History Colorado’s State Historical Fund Awards More Than $5 Million Toward Historic Preservation Projects
More than half of funding awarded is directed to BIPOC benefiting projects
DENVER — December 22, 2023 —History Colorado’sState Historical Fund has awarded $5,085,026 to 38 historic preservation projects across the Centennial State. Included among these grants are 15 which directly benefit Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and amount to a more than $3 million investment to preserve the historic sites that are crucial to understanding a more complete history of Colorado.
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This grant round included both General Grants (ranging from $50,001 - $250,000) and Mini Grants (up to $50,000) which, in addition to helping protect the stories and places Coloradans cherish, 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 nearly $3.9 billion in direct and indirect economic impacts, adding $2.2 billion to Colorado’s GDP.
“In the tapestry of our state's history are woven vibrant threads of commitment, passion, and progress – each of which is a vital chapter in our collective narrative,” said Marcie Moore Gantz, State Historical Fund Director. “This latest competitive grant round has identified dozens of these threads and helped provide their caretakers the resources to not just invest in the past, but also build bridges to the future; ensuring that these stories and spaces continue to inspire, support, and educate for generations to come.”
Warshauer Mansion | Antonito, CO
The Town of Antonito was awarded $250,000 toward rehabilitation work at the Warshauer Mansion in Antonito. This grant will help address critical construction deficiencies in the building’s two porches and foundation while also increasing Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) access to this historic house turned Town Hall.
Constructed in 1912, the Warshauer Mansion originally symbolized the difference between the lifestyle of the wealthy Warshauer family and their adjacent neighbors, who lived in modest adobe homes. Seen as an icon of the “Haves and Have Nots,” the mansion was sold and rehabilitated for use as a restaurant in the 1970s, and in 2017 Antionito purchased it for its Town Hall.
Since being purchased by the town, the Warshauer Mansion has provided access to computers for town residents, served as a central community gathering location, and supplied free meeting spaces for local nonprofits and small businesses. The grounds also include public resources such as a playground, picnic tables, community greenhouse, and a traditional Hispano horno oven.
Town leaders hope this grant will preserve the building for generations to come while also addressing the largest concern of the more than 85 percent BIPOC community: safe and permanent ADA-compliant access to the building.
“Many of our citizens are elderly, and they are concerned about safe footing and the lack of handrails as they access the building for council meetings, public meetings, and to pay utility bills and property taxes,” said Stephanie Trujillo, town administrator and clerk.
Project Support Senior Center | Idaho Springs, CO
The Project Support Senior Center, housed in the Graeff-Queen Hotel, was awarded $151,743 to remove non-historical paint as well as to rehabilitate external brickwork that has deteriorated over time. A contributing building to the Historic Idaho Springs Downtown Commercial District, the Graeff-Queen Hotel also serves a vital role in meeting the needs of the elderly population of Clear Creek – which has no assisted living facilities or nursing homes.
Constructed out of brick in 1886, Graeff-Queen Hotel maintains 14 low-income apartments for seniors as well as housing Volunteers of America and Meals on Wheels offices. Together these services help the senior population of Clear Creek to age in place by providing thousands of meals and facilitating thousands of priority trips to everything from grocery stores to doctors offices every year.
The Project Support Senior Center also maintains Queen’s Wardrobe Thrift Shoppe in the basement to supplement the organization’s income and provide affordable clothing, and household goods.
Restoration efforts by Project Support Senior Center will restore the building closer to its original appearance while also addressing serious construction deficiencies and maintaining the physical and historical integrity of the senior center. Failure to address the building's rehabilitation needs will have dire impacts on the senior and low-income communities of Clear Creek County.
“If we don't repair this building, it will continue to deteriorate to a point that it would not be financially feasible to repair and we would have to displace 14 low-income residents, and vacate all the Volunteers of America and Project Support programs,” said Donna Kline, Board of Directors president for Project Support.
Colorado Building | Pueblo, CO Two Khings Development, LLC – a Black-owned development company that specializes in rehabilitating older buildings for senior independent living– and Colorado Preservation Inc. were awarded $250,000 toward the acquisition of the Historic Colorado Building in Downtown Pueblo. Built in 1925, the Colorado Building was constructed as a demonstration of economic recovery and civic pride for Pueblo following the 1921 flood and was an invaluable community asset until its closure in 2005.
The first in a multi-step process, the acquisition of the Colorado Building will create housing units for seniors while also benefiting the culturally diverse Pueblo Community.. Due to its location in Pueblo’s Downtown Opportunity Zone, this building has the potential to contribute greatly to the economic revitalization of the community while also preserving its rich cultural heritage.
“The redevelopment of the Colorado Building in the Downtown Pueblo Opportunity Zone will allow its residents and businesses to see how historic preservation and the funding of historic preservation is an economic driver and creates a vibrant and livable community,” Kenyatta Fisher and Richard Jones, owners of Two Khings Development, LLC, wrote in their grant application. “This acquisition grant will allow its residents to see partners, which include the SHF, come together to improve and revitalize this community.”
In addition to creating senior apartments on the second and third floors, the developers have future plans to create artist's residences and studios that provide additional housing options amid rising rents. The building’s ground floor, which includes a theater, will be rehabilitated into a community event center and commercial spaces with a goal of housing a small grocery store, an urban walk-in clinic, a dry cleaner, restaurant, and gallery.
To meet the financial needs of this extended project, Two Khings Development LLC are working with private investors and intend to apply for additional SHF grants to help maintain the building’s character-defining features. The developers also intend to apply for State and Federal Historic tax credits that will be reinvested into rehabilitating the historic Colorado Building
St. George Episcopal Church | Leadville, CO
The St. George Episcopal Church was awarded $249,984 to facilitate critical rehabilitation projects identified in a 2023 Historical Site Assessment including: reconstructing the basement entrance, re-grading the site to facilitate drainage, and addressing multiple structural and roof rehabilitation needs.
Constructed in 1880, St. George Episcopal Church has long served as a community gathering space for the town of Leadville. When the nearby Molybdenum mine shut down in 1987, St. George had to close its doors. In 1992, the St. George reopened. In addition to worship, they offered free community meals in a broom closet modified into a kitchen. When the pandemic struck in 2020, St. George worked with community partners to add a food pantry. St. George has taken on a crucial role as a community food hub by providing free meals four days a week and a food pantry twice a week. It maintains a mission to “build community by welcoming, nourishing, and loving our neighbors as ourselves."
Thanks to the support of donors and the local community, St. George serves an average of 2,100 households a month, or roughly 32 percent of the total Lake County population. Among those who benefit the most from St. George’s services are local BIPOC individuals as nearly three-quarters of the organization's participants are Latinx or Spanish-speaking and 80 percent of its staff are members of the Latinx community.
“St. George is an essential and well-loved landmark in the community, and we provide a safe and welcoming space for people to access both food and a sense of belonging,” said Lisa Morton, bishop's warden for the St. George Episcopal Mission. “The building is also an important space for Latinx Community events such as celebrations of the Virgin of Guadalupe and Posadas.”
Beyond the ongoing food, church, and community gathering services at St. George, the grant recipients plan to stimulate economic growth of Leadville by generating employment opportunities while also maintaining the historic character of the town.
The Old Fort | Hesperus, CO Fort Lewis College was awarded $249,889 toward efforts to stabilize the foundation and complete exterior restoration of a Root Cellar Barn located at the site of the original Fort Lewis in Hesperus. This funding will assist with the remediation of critical deficiencies to make the building more functional for the College's Farmer in Training Program.
Constructed in 1931, when Fort Lewis served as a two-year state agricultural school, the Root Cellar Barn is part of the 247-acre core of the Old Fort Lewis campus that was listed on the La Plata County Historic Register in 2006. Since its construction, the Root Cellar Barn has served various functions and is a crucial part of the Farmer Training Program for the modern Fort Lewis College located in nearby Durango.
Most recently, the building’s underground cellar has been used to store crops while the main floor is utilized for equipment storage, drying garlic cloves and curing onions. However, construction deficiencies led to pest intrusion – causing significant damage to stored crops – and therefore foundation repairs and restoration of the stone façade are needed for continued use.
As part of the Farmer in Training Program, the Root Cellar Barn contributes directly to FLC’s program, which employs many BIPOC individuals. This rehabilitation will also allow for early season potato seeding and onion transplanting, as well as the storage of onions, winter squash and more sensitive crops like blue corn, which can be used by FLC’s Native American Center year round.
This increase in educational and storage capacity at the Old Fort site will create additional opportunities for the College’s Native American students as they work to reclaim a space which was historically connected to the assimilation and erasure of Indigenous cultures as part of the U.S. government’s Federal Indian Boarding School program.
“Fort Lewis College has a distinct commitment to provide educational opportunities and pathways for Native American students, and to support each student’s determination and the choices they make for their education and career,” said Beth LaShell, Old Fort Director at Fort Lewis College. “Recognition of our history and steps toward understanding how the past affects the present and future are part of FLC’s commitment to student success.”
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 historycolorado.org/received-and-awarded-grants.
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.
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