State Historical Fund Awards More Than $296,000 in Grant Funding for Preservation Projects
DENVER — November 10, 2022 — History Colorado’s State Historical Fund awarded $296,377 in competitive grant funding to eight applicants across seven different counties in the state of Colorado earlier this month. Over three-quarters of the award amount impacts rural Colorado and two grants directly assist Hispano/Hispanic communities in the San Luis Valley.
303.886.3670 | firstname.lastname@example.org
This round of grants, known as Mini Grants, allows Colorado communities to request up to $50,000 to support preservation and archaeology projects that save the places and stories they cherish. Since 1981 preservation projects in Colorado have created more than 27,000 jobs and generated a total of nearly $3.9 billion in direct and indirect economic impacts, adding $2.2 billion to Colorado’s GDP.
The projects for this round of Mini Grants range from repair and rehabilitation of Coke Ovens near Glenwood Springs to planning and facilitating the transition of the historic Hayden Ranch in Lake County to a preservation-focused owner and steward.
Colorado Preservation, Inc. was awarded $49,500 towards stabilizing the San Luis Bank building in San Luis. Plans include hiring a local company to shore up deteriorating roofs and walls. Stabilization is the first step in the process of planned rehabilitation of the San Luis Bank which was purchased by local businesswoman, Ronda Lobato.
Lobato’s plans include restoring this historic building and converting it into affordable housing to address a shortage in her community, as well as providing retail and commercial space that could serve a variety of needs in Colorado’s oldest incorporated town. Restoration of the San Luis Bank building will allow community members to live and shop in San Luis rather than having to go to nearby communities which removes money from the town’s economy.
“Many in our community live in outlying areas because of the lack of housing in San Luis, once again spending monies for living expenses, food, and entertainment in other communities and impacting our cost of living in San Luis,” Lobato said in her application. “This is a vicious circle which is severely impacting the Town of San Luis and our Hispano residents.”
Preservation work being done at the San Luis Bank is part of a larger revitalization effort by private individuals in the community. This group of private owners is hopeful that State Historical Fund grants will provide an avenue to maintaining the unique character of San Luis for future generations while also providing economic and housing opportunities for its current residents.
The San Luis Bank building is a touchstone of the community that contributed to the commercial growth of the Hispano/Hispanic community which makes up the majority population of San Luis.This building dates back to 1892 when it was constructed to manage monies generated by the local grain mill. Eventually failing in the 1930s during the Great Depression, the bank was purchased by an immigrant family who converted it into a department store which operated until the 1980s.
Colorado Preservation, Inc., on behalf of private owners, intends to apply for future State Historical Fund grants to pay for the creation of construction documents that will allow for rehabilitation efforts to begin on the San Luis Bank. Future work will be performed by a general contractor who hires local tradespeople.
Another notable grant from this round is the $42,599 awarded to the Association of St. Agnes Catholic Community to create architectural drawings and plans that will allow contractors to rehabilitate the St. Agnes Parish Hall so it can be used by the local Catholic community.
St. Agnes Parish Hall was constructed in Saguache in the 1880s and served as a meeting place for the community until it was closed in 2021 due to a water line break that damaged walls, flooring, and electrical wiring in the parish.
Closing this building has severely impacted the local Catholic community, which is predominantly Hispano, who no longer has access to this local cultural linchpin.
“This is where we celebrate rites of passage, personal accomplishments, grieve the loss of our community members, share a cup of coffee and meal, and play bingo. This is the largest meeting place in town, we open our doors in times of crisis, freely give food, comfort, and advice during tragic and stressful times,” said Toni Mondragon, president of the Association of St. Agnes Catholic Community.
When the Parish Hall closed, the local community lost a place for youth and elders to interact and learn about the culture and heritage of the San Luis Valley’s Hispano community. The Catholic church in Saguache also lost a place to conduct outreach in the community.
“The Parish Hall, through our activities, festivals, and access, contributes to this outreach and we feel that we have lost touch with our parishioners and our community,” said Mondragon. “This is how a church dies. We desperately need our Parish Hall to reopen for the sake of our Church, our mission, and our community."
St. Agnes Catholic Community hopes the restoration of the Parish Hall will allow for an revitalization of the civil and social well-being that comes from the church, which provides meals, clothing, and other social services needed by the community.
Assisting communities in preserving local institutions, such as the Parish Hall and San Luis Bank building, is a crucial aspect of History Colorado’s organizational goals.
"State Historical Fund is a key part of History Colorado efforts to invest in the prosperity of rural Colorado by preserving key local assets that fuel the vibrancy of Colorado's beloved communities," said Dawn DiPrince, History Colorado’s Executive Director and State Historic Preservation Officer. "This latest round of grants, particularly the St. Agnes Parish Hall and San Luis Bank projects, really speak to how important preservation work can serve as building blocks in solving broader community challenges."
In addition to this round of Mini Grants, the State Historical Fund will award General Grants in December. These larger grants fund similar preservation projects but range from $50,001-$250,000. Both the Mini Grants and the General Grants are awarded in the spring and fall annually. Additionally the State Historical Fund has a series of non-competitive grants that are awarded on a rolling basis and can provide up to $15,000 in funding.
Additional information about State Historical Fund grants and application materials can be found at historycolorado.org/apply-here.
History Colorado’s State Historical Fund awards grants funded by limited stakes gaming in the towns of Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek for preservation of significant buildings, structures, objects, districts, and archaeology sites in Colorado.
A full list of projects funded by the SHF can be found at historycolorado.org/state-historical-fund.
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 143-year-old institution that operates eleven 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 one of the nation’s largest state-funded preservation programs 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 ten other museums and historic attractions statewide. History Colorado is one of only six Smithsonian Affiliates in Colorado. Visit HistoryColorado.org, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.