Colorado Welcomes Six New Properties to the National Register of Historic Places
Have you ever thought about why it’s called the History Colorado Center and not a museum? That’s because it’s more than just a museum.
History Colorado also houses the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, which works with the National Park Service to list buildings in Colorado in the National Register of Historic Places — a big, prestigious national list you’ve probably heard of that honors our country’s most significant and beautiful historic places. More than 80,000 properties are listed in the National Register and almost every county in the United States is represented.
Identifying Colorado’s unique historic places and sharing their stories is a fundamental priority of History Colorado, so we are thrilled to announce that six new properties in Colorado have been listed in the National Register.
These recently listed properties tell stories about the history of agriculture, social history, and environmental innovation that are important to not only Colorado’s history, but the nation’s as well.
Anyone flying into DIA has seen those distinct green circles across the landscape, but have you ever wondered what those were? No, they are not crop circles created by extraterrestrials. In fact, they are created by a form of irrigation known as center-pivot irrigation that was developed in the late 1940s by Frank Zybach and Ernest Engelbrecht. Engelbrecht Farm is located in Adams County and has gained national recognition for its major influence on agricultural productivity.
With the discovery and exploitation of the Ogallala Aquifer that was found under most of the Great Plains, farmers were able to plant crops in previously unsuitable regions. The discovery of the aquifer, combined with Zybach’s knowledge of sprinkler systems, helped fuel the development of this new irrigation system. Originally built out of common machine parts, the equipment rotates around a central point, and the crops are watered with sprinklers. (Have you ever seen one of those large, rotating metal “arms” that waters crops? That’s this!)
The farm, featured in the July/August 2014 issue of Colorado Heritage, still houses the original center-pivot towers as well as the machine shop where the prototype was developed. This innovative idea transformed irrigation systems worldwide and is now responsible for the vast number of irrigated acres in the United States—rightfully deserving to be a part of the National Register!
A house with history: it’s not just the architecture that makes this house noteworthy, but the history that has occurred inside. Now part of the Colorado College campus in Colorado Springs, the Dodge-Hamlin house was built in 1916 by famed architect Nicolaas van den Arend. Born in Holland, van den Arend later moved to Colorado Springs and is considered a prominent Colorado architect of the early 20th century.
Newspaper publisher Clarence Dodge erected the house in the then-popular Mission Revival style that emulated early Spanish Missions in California. In 1923 Dodge sold the house to another important publisher and political leader, Clarence Hamlin. Hamlin played a vital role in defeating the Ku Klux Klan member stronghold within the Colorado Republican Party, where the Klan utilized political power rather than violence.
Here at History Colorado we have a large collection of items from the KKK presence in Colorado, many of which are on display as part of the Lincoln Hills exhibit. You can visit the Stephen H. Hart Library and Research Center to see these documents, or any other collection items for yourself.
Hamlin continued to live in the home until his death in 1940, after which the house was eventually acquired by Colorado College and used as residences and classrooms. A significant part of Colorado Springs history, the Dodge-Hamlin House is listed in the National Register for its historical associations, its architectural style and landscape, and its role in the growth of the college’s educational programs.
Winks Panorama/Winks Lodge (amendment and boundary increase)
It’s nearly summertime, and for most of us that means vacation! Today we can travel anywhere, but that hasn’t always been the case for all of Colorado’s residents. Consider the struggles of summer travel for African Americans during segregation.
In 1925 Obrey Wendall “Winks” Hamlet constructed what became known as Winks Lodge to offer a safe place for African Americans to vacation. Located in Gilpin County, Wink’s Lodge is situated at the site of Lincoln Hills, the major African-American resort in the Rocky Mountain West, offering a mountain oasis for African-American vacationers.
Musician Duke Ellington and poet Langston Hughes both visited the resort. Winks Lodge, the central building at Lincoln Hills, operated until Hamlet’s death in 1965 and was added to the National Register in 1980. But now there has been an amendment to increase the boundary and the level of significance. This amendment has changed it from being significant just to Colorado to significant to the entire country, demonstrating its national importance to ethnic and American heritage. Visit the Lincoln Hills exhibit at the History Colorado Center, read more about Wink’s Lodge, or check out History Colorado’s online exhibit about Lincoln Hills.
Monument Lake Park Building and Hatchery Complex
A hatchery and a zoo, you say? Yup, during the complex’s construction in 1934 it was built as both a fish hatchery and a zoo that encompassed the broader trend in recreation during the early twentieth century. Located amidst the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Las Animas County near Trinidad, the Monument Lake complex is representative of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Rustic style construction.
The complex is significant for its affiliation with the WPA and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) programs as it demonstrates the federal government’s role in social programs. While taking a trip to a hatchery and zoo may not be categorized as entertainment by today’s standards, one could hardly complain when it is juxtaposed against the impressive Sangre de Cristo Mountains and is representative of the civic involvement that started during the Great Depression to generate more jobs.
Great Western Sugar Company EffluentFlume Bridge
Trash, sugar, and bridges, oh my! I bet you didn’t know that the production of beet sugar could produce so much effluent, liquid waste, or that an entire bridge was built to deal with the removal of the waste. But that is exactly what the Great Western Sugar Company in Fort Collins did.
The Great Western Sugar Company had been manufacturing so much beet sugar in the first part of the twentieth century that by the 1920s, the company designed a suspension bridge and flume to carry lime, beet pulp, and water waste across the the the Cache la Poudre River at what is today Kingfisher Point Natural Area.
The plant closed in the 1950s, but the Effluent Flume and Bridge remain intact. While the bridge may not be carrying waste across it anymore, the property remains significant for its association with beet sugar manufacturing and industrial waste disposal at the time and additionally serves as a strong example of suspension bridge engineering in Colorado.
South Park City Museum
While Cartman and Stan might not greet you at the entrance to this museum, it is nonetheless an entertaining experience. The South Park City Museum is an intact mid-twentieth century outdoor museum and re-creation of a frontier mining community.
Comprising several relocated historic buildings from around Park County, the museum was opened in 1959 in an effort to create an authentic replica of a nineteenth century Colorado mining town. Some of these buildings have been moved from their original locations. The practice of relocating historic buildings is today considered a major faux pas in the preservation world, for it devalues the historic context and authenticity of the building.
The museum is significant for its association with Park County tourism, the Rush to the Rockies, and early historic preservation efforts in Park County. Additionally, the museum signifies the mid-century American fascination with western frontier culture. Though it serves as an excellent example of 1950s frontier-themed tourist attractions, the South Park City Museum was centered around education rather than solely entertainment. But don’t take our word for it! The South Park City Museum is still open so you can visit it today.
The National Register and History Colorado strive to preserve and share our state’s past for future generations to enjoy, and while these properties have seemingly diverse significances (who knew how interesting irrigation could be?), they demonstrate the wide array of stories that the National Register seeks to preserve.