Story

Preserving Murals that Tell the Stories of Hispano Coloradans

Hispano and Latino Coloradans have long used murals as a way to celebrate and share culture. Murals that have captured this culture and its change over time are currently under threat due to rapid urban development as well as the natural wear and tear that comes with outdoor spaces.

As our state's leading voice for preservation, we seek to protect the places and to tell the stories that highlight Colorado's richly diverse history—from women to LGBTQ, African American to Asian American, Ute to Arapaho.

Over the past couple years, we've collected some of the stories of places important to Hispano and Latino communities across the state in the interactive map below. Gathering these stories is part of our Heritage Diversity Initiative, which seeks to celebrate the historic places significant to people of every language, culture, and background that comprise the Colorado Story. Recognizing and valuing these historic places is the first step in preserving our diverse history.

The locations in the map below are ones that community members have chosen to highlight, some of which date back to the 1850s. Many of them are either listed in the National or State Registers or may be eligible for listing. 

You can discover and learn about them by navigating the map and gallery below. First click the pink "continue" button. Then click the button on the bottom left to expand the map and select a pin to learn more. You can also click the button on the bottom right to expand the gallery and view locations by photo and description.

Several of these places highlight noteworthy murals in the Denver Metro Area. Here are a few photos and stories from the people who remember them:

"Pasado, Presente, Futuro"

"Mural painted by Carlota Espinoza in 1977 that blends myth and reality and the story of the Chicano people, from the Aztec empire to the Spanish imperialism, from the alienation to the struggle of regaining that identity and pride. It is located at the Byers Branch Library."

—Anonymous user on historypin

Former Home of Servicios de la Raza

"The 1909 Souden Building featured the Chicano mural Primavera from 1981 to 2014. Beginning in the 1970s, the building housed Servicios de la Raza, which provided cultural services to communities in need. Removal of the mural was seen as the symbol of transition in Northside demographics. Servicios de la Raza relocated around 2014." 

—Anonymous user on historypin

Flight of the Eagle

"Denver artist Jerry Jaramillo has been painting murals since the 1970s. The work of author Carlos Castaneda inspired this mural, which depicts an Aztec eagle dancer. Currently this mural sits on top of the Aztlan Recreation Center." 

—Anonymous user on historypin

Colorado Housing Assistance Corporation Mural

"Mural on the outside of the Colorado Housing Assistance Corporation (CHAC), a nonprofit agency that helps make home ownership affordable to those with low income. The artist for this mural is unknown (or at least I couldn’t find them), and the mural has possibly been there since 1987 when CHAC became what it is today." 

—Anonymous user on historypin

Westside Community Mural

"This mural celebrates the United Farm Workers, Colorado's own Chicano Rights hero, Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales, and the Auraria neighborhood that was destroyed in the early 1970s in order to build a college campus. It also includes a panoramic view of Denver's skyline with the Wells Fargo building, the Denver Art Museum, and other buildings in the Santa Fe art district such as: El Noa Noa, and the Santa Fe Theater."

—Anonymous user on historypin

If you love murals, be sure to check out Self-Preservation, a mural local artist Anthony Garcia, Sr. will be painting inside the History Colorado Center from July 9 to July 20. It will be visible through January 2019. You can also learn more about murals and their ties to Colorado history in the El Movimiento exhibit at the History Colorado Center.

 

Do you know of any historic or cultural places that should be recognized? Please tell us about the places in your community that represent Colorado's diverse heritage.

Learn more about the National Register of Historic Places and the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties, including how to submit a nomination, here.  

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