Former Colorado State University historic preservation instructor John Albright used to gather his graduate students around a conference table and pose a single hypothetical question. "As the executive director of a historic site with multiple periods of significance," he said, implying that his students would find employment someday, "how would you choose a specific period to preserve and interpret?" Suspecting a trick question, some students covered their bets and answered, "I would choose to preserve and interpret all of the periods." If the seminar had been a game show, a buzzer would have sounded, a red light would have flashed, and Albright would have shouted "Wrong!" But his seminars were civilized give-and-take conversations between educated people, so there were no buzzers or flashing lights. But John Albright knew how to run a seminar. He simply said, "Explain your answer with an example. You have two minutes."
On September 10, 1945, Lloyd Olsen established the allegorical and philosophical inspiration for a future historic preservation movement in the Western Slope town of Fruita by chopping the head off a chicken named Mike. Readers of this publication, accustomed to finding well-reasoned articles about exemplary historic preservation projects on this page, may doubt this hypothesis. Be patient; it'll come.
“In Colorado, water flows uphill, toward money.” That old saying—repeated often among the state’s lawyers and politicians—reflects the fact that most of Colorado’s precipitation falls as snow on the Western Slope, but eighty percent of the state’s population resides east of the Continental Divide. As early as the 1880s, some eastern slope folks began discussing ways to divert the water east, over the divide, and into irrigation ditches and municipal water systems. That dream became reality in the basement of the Greeley Tribune building in downtown Greeley.