Press Release

History Colorado Announces 2024 Stephen H. Hart Awardees

DENVER — December 13, 2023 — History Colorado is proud to announce the winners of the 38th Stephen H. Hart Awards for Historic Preservation. Given out annually, the Stephen H. Hart Awards are Colorado’s highest recognition for projects or individuals that exemplify the outstanding archaeology and historic preservation work being done in the Centennial State every day.

Luke Perkins, Manager of Communications and Public Relations
303.866.3670 | 

Named after Colorado’s first Historic Preservation Officer, the Hart Award recipients are nominated by the staff of History Colorado and selected for their contributions to the field of preservation. These projects are recognized for their innovative approaches, in-depth research, and/or use of proper techniques that honor the historic significance and craftsmanship of Colorado’s archaeological and built environment.

“This year's awardees are a beautiful demonstration of how preservation combined with community can provide solutions to some of today's challenges,” said Dawn DiPrince, President/CEO of History Colorado & State Historic Preservation Officer. “We are recognizing projects that create affordable housing, build an inclusive historic record, and catalyze economic opportunity in rural Colorado.”

2024 Stephen H. Hart Awardees:
The Governor’s Award: Fuel & Iron Food Hall | Pueblo, CO

Formerly a bustling hub for hardware needs and more, the Fuel & Iron Food Hall is now an exemplar of how historic buildings can be adaptively reused to meet the needs of a community while maintaining their unique historic character. The building now hosts twenty-eight meticulously designed workforce housing units and an innovative incubator food hall, boasting six distinct concept kitchens that offer enticing culinary experiences. Beyond the present achievements, the future plans for Fuel & Iron include ventures like Fuel Kitchen and Fuel Farm, which will create a seamless link between local produce and the community.

Closed for nearly two decades prior to being purchased by visionary developers, Fuel & Iron is being recognized for pioneering the first food hall concept in the region and offering a low cost start-up launchpad for entrepreneurial chefs and restaurateurs. Equally significant are its contributions to addressing Pueblo’s need to add 10,000 housing units by 2030, and the owners’ strategic utilization of a spectrum of incentives including community revitalization grants from the Office of Economic Development and International Trade and State and Federal Preservation Tax Credits from History Colorado.

“The Hart Awards celebrate innovation across the state that preserves the Colorado we love while creating new spaces for communities to come together, and that's exactly what Fuel & Iron is doing. This building has been transformed into a space with amazing food, supporting small businesses, and much-needed workforce housing. I am a regular customer at Fuel & Iron and it is exactly the type of innovation this award celebrates, leading to more vibrant communities and a stronger economy,” said Governor Polis.

Awardees: Full Plate Management, LLC, Nathan Stern

State Historic Preservation Officer Award: Chicano/a/x Murals of Colorado Project | Statewide
Founded in 2018 by Lucha Martinez de Luna, the Chicano/a/x Murals of Colorado Project (CMCP) has gained recognition across the nation for its efforts to protect, promote, and preserve the ongoing legacy of Chicano/a/x murals in Colorado. Used to raise awareness about Chicano history and culture – especially during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and ‘70s – historic Chicano murals in Colorado are an endangered resource with only 40 estimated to still be in existence in the Centennial State. Included amongst the accomplishments of CMCP is the addition of a Chicano mural in Colorado to the National Register of Historic Places for the first time – “Sierra y Colores” in San Luis, by artist Carlos Sandoval

CMCP is being recognized for Martínez de Luna’s efforts to document murals before more are lost, and her work to revive damaged murals that can be salvaged. Preserving such historic creations requires delicate artistic skill so CMCP partners with the original artists and innovatively uses technology to recover murals that have been whitewashed, such as the recovery of the mural Huitzilopochtli by David Ocelotl Garcia in Sun Valley in the summer of 2023. CMCP's current preservation work includes collaborating with Historic Denver to restore three murals in the La Alma neighborhood. The non-profit has also received a Bonfils-Stanton Grant for the MuralShield protective coating on six murals in Denver and has developed educational opportunities in the forms of curricula, mural documentation, a website, and an upcoming documentary, History on the Walls, that was funded in partnership with AARP.

Awardees: Lucha Martinez de Luna, Chicano/a/x Murals of Colorado Project

State Archaeologist’s Award: State Land Board | Statewide
The Colorado State Land Board has been committed to serving schools across the state through the careful stewardship and leasing of State Trust lands since the Centennial State entered the Union in 1876. Many of the lands owned by the Colorado State Land Board contain valuable archaeological sites which contribute greatly to our understanding of Colorado’s history. Further, since 2008, more than $2 billion has been contributed to Colorado’s public schools from the revenue generated from leasing State Trust lands.

The Colorado State Land Board is being recognized for the dedication of its staff and their commitment to protecting and preserving historic places. In collaboration with the Office of the State Archaeologist, private and non-profit organizations, and local communities, the Colorado State Land Board shares stories from across the state that stretch from time immemorial, and yields invaluable information about the unique historical character of the Centennial State. 

Awardees: State Land Board; Mindy Gottsegen, Conservation Resource Specialist; Paleocultural Research Group

History Colorado Board Award: Emergent Campus | Florence, CO
Originally located in Downtown Canon City, the Emergent Campus invests in rural prosperity by bringing high tech jobs to rural Colorado and providing space for innovative sector workers, remote tech workers, and other entrepreneurs. Since Emergent Campus moved into the historic Florence High School in 2019, it has actively transformed the space to provide co-working and business offices to provide an attractive solution for tech companies seeking lower operating costs. This transformed space is responsible for 80+ new tech-based jobs in Fremont County and creates over $13 million in overall economic impact annually, all while maintaining the historic integrity of Florence High School

Emergent Campus is being recognized for being a strong proponent of adaptive reuse and its commitment to historic preservation and effort to have the Florence High School Building listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to the work done in Florence, the Emergent Campus is working to apply their successful model of adaptively reusing historic buildings to generate tech sector jobs to Trinidad. Using a variety of funding sources – and strategic partnerships with Trinidad State College and local school district – this extension of Emergent Campus is intended to provide education and job opportunities that are currently not available in Trinidad and will be housed at Trinidad's historic Park School.

Awardees: Brad Rowland, Emergent Campus Owner

People's Choice Award: East Street School | Trinidad, CO
Built in 1919, the East Street School catered to the expanding primary school population in 20th Century Trinidad for over 80 years. One of two remaining schools designed by the acclaimed architectural firm of Isaac H. Rapp and William M. Rapp, the East Street School faithfully served the community's educational needs before falling dormant in the early 2000s. A new owner recognized its potential and embarked on a journey to repurpose this heritage-rich space. Due to its sprawling single-story layout, the former school offered a natural canvas for a series of stunning loft-style living quarters tailor-made for resident artists.

The East Street School is being recognized for rehabilitation efforts that returned multiple architectural features, including reinstating the original expansive windows, as well as transforming the space to create fifteen distinctive residential units, professional culinary space, and shared community areas. This project has successfully created an emerging hub of creative synergy and was achieved through the strategic orchestration of multiple funding avenues such as Colorado Creative Industries, Vacant Building Rehabilitation credit, and the State Commercial Historic Preservation Tax Credit.

Awardees: East School Trinidad, LLC; PSTM Architecture and Planning Inc.; Urban Neighborhoods Inc.; Redline Contemporary Art Center; Four Points Funding

A celebration of the 38th annual Stephen H. Hart Awards will be held at the History Colorado Center on April 16, 2024, from 5 – 8 p.m. This event is free and open to the public and more information will be available closer to the night of the celebration.
Additional information about the Stephen H. Hart Awards, as well as a complete list of previous winners, 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 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, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information. #HistoryColorado