History Colorado’s Green Book Sites Investigation Kicks Off
DENVER — October 17, 2023 — History Colorado’sState Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is moving forward with a state-wide survey of African American travel and recreation sites (known as Green Book sites) with a goal of nominating multiple such locations to both the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Funded by an Underrepresented Community Grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, this project builds on earlier efforts to document Green Book sites, and contributes to History Colorado’s Colorado Heritage for All Program. The Colorado Heritage for All Program is designed to add historic designations to 150 currently unrecognized historic resources that tell the stories of marginalized communities by the end of 2026.
“As we close in on the 250th anniversary of our nation and the 150th anniversary of the Centennial State it is vital that our inventory of historic places better represent Coloradans whose histories have been marginalized, obscured, or erased,” said Patrick Eidman, Chief Preservation Officer & Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer. “This project is an incredible way for us to make headway into equitable representation in our State and National Registers of Historic Places while also exploring how African Americans adapted and persevered despite widespread racism and racially motivated violence.”
Funding from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service allows History Colorado’s SHPO to engage with local communities to develop a list of potentially eligible historic resources associated with Green Book travel during the segregation era, and produce at least three nominations to the National Register of Historic Places.
This effort will be supported by Front Range Research Associates, a third-party contractor who previously completed a Colorado African American Travel and Recreation Resources Survey Plan in 2021, as well as a trio of preservation nominations for African American historical resources such as:
Coronado Lodge in Pueblo that was added to the National Register in 2020
St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Pueblo that was added to the National Register in 2023
And a pending National Historic Landmark nomination for Wink’s Panorama at Lincoln Hills
The opening phase of History Colorado’s efforts are a series of community meetings along the I-25 corridor to gather input from the local community and create a list of forty important historic resources to be researched.
The first of these community meetings is scheduled for October 24, 2023, from 4:30 - 6 p.m. at the Fort Warren Library in Denver.
An additional community gathering is scheduled in Colorado Springs at the Penrose Library on November 1 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. with a final one being planned in Pueblo early in November.
“It can’t be overstated how important these community gatherings are to this process,” said Terri Gentry, Engagement Manager for Black Communities. “So much of this history has been invisible or discounted or dismissed and only maintained word of mouth or in the memory of elders. Coming together like this allows us to remember and preserve our past while also declaring that our history matters and deserves to be part of the national record.”
This project marks the third occasion that History Colorado has received an Underrepresented Community Grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service. Previous grants were received in 2021 and 2017 to nominate properties associated with the women’s suffrage movement across the state and Hispano communities in the San Luis Valley respectively. In total these three Underrepresented Community Grants have amounted to $167,201 in funding for projects led by History Colorado.
Since 2014 the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service has awarded $5.75 million across the United States through the Underrepresented Communities Grants program with a goal of funding the identification, planning, and development of nominations to the National Register of Historic Places for diverse communities.
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 144-year-old institution that operates eleven museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation which provides technical assistance, educational opportunities, and other access to 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. Additionally, the offices of the State Archaeologist and the State Historic Preservation Officer are part of History Colorado.
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 10 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. #HistoryColorado