Press Release

History Colorado’s State Historical Fund Issues $4.5 Million in Grants to Preserve Colorado

Many of the projects funded focus on diversifying historic preservation efforts and supporting rural prosperity

DENVER — December, 13, 2022 — History Colorado’s State Historical Fund awarded more than $4.5 million on Dec. 1 in its second round of General Grants for 2022. This funding is distributed amongst 23 grant awardees from across Colorado with a focus on protecting the rich cultural heritage of communities of color in rural Colorado and diversifying the face of historic preservation for future generations.

Luke Perkins
303.866.3670 | 

“The State Historical Fund continues to push forward with ensuring preservation efforts better represent the diverse makeup of the Centennial State,” said Patrick Eidman, Chief Preservation Officer and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer. “These grants truly are a manifestation of History Colorado’s dedication to investing in the prosperity of rural communities, expanding the diversity of histories being preserved, and promoting the creation of a more diverse workforce to lead preservation efforts in the future.”

With this round of grants the State Historical Fund has awarded a total of $6,802,035 for preservation work in 2022. In addition to helping protect the stories and places Coloradans cherish, funds awarded to preservation projects have a direct effect on the economic health of the Centennial State. Since 1981 preservation efforts 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.

Most of the grants awarded in this round support the acquisition and development of historical places but projects range from the rehabilitation of the roof of a historic school in the Northeast corner of the state to funding a preservation conference in 2024. A complete list of projects funded in this round of grants can be found here.

Highlighted Projects:

Manzanola United Methodist Church | Manzanola, CO
Manzanola United Methodist Church in Manzanola, CO was awarded $250,000 towards the creation of construction documents and rehabilitation of the exterior of the building.

Located in Otero County in southeast Colorado, the Manzanola United Methodist Church was constructed in 1908 for the local congregation who worshiped out of a local elementary school since 1893. In 1915 the church took on a whole new life when it became the heart of a Black homesteader community known as The Dry, which was one of two such settlements in Colorado, the other being Dearfield in Northeast Colorado.

The Manzanola church became an essential center of community for The Dry and the congregation grew due to the Black homesteaders. Over the years the history of The Dry and the church became intertwined and this locally designated landmark is the only remaining structural touchstone of the historical homesteading community.

“It is an understatement to say the Methodist Church is significant for its role in the Manzanola community and association with the history and families of The Dry,” said Alice McDonald, financial secretary of the Manzanola United Methodist Church and former resident of The Dry. ”The Manzanola United Methodist Church is the only standing structure remaining to tell the story of The Dry, the African American pioneers of Otero County, and their spirituality and commitment to community.”

While the church helps to tell the story of The Dry, and is an important resource of Black Coloradans History and Heritage, years of deterioration have taken a toll on the building. It recently had to cease renting some spaces for community functions. This included shuttering a daycare center based out of the basement which helped meet the childcare needs of the 435 Coloradans who call Manzanola home.

Following recommendations from a 2021 historic structure assessment, the grant will fund the initial phase of an ongoing project to rehabilitate the historic church into a facility that once again meets the needs of the community and serves as a gathering place for homesteader descendants and their extended families.

This phase will include temporary patching of the roof and exterior rehabilitation of wooden elements of the church. Furthermore it will serve as an inspiration for other applicants who have historically not seen their histories preserved. 

“Preservation of the Manzanola United Methodist Church will help spread the message that preservation is for all Americans, including those of color and who have historically been disadvantaged, and that all Americans should cherish, protect, learn from, and respect each other’s history and place in it,” McDonald said.

Dana Crawford Preservation Program | Denver, CO
The University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) was awarded $168,869 to fund a pilot scholarship program through the Dana Crawford Preservation Program.

The university will use the pilot program to promote preservation as a field for BIPOC students by funding a trio of graduate scholarships, the equivalent of 2 full time paid internship positions for undergraduates, and to hire a consultant to advise on sustainably recruiting students of color to the program.

CU Denver hopes concerted marketing of the Dana Crawford Preservation Program BIPOC scholarships will help the state be a leader in solving this issue by identifying, recruiting, retaining, and introducing job opportunities to students of color.

“Colorado has a unique opportunity, because of the State Historical Fund, to build a program that could be the first in the country to begin to address this need,” said Steve Turner, assistant professor and director of Historic Preservation and Classical Studies at CU Denver.

The paid internships provided by the program will alleviate barriers to access for undergraduate students of color by not only helping them with their expenses but also providing an introduction into the preservation workforce.

Turner hopes this program will diversify the pipeline of talented individuals into the preservation workforce to help BIPOC communities by allowing them to work with professionals that have similar backgrounds and experiences, a task which is of growing national importance that necessitates programs such as the one funded by the State Historical Fund.

“There is momentum in the right direction and it is imperative to capitalize on this energy and make a concerted effort to diversify the field of historic preservation,” Turner said.

Museum of Friends | Walsenburg, CO
The Museum of Friends in Walsenburg was awarded $250,000 for rehabilitation of the Roof and Dick Building-Ben Franklin Store, which houses the museum.

The Roof and Dick Building, constructed in 1910, was one of the largest buildings in Walsenburg when the city was establishing itself as a commercial hub for the surrounding area. In 1932 the building became a JC Penney and went through multiple owners before Brendy Berger and Maria Cocchiarelli Berger purchased it in 2005.

In 2010 the entirety of the two story building was converted into the Museum of Friends, a contemporary art museum that creates community connections, fosters appreciation for art, and offers space for art education.

The Museum of Friends often highlights the artwork of nationally known BIPOC artists. This includes its annual El Dia de Los Muertos exhibition and two new exhibitions “The Historic Churches & Chapels of Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico” and “The Early Hispano Families of Huerfano County” all of which center the perspectives of local and regional Hispano/Hispanic artists. 

The museum’s contributions to the community go beyond just art appreciation, however, as it also provides youth programming; a place for local artists and craftspeople to sell their wares; and works with the 3rd Judicial District on a pro-sobriety art program which teaches Coloradans on probation how to work with various art mediums.

The building is seen as an important jumping off point for promoting arts, culture, and heritage tourism for the City of Walsenburg. 

“Museum of Friends has proven to be a catalyst for art and cultural amenities and to stimulate economic growth and improve quality of life in Walsenburg, which lies on the Scenic Highway of Legends, a national scenic byway,” said Maria Cocchiarelli Berger, director of development for the Museum of Friends.

The funding from the State Historical Fund will support improvements and rehabilitation of the exterior of the building. This includes stabilizing and replacing sections of sandstone which has deteriorated over the years, and repairing sections of the roof.

Town of Silver Plume | Silver Plume, CO
The Town of Silver Plume was awarded $200,000 in grant funding to purchase a series of 95 mining claims located to the north and west of the town.

This project connects public lands granted to the Town of Silver Plume in 1993 by the Bureau of Land Management; allows for the expansion of the Silver Plume Mountain Park; and protects 20 recorded historic sites contained within these claims as part of an existing National Historic Landmark District. 

Funding from the State Historical Fund will contribute to the purchasing of this land from private owners but the town of Silver Plume will also contribute to both an archaeological survey of cultural resources contained within the mining claims and an environmental survey to identify and monitor any potential environmental hazards from the legacy of hardrock mining.

Silver Plume hopes this purchase will allow for the preservation of the archaeological sites and trails within the Georgetown Silver Plume National Historic Landmark District; protection of their watersheds; maintenance of bighorn sheep herd that calls the area home; and preservation of the history and heritage of a community which is deeply connected to hard rock mining in Rocky Mountains.

“Receiving this grant makes a dream come true for the town of Silver Plume as it is a project that is incredibly important to the people of our community,” said Cynthia Neeley, project manager for the Town of Silver Plume. “The area to the north and west of town is a cultural landscape that could be utterly destroyed by private development in the coming years and this particular grant is the completion of a year-long fundraising project that permits the town to fulfill a longstanding desire to protect our cultural and natural resources.”

These projects are just a fraction of the preservation efforts History Colorado’s State Historical Fund has contributed to since it was established in 1990. A full list of projects funded by the SHF can be found at

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. 

Additional information about State Historical Fund grants and application materials can be found 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 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, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.