designate landmarks particular to their community’s history. Private, non-profit groups also may designate local landmarks, but these are without municipal involvement.
  • It is at the local level that regulations on what owners may do to their properties are most present. Through preservation ordinances cities may control changes to historic buildings such as alterations and demolition, and new construction within the district. Generally, a review board or commission considers proposed changes. In other cases, requests are processed through the zoning department.
  • If you are considering purchasing, changing, or demolishing a property, it is wise to first contact your local planning department.
  • If you would like to learn more about how designations and ordinances work and how to encourage your city to adopt a historic preservation program, you may consult Index to Historic Preservation Ordinances in Colorado available at Colorado Preservation Inc., available January 2004.

What is The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties?

Simply put, this is a set of guidelines for the treatment of historic properties. Officially, it is The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring, and Reconstructing Historic Buildings. For anyone taking part in preservation, this is a must-read, as it acts as a concrete philosophical orientation to the preservation of structures. The Standards are not prescriptive; rather, they are a helpful set of tools for responsible historic preservation activities.

When a historic preservation project is funded in part by the National Historic Preservation Fund and/or state preservation funds, it is expected that the Secretary of the Interiors Standards will be consulted, a treatment chosen, and the guidelines followed.

“It should be understood that the Standards are a series of concepts about maintaining, repairing and replacing historic materials, as well as designing new additions or making alterations; as such, they cannot, in and of themselves, be used to make essential decisions about which features or a historic property should be saved and which might be changed. But once an appropriate treatment is selected, the Standards provide philosophical consistency to the work.”
Source: Historic Preservation Services, National Park Service, Technical Preservation Services for Historic Buildings.

For more information, see:

National Park Service

What’s the difference between preservation, rehabilitation, and restoration, and reconstruction?

These four approaches to historic buildings are defined in the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

Preservation: places a high premium on the retention of all historic fabric through conservation, maintenance, and repair. It respects a building’s continuum over time, and through successive occupancies, and the respectful changes and alterations that are made.

Rehabilitation: emphasizes the retention and repair of historic materials, but more latitude is provided for replacement because it is assumed the property is more deteriorated prior to work.

Restoration: focuses on the retention of materials from the most significant time in a property’s history, while permitting the removal of materials from other periods.

Reconstruction: establishes limited opportunities to re-create a non-surviving site, landscape, building, structure, or object in all new materials.

Source: National Park Service: The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, Introduction ” Choosing an Appropriate Treatment for the Historic Building”

see also: Introduction: Using the Standards and Guidelines for a Preservation, Rehabilitation, Restoration, or Reconstruction Project.”

Another excellent source for information on this topic is the Historic Preservation Services, National Park Service, Technical Preservation Services for Historic Buildings:

Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties
This source provides helpful information for choosing a treatment and the scope of work involved in each.

What kinds of financial incentives are there for preserving or rehabilitating a property?

Tax incentives are designed to promote restoration, rehabilitation, and preservation of historic structures.

A 20% reduction in the amount of income tax owed is available to owners of properties meeting specific criteria. In brief, the property must be income producing (i.e. owner occupied residential structures are not eligible) and listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, or a contributing building to a National Register District. Work must follow the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for rehabilitation, be approved by the State Historic Preservation Officer, the National Park Service, and the IRS.

A 10% reduction in the amount of income tax owed is available to owners of historic properties meeting less stringent criteria than the 20% tax credit. This 10% credit is available for properties that are not eligible for the National Register and are not considered contributing to a historic district. The building must be income producing, built before 1936, and reviewed by the IRS.

For details on Federal and State Programs, see:

Colorado Historical Society Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation
Investment Tax Credit Program Information
Investment Tax Credit Program Information

Federal Programs see:

A Guide to Tax-Advantaged Rehabilitation
Boyle, Jayne F., Stuart Ginsberg, and Sally G. Oldham. National Trust for Historic Preservation

Grants, Tax Credit and Other Assistance
National Park Service Links to the Past

The State of Colorado offers a 20% reduction in the amount of state income tax owed by owners of historic properties engaged in preservation. Unlike the federal tax credit, these properties do not have to be income producing.

For details on eligibility, fees, and criteria, see:
Colorado Historical Society Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, Publication #1322b

Colorado Historic Preservation Income Tax Credit Information
Available on the web site:
See Publications, Most Frequently Requested, #1322b

Local incentives for historic preservation range from low-interest loans, reduced permit and building fees, to design assistance. To find out if your city has financial incentives or professional quality help available, contact your local planning office.

There are several low-interest rate mortgage programs designed to encourage historic preservation. Some are available to both homeowners and businesses. Ask your mortgage lender about the 203(k) Mortgage Rehabilitation Insurance Program, and other mortgage incentives, or go to:

The Colorado Historical Foundation offers low interest mortgage loans to properties that have received funding through the State Historical Fund. For more information, visit:

Tax incentives exist to promote certain kinds of preservation projects, such as the rehabilitation of historic structures for low-income housing. To find out more, contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development at:

What is a Certified Local Government? (CLG)

A Certified Local Government is one that has developed a local preservation ordinance which meets standards established by the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service. CLG’s participate in guiding historic preservation actions and planning locally according to nationally recognized standards. They are members of a professional organization promoting historic preservation by responding to the community’s individual needs, developing unique funding opportunities, creating long-range plans with historic preservation as a key element, and by providing a high level of expertise to those who seek their assistance. Certain federal grant programs are available only to CLG’s.

To learn more about Certified Local Governments, see:

Historic Preservation Services, National Park Service
Certified Local Government program
CLG Questions and Answers

To learn which cities in Colorado are CLG’s, and more about CLG’s in Colorado, go to the Colorado Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation web site, Certified Local Government section:

What’s new in historic preservation legislation and how can I help?

For information regarding state legislation, see the Colorado Preservation, Inc. web site, and click on “Public Policy” Or you may call the office at 303-893-4260.

For information on Federal legislation, see:
Preservation Action
1054 31st St. NW Suite 526
Washington, DC 20007

Preservation Action is a non-profit preservation lobby. Their web site provides information regarding current and proposed legislation, advice for lobbying, and profiles of state and district representatives.

What is Heritage Tourism?

As defined by The National Trust for Historic Preservation, “Cultural heritage tourism is traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present. It includes cultural, historic, and natural resources.”

Colorado is blessed with an abundance of breathtaking scenery and a multitude of historic environments for visitors to enjoy. A trip on the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a visit to Enos Mills Cabin during a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park, a ride on the Kit Carson Carousel in Burlington, an overnight stay at the historic Jerome Hotel in Aspen are all ways in which visitors enjoy and experience Colorado’s unique and dramatic history.

Heritage tourism is a growing industry. “According to a 2003 study by the Travel Industry Association of America, 81% of U.S. Adult travelers in 2002 incorporated a heritage or cultural activity into their trip. Heritage and cultural travelers consistently stay longer and spend more money than other types of U.S. traveler, averaging $623 per trip versus $475 per trip for other U.S. travelers. They have a greater respect for the places they visit and are less likely to have a negative impact on heritage resources. Heritage tourism is a powerful tool to bring preservation and economic development together.”
Source: Opportunities in Heritage Tourism. Amy Jordan Webb, National Trust heritage tourism program director. Colorado Preservationist, vol.17, no.3, Autumn 2003.

Cultural heritage tourism contributes to Colorado’s economy by generating revenue, creating new jobs, and proving opportunities for small business. Revitalized historic main street areas throughout Colorado draw shoppers who enjoy the ambience of historic settings over cookie-cutter malls. Heritage tourism provides both a stimulus and a reward for historic preservation.

To learn more, see:

National Trust for Historic Preservation
Heritage Tourism

on Rural Heritage Tourism, go to:

What is a Preservation Easement?

“A preservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement that protects a significant historic, archaeological, or cultural resource. An easement provides assurance to the owner of a historic or cultural property that the property’s intrinsic values will be preserved through subsequent ownership.”
Source: Historic Preservation Easements: A Historic Preservation Tool with Federal Tax Benefits. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, National Center for Cultural Stewardship & Partnerships. Heritage Preservation Services, Technical Preservation Services, Washington, D.C.

By donating an easement to a charitable organization, the owner may realize a charitable deduction on Federal income tax and may link the donation to Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Incentives.

To learn more see the publication listed above, available from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Heritage Preservation Services:

National Register Bulletin Guidelines for Local Surveys: A Basis for Preservation Planning. Appendix III: Legal and Financial Tools Used to Preserve and Enhance Historic Resources

Help from the National Trust: Easements for Protecting Historic Homes

Colorado Historical Foundation
Preservation Easements Program
see: Foundations Purpose, click on ‘more on easements’.

Establishing an Easement Program to Protect Historic, Scenic, and Natural Resources. Watson, Elizabeth. National trust for Historic Preservation

What is Section 106 Review?

The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (1980) established a national preservation program. Section 106 of the NHPA requires federal agencies to evaluate the effects of their activities on historic resources that are eligible for or listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Federal agencies work with the State Historic Preservation Officer to assess the impact of the proposed work on the historical resource, consider the concerns of all interested parties, and request the opinion of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Generally, a Memorandum of Agreement, a legally binding document, which identifies the specific actions the federal agency will take to mitigate or avoid damage to the resource, is issued.
Source: Preservation Yellow Pages, Revised Edition. Zagars, Julie, ed. 1997,National Trust For Historic Preservation, Preservation Press, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York.

Section 106 allows citizens to voice their concerns for the historic resource to the Federal government. A planning tool, Section 106 does not mandate action; rather, it requires that historic preservation be considered in federal projects just as are environmental considerations.

To learn more about Section 106 Review, see:

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
Working with Section 106

The Citizens Guide to Section 106 Review
Section 106 Regulations: Users Guides

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 109
Washington, DC 20004

Colorado Historical Society

Federal Planning and Historic Places: The Section 106 Process. King, Thomas F., Alta Mira Press.

What is Section 4(f)?

Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act “governs actions undertaken by the Department of Transportation that affect historic and cultural properties, as well as parklands, recreational areas, and wildlife and waterfowl refuges. The secretary may not proceed with a project unless ‘there is no feasible and prudent alternative’ and then only if the project ‘includes all possible planning to minimize harm to such.historic site resulting from such use.'”
Source: Preservation Yellow Pages, Zagars, Julie, ed. 1997, John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

To learn more, see:

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

What is TEA-21 and why is it important for Historic Preservation?

The Transportation Equity Act for the Twenty-First Century of 1998 (TEA-21) is important to historic preservation because it allows for “transportation enhancement activities” in respect to areas served by the transportation project. In addition to providing facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists, scenic beautification, environmental enhancements and preservation, TEA-21 provides for the “acquisition of scenic easements and scenic or historic sites, scenic or historic highway programs,(including the provision of tourism and welcome center facilities), landscaping and other scenic beautification, historic preservation, rehabilitation and operation of historic transportation buildings, structures, or facilities (including historic railroad buildings, structures, or facilities ( including historic railroad facilities and canals), preservation of abandoned railway corridors..archaeological planning and research. and the establishment of transportation museums.”
Source: Final Guidance Transportation Enhancement Activities 23 U.S.C. and TEA-21, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, December 17, 1999

TEA-21 is up for renewal in 2004. Visit

To learn more, see:

National Park Service History: Online Books
go to: Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991

Building on the Past, Traveling to the Future

How Does Preservation Help the Economy?

Absolutely! In the simplest terms, historic preservation creates jobs and the demand for labor and materials, revitalizes historic downtowns thus generating tax revenues, increases property values, provides opportunities for affordable housing, and generates millions of dollars in heritage tourism. (see What Is Heritage Tourism?) The State Historical Fund, established in 1990, disburses a percentage of sales tax revenue generated by limited-stakes gambling to preservation projects throughout the state. Colorado’s investment in historic preservation pays off in a multitude of ways: providing jobs, fostering a sense of place, protecting and rehabilitating historic resources, promoting our history, and safe-guarding our past. Protecting and preserving Colorado’s heritage is both good for the soul and the economy!

The Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation in Colorado, published by the Colorado Historical Foundation provides through and fascinating details of the economic success of historic preservation in Colorado.
click on “link to economic report online”

How do I get grants for my historic structure?

In Colorado, most people immediately think of the very successful grant programs of the State Historical Fund as a source of money for their historic preservation projects. Bear in mind, grants are made only to public and non-profit entities.

To learn about funding for homes, see:

Funding for Rehabilitating a Historic Home
National Trust for Historic Preservation

The Colorado Historical Society Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation has through information on State grant programs on their web site. See:

For a guide to information on Federal historic preservation support, see The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation site: Sources of Financial Assistance for Historic Preservation Projects.

National Park Service, Heritage Preservation Services
Grants, Tax Credit, and Other Assistance

Save America’s Treasures Grant Applications

Historic Preservation Fund
These funds are administered through a partnership between the National Park Service and the states through State Historic Preservation Offices.

While a vast array of grants is available to public and non-profit organizations, few are available for private homeowners. Homeowners benefit most from state rehabilitation tax credits, local programs such as low-interest loans, and mortgage programs that favor historic buildings (203(k). There are also grant programs for specific kinds of structures such as railroad depots and farms, and for activities such as historic resource surveys and inventories.

Donate to CPI

We hope you will extend your appreciation for Colorado's past into an investment in its future by making a tax-deductible gift today.

Featured Project

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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