Friday, May 24, 2019

2019 Endangered Places Progress Award - Gold Medal Orchard

Congratulations to the Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project (lovingly known as MORP), for working to preserve these wonderful old trees that were planted in McElmo Canyon in the shadow of the Sleeping Ute Mountain.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Fires at Glacier National Park

I'm sad to report that the forest fires in Glacier National Park in August of 2018 took out the historic Kelly Camp, a private inholding in the Park on land that was part of the Frank Kelly homestead. Descendants and dear friends of the Kelly family lovingly tended to Mr. Kelly's 1920s-era rustic wood cabins on the shores of Lake McDonald.  My heart goes out to them.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Wow, the Federal Historic Tax Credit program is really thriving. The National Park Service recently released figures for tax credit activity between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016. Tax credit activity hit a record $1.2 billion in certified credits, which is an increase of 32 percent over the previous year.   The Historic Tax Credit program is associated with the creation of  109,000 jobs, with a $6.2 billion impact on the gross domestic product.


Friday, October 14, 2016

"Re-urbanism" Preserves History, Conserves Energy And Enhances The Local Economy

The Western Colorado Power Company office building in Durango is now home to the Durango Coffee Company
"The greenest building is the one already built."  That's a popular and oh so true statement when we look at the environmental impacts of construction. New buildings require us to destroy and dump all of the materials and energy expended to build the old structure, and to replace those old wood, metal and masonry products with more of the same.  As far as the energy efficiency of new installations versus the old ones, the Preservation Green Lab determined that that it can take up to 80 years for a new, energy-efficient building to overcome the environmental (climate change and energy consumption) impacts caused by the new building's construction. And there's more than just environmental benefits in retaining our historic buildings.

Historic buildings convey an authentic sense of the community's history and character. They are billboards for the roots of the community and they tend to attract entrepreneurial and creative industries.  Real estate studies show that historic buildings in and near historic districts are valued at about 20% higher than their counterparts.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation-a long time advocate of rehabilitating historic buildings-has a program called "Reurbanism" that champions adaptive reuse of historic buildings. Two of their ten principals are;
Older places provide the distinctiveness and character that engender success. Older buildings give cities a sense of identity, history, and authenticity—which is the most important competitive advantage they can have in today’s economy.
Older neighborhoods are economic engines. Research shows that neighborhoods with a mix of older and newer buildings perform better along a number of social, economic, cultural, and environmental metrics than areas with only new buildings.

If you want to learn more about Re-urbanism, click on this link National Trust Reurbanism.  Architect Rick Feeney just shared a great article about this movement in Denver.  This link  at Colorado Biz will take you to the article.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Putting the Grand Back into the Grand Imperial

Al Harper, the owner of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is dressed in period clothes as he welcomes visitors to the celebration of the restoration of his Grand Imperial Hotel.
 On May, a blustery Saturday, we gathered at 10,000 feet above sea level to tour the newly restored Grand Imperial Hotel in Silverton, Colorado. What an impressive building, with granite carved block walls and a brick front. The rooms inside have been freshened up and the bathrooms are now up to modern standards, but the old hallways lit by sunlight from the atriums and the tall doors with the transoms still make you think of times long ago when passengers from the D&RG RR stayed here. Those of us who drove to Silverton joined the passengers from first Durango-Silverton train of the season and enjoyed some great street-dancing music from The High Rollers.  A Fun day!

Brr-Glad we brought our down coats.
New wallpaper and carpet in this glamorous lobby. Don't you love the portrait of
starlet Lillian Russell on the wall?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Tune Into KSJD on Friday

KSJD Public Radio broadcasts from the historic Montezuma Valley Bank and Store in Cortez, Colorado

UPDATE: If you missed the interview, you can hear it at .

On Friday, May 6, KSJD Radio will air a short interview I did with Tom Yoder about historic preservation and the ongoing historic building survey in Cortez, Colorado. They told me the interview will air on Friday during a break in NPR's Morning Edition at 7:30am (MDT).  You can stream KSJD at . Click onto the Listen Live" button on their website.  

Friday, April 8, 2016

Here's something really fun to do.

The La Plata County Historical Society is partnering with the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Xcel Energy to host a very special fundraising event!

On May 6th two train cars designated as the "Tacoma History Train" will depart on the final Winter Train to Cascade. Participants will depart the train at the historic Tacoma Power House for a rare interior tour of the 1906 working power plant and a walking tour of the Tacoma townsite. Costumed interpreters and historians will interact with guests, providing historical information and stories on the north and southbound routes. Tickets are $65.00, with all proceeds going straight to the Animas Museum. A deluxe boxed lunch is available for an additional $15.00, provided by The Yellow Carrot. For tickets or additional information, please contact the Animas Museum at 970-259-2402 or at We hope you will join us for this exciting and special event. Reserve your tickets soon- space is limited! With Mother's Day just around the corner (May 8th), this would also be a wonderful way to celebrate with your mom!