Press Release

History Colorado Honors Excellence in Historic Preservation and Archaeology at the 2022 Stephen H. Hart Awards

Five community projects across Colorado honored for innovation.

DENVER, Colo (April 20, 2022)─History Colorado and historic preservationists from around the state celebrated the winners of its 2022 Stephen H. Hart Awards for Historic Preservation last night at a ceremony in Denver. Since 1986, History Colorado’s State Historic Preservation Office has honored those preservation and archaeology projects that exemplify the best practices and achievements in impactful preservation of Colorado’s archaeology and built environment.

Five projects received accolades, including the prestigious Governor’s Award. The honorees were presented awards at a gala evening ceremony attended by Governor Jared Polis at the History Colorado Center on April 19. The evening was emceed by CBS4 news anchor Mekialaya White and sponsored by the law firm of Holland and Hart.

Winning projects were nominated by History Colorado leadership, including the offices of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and the State Historical Fund. Recipients were selected for their contributions to advancing the preservation field through the research and application of innovative preservation techniques. The awards, presented since 1986 and named after the state’s first Historic Preservation Officer, went to the following winners:

The Wright Opera House receives the Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation.
The Wright Opera House is located in the historic mining town of Ouray, Colorado. The building was erected in 1888 to serve as a source of entertainment for the locals aside from the normal saloons and gambling halls. In its long history of serving the community, the building has gone from serving as an automatic garage and apartments to being renovated as a public gathering space. Throughout these changes it has held the original integrity of the opera house space on the second floor.  The Friends of the Wright Opera House continue to actively use the space for community events and performances. It is one of the oldest existing opera houses in the state. 

Awardee:  Friends of the Wright Opera House

The Haycamp Mesa Cultural Historic Landscape receives the
State Archaeologist’s Award.
Haycamp Mesa, in the San Juan National Forest near Dolores, was the home to Hispanic and Basque shepherds in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, who left their mark on the landscape through stock trails, travel routes, campsites, and aspen tree art. The historic travel routes were vital in the development of ranching and mining in the area and converge within the project area, just above the confluence of Bear Creek and the Dolores River. The roads are among the earliest in southwestern Colorado. They have provided transportation links for agricultural products out of the Montezuma Valley Region, and supplied goods to Rico mining camps. The routes are lined with historic arborglyphs that document decades of use beginning in around 1880 and continuing into contemporary times.

Awardees:  Michelle Stevens from the San Juan National Forest and Woods Canyon Archaeological Consultants

The La Alma Lincoln Park Historic Cultural District receives the State Historic Preservation Officer Award.
The La Alma Lincoln Park Historic Cultural District is the first in Denver, and one of the first nationally, to be designated specifically for an association with the Chicano/a Movement. The first buildings date to the 1870s, when the area served as home to a thriving working class immigrant neighborhood. During the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, La Alma Lincoln Park became central to Denver's Chicano/a Movement. The community-driven five year process to nominate and designate the area as a Historic Cultural District made it just the second such one in Denver and now serves as a national model. The District encompasses 194 properties and one of Denver's oldest neighborhoods.The District has a unique character due to the evolution of the area and the mixed culture of those living there.

Awardees:  Historic Denver, Inc., Denver Landmarking and neighborhood advocates including Felix Herzog and Cathy Prieto: 

The African American Travel and Recreation Resource Survey receives the History Colorado Board Award.
The History Colorado Board of Directors is honored to present their inaugural Director Award to a partnership that pulled together the African American Travel and Recreation Resource Survey Plan. This survey documents the history of Colorado travel and recreation sites that helped to form a nationwide network of resilience created by Black businesses and travelers in the face of racism, segregation and sun-down towns. Denver-based author of "Overground Railroad" and Green Book expert Candacy Taylor has noted  that, of the businesses across the country that were listed in these types of travel resources, fewer than 5% of those are still in operation. This underscores the urgency of this documentation. This Colorado-based survey documented 280 properties and just over 50% of those are still intact. Surveys like this are an important step in documenting this essential American and Colorado history and preserving these places so they can continue to tell this story.

Awardees:  The Colorado Historical Foundation, Front Range Research Associates, Judge Gary Jackson, Elvin Caldwell Jr., and, Steve Shephard

The Haynie Site receives the People’s Choice Award.
The Haynie Site is a Chaco-outlier representing Ancestral Puebloan life in two Great Houses, among other associated features. The site lends to the story of the tribes that have made the southwest corner of the state their home.Further, the site, which was once privately owned and looted for artifacts to sell on the black market, was rescued as a result of the coordinated efforts of Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, The Archaeological Conservancy (which purchased it), and the State Historical Fund (SHF). An SHF grant led to the confirmation that the site retained intact archaeological deposits and the potential to expand what is known about the Ancestral Puebloans. Today Haynie is not only the site of cutting edge research and public education, it is also being preserved for the education of future generations.

Awardees:  The Crow Canyon Archaelogical Center and The Archaeological Conservancy


Video showcasing more information about the winners are available at 

About History Colorado
History Colorado is a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and a 501(c)3 non-profit that has served more than 75,000 students and 500,000 people in Colorado each year. It is a 142-year-old institution that operates Colorado’s oldest museum, ten additional museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, and the History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF), which is the nation’s largest preservation program of its kind. More than 70% of SHF grants are allocated in rural areas of the state.

History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. We serve as the state’s memory, preserving and sharing the places, stories, and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, collecting, outreach to Colorado communities, the History Colorado Center and Stephen H. Hart Research Center in Denver, and nine other museums and historic attractions statewide. History Colorado is one of only six Smithsonian Affiliates in Colorado. Visit, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.