Candidates’ Thoughts on Historic Preservation

Elections are coming up soon, and we were wondering where our local candidates stand regarding historic preservation. So we sent all of the mayoral and city council candidates in both Fort Collins and Loveland the same three questions. You can jump to the section for Fort Collins candidates or Loveland candidates, or you can go directly to a specific candidate’s answers.

Fort Collins | Loveland

Jeni Arndt, Patricia Babbitt, Eric Hamrick, Sean McCoy, Julie Pignataro, Shirley Peel, Melanie Potyondy, Alexander Adams, Emily Francis

Jacki Marsh, Don Overcash, Janice Ververs, Daniel Anderson, Troy Krenning, Lenard Larkin, Russell Sinnett,
Andrea Samson, Kat McManus, Erin Black, John Fogle, Zeke Cortez, Laura Light-Kovacs

We also sent each candidate links to more information about historic preservation, in case they wanted to educate themselves before replying. This additional text read as follows:

Recommended resources to help you learn more about historic preservation in Colorado:
Learn more about Historic Larimer County at https://historiclarimercounty.org/

Fort Collins

Jeni Arndt – Mayoral Candidate

We haven’t received Jeni’s answers yet.

Patricia Babbitt – Mayoral Candidate

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

When people ask me about my favorite food, color, music…historic building, I always say, “I don’t have a favorite.  It depends on my mood.”  That being said, I have to admit that my favorite historic building in our community is the little log cabin near City Park that my sons and I have called home for over 27 years.  Although we never went through the process of getting historical status for our cabin (my late husband didn’t want this), it was given as an example of authentic cabins in Fort Collins, in a book provided to us after we bought our house in 1996.

Over the years, we heard stories from the various people who lived here before us, except for the original owner, James Forney’s brother, who moved the cabin down from the mountains to help with the family business in Fort Collins in 1938. In addition to our house itself, I love our beautiful trees and natural environment which surrounds our home.  Whenever I come home from being out-and-about, I’m always happy to return to the little oasis that I call my home.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

Again, I really haven’t thought about any particular building being at risk of being lost. Whether it is a public historic building or a private historic home, I believe that this could lead to many cultural, social, sentimental, economic, and environmental losses to our community.

I feel that the current thinking which focuses on the perceived need to destroy old buildings to build new ones, puts all of our historic buildings at risk. I’ve been frustrated and saddened to see so many homes in our community destroyed, only to be replaced by huge, soulless homes with little remaining yard space or apartment buildings with expensive units that are difficult for many local residents to afford–even though our mayor and some city council members continue to tell constituents that we need to replace these single-family dwellings to provide “affordable/attainable” multi-family units.  It’s just not what I’m seeing.

If we continue to demolish historic buildings and yards, I feel this will have multiple negative effects including loss of cultural history as well as loss of natural habitat for plants and animals living in the yards of the historic buildings.  Also, many people don’t seem to understand that revamping an old building is usually a much greener choice than demolishing the building and building a “green” building in its place.

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

Many tourists come from all over our state, country, and even the world specifically to visit historic buildings such as those in Old Town Square and surrounding areas, hoping to enjoy the special culture that Fort Collins has to offer. This, in turn, leads to economic opportunities for businesses in and/or near the various historic buildings being visited.

Often visitors make a point of booking rooms in historic Old Town hotels or our Old Town hostel, the Fernweh Inn when they come to visit Fort Collins to enhance their cultural experience while visiting our city. When people stay in many of these historic buildings, they are easily able to take advantage of our public transit and bicycle options during their visits, which obviously is better for our environment than car-centric options in less historic parts of town. In addition to the many Old Town buildings that attract people to our city, there are other historic buildings in other parts of town that are also important parts of our city’s story and need to be protected.

Eric Hamrick – Candidate for District 2

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

The Old Post Office, Downtown.  A great example of Italian Renaissance Revival architecture, this building was saved from being demolished. It is a grand structure, fitting into our community’s fabric and identity like a glove, with contemporary uses like the Museum of Modern Art adding to its charm and glamour.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

Saint Joseph’s School is high on the list of historic structures that I fear we could lose to development in the near future.  With it’s unusual Spanish Colonial architecture, we would lose a unique, yet entirely appropriate, structure that is filled with the history of Fort Collins.  As with all structures that are torn down, we would quickly lose our knowledge of what our past was made of, and of our ties to history older than Fort Collins.

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

From the Old Post Office to the Northern Hotel to the Linden Hotel, we have example after example of how historic buildings make the present richer because of these connections to the past.  Because of these preserved buildings, people become interested in the history of Fort Collins, creating stronger ties to the present, and ensuring that future development integrates this knowledge into the spaces created for our future. The embodied energy in our historic structures, and their preservation, is much more than simply preserving our environment.  They are a window into the people who were every bit as much alive as us, and whose stories we should hear, so that we too can leave a legacy for those yet to come. 

Sean McCoy – Candidate for District 2

Sean has stepped down from his candidacy and has endorsed Julie Pignataro.

Julie Pignataro – Candidate for District 2

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

Not a building per se, but I love the historic trolley because of the joy, nostalgia, and character it brings to the community.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

Definitely the Historic Plummer School. Through watching its evolution since I moved to Fort Collins 30 years ago, it appears to be struggling to remain an icon in our community. Since it is already listed as an historic place, I don’t think it is at great risk of being lost per se, but it does seem like it could get swallowed up by surrounding development. So I would say that the loss of the land that it sits on, which includes some very mature landscapes, is the biggest risk.

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

Historic preservation has brought a connection to the past for Fort Collins’ newcomers, and as we know by our growth rates, there are many! For our younger generations, it helps bring history alive and I have enjoyed seeing some of our historic buildings and sites through my son’s eyes as he has made his way through elementary school.

Shirley Peel – Candidate for District 4

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

It is really hard to pick just one. Obviously, I love the old buildings in Old Town, especially the old feed store that is now Ginger and Baker. We actually used to buy our feed there before it was renovated. Closer to home there is a small house on the corner of Trilby and College that sadly is slated for demolishing when the road is widened. I think it used to be a schoolmaster’s house or a former school, not sure, but I have been wanting to go in and just look around. 🙂 I think what I like about old buildings beside the architecture, is the history attached with each one. I can just imagine the simpler times and the people who lived, worked and played in them. 

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

As a councilmember, one of the things that hurts my heart the most is when we have an appeal come before us and my vote causes us to lose any historical building or even just an old building in general. I am hopeful we can find a way to identify buildings that can be saved before they reach the council level as well as repurpose buildings to fit new uses without losing their character. I am interested in advocating for a better process to preserve buildings. 

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

Again, obviously Old Town has big economic, social and environmental benefits. Another I place that I think could play a role in these areas is the preservation of our flea markets on South College. While not exactly historical buildings, they are a piece of the historical fabric of our town. These businesses have been left in limbo with no way to upgrade their parking lots, buildings, etc. without a huge infusion of cash. I think this is a shame and would like to see a thriving market in that area. 

Melanie Potyondy – Candidate for District 4

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

My favorite historic building in Fort Collins is the Armstrong Hotel. I love its thoughtfully-restored interior, its location right in the heart of Old Town, and its overall cozy atmosphere. Plus, The Armstrong Hotel has sentimental value for me because my husband and I stayed there when we got married back in 2008.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

I don’t have a specific site in mind for this question, but believe it is important that our community maintain focus on preserving properties that are of particular significance to our community members of color and members of marginalized groups. So often, these groups’ history and cultures have been devalued and de-emphasized in decision-making; I would like to see historic preservation processes pay special attention to these historical trends. 

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

I think historical buildings are part of what makes Fort Collins special, especially in the Old Town area. Residents and visitors, alike, are drawn to the charming atmosphere downtown, which is both a social and economic benefit. Likewise, many of our neighborhoods include beautiful homes from different eras and corresponding architectural styles, drawing in potential buyers and renters who seek a unique space to call their own. I am an especially big fan of our mid-century modern neighborhoods and, although I am not lucky enough to live in one, I really enjoyed a recent opportunity to take a tour of several Fort Collins homes from the MCM era. Many of our historical buildings impart Fort Collins with a true sense of place, and I feel lucky to live here. Further, regarding sustainability, restoration of historical buildings with “good bones” can be a less wasteful option than building new and, oftentimes, historical buildings’ craftsmanship and quality of materials is superior to that used to create new buildings. Of course, not every structure from a bygone era is an architectural treasure or practical with regard to use of space, energy efficiency, etc., but thoughtful decision-making about renovation vs. replacement of buildings is oftentimes prudent.

Alexander Adams – Candidate for District 6

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

I have quite a few. I have always liked the old bank in old town–every time I walk past it it really gives me a sense of rootedness and antiquity of the area. My favorite though if I really think about it is likely the art museum. The architectural style is very aesthetically pleasing to me. There are too many honorable mentions to list. 

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

I read a while ago the old post office was slated for demolition but I did not follow up on that to see what happened. I am very concerned overall with historical preservation, especially in old town. In fact, one of the reasons I oppose the LDC is that even when a specific building is spared, if the surrounding buildings dramatically change, it changes the feel of the neighborhood entirely. Something is lost. Old Town and old buildings generally connect us to a bygone era and keep us connected with our ancestors (either directly or ‘spiritual’ ancestors, those generations who lived here prior). 

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

Economically, Old Town is an economic center and draws tourists. Socially and culturally, it was the model of Disney Land, and thus has has an impact on American culture. In terms of climate, reusing existing structures is less carbon intensive than creating new ones. For me, as a transplant, being able to research different buildings allows me to understand how the city was laid out and has progressed to where it is today. Fort Collins’ historical sites and communities ought to be preserved—developers do not have the right to turn us into another dot on the map. 

Emily Francis – Candidate for District 6

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

The Emma Malaby Grocery Property! I like the look of the building and how it has been incorporated into the neighborhood. I also enjoy the history of the property and family and how it has changed uses over time.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

The Laurel Street School/Centennial High School: With Poudre School District consolidating and this school being older it is of concern what will happen if PSD will no longer use this building. The school has been part of our history and the loss would be significant. 

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

As someone born and raised in Fort Collins, I appreciate the work that has been done over the years to preserve our cherished history. Historic preservation has immeasurable benefits from an educational, environmental, and cultural perspective, and I’m glad that city leaders had the forethought to establish historic preservation as a policy more than 50 years ago. Historic preservation helps communities maintain a sense of place and can anchor a town’s identity.

Loveland

Jacki Marsh – Mayoral Candidate

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

There are several, Rialto Theater would be my first choice as it was renovated to maintain its original character and function. It is stately. One can easily envision silent movies with piano accompaniment. My second choice would be City Hall, the former Washington School. Walking up the steep stairwells brings thoughts of past youthful, excited voices gathering in former classrooms.

Of note is the current renovation of the Feed and Grain building, which may become my new favorite once renovations are complete. One wall in my home is adorned with photographs of the machinery in the Feed & Grain. Also in the works, is the renovation of the Pulliam Community Building.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

I worry about the future of Timberlane Farms on 1st Street. I believe it’s significance of being a farm museum within the Downtown Area is undervalued. I was disappointed that City Council did not invest in preserving it, several years ago, when the opportunity came to the City. For children, of all ages, to walk back in history, in the heart of Downtown, and down the street from our Boys and Girls Club, is both educational and meditative. If dollars are needed to make it pay for itself, consideration could be given to a farm to table restaurant on the property to supplement a farm museum.

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

Why do we save photos, create albums, spend time on our memories? Time is always moving forward and yet, we are forever linked with the past. Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate our everyday luxuries, until we remember the clumsy ways of the past. And sometimes we look at our current chaos and we long for the simpler times of the past. Preserving our historic buildings is essential to preserving the character and the specialness of our City. Things we took for granted when we were children and when our grandparents were children, become rare as we age. Architecture, styles, materials, quality of workmanship, become more unique with age. And yes, the character of our Downtown is a tourist draw, which is good for our economy, but more importantly, as residents, we identify with it being who we are, as we are proud Lovelanders, who are in love with our City. I love our community and our penchant for appreciating the Arts. And so, I’ll finish where I started, from it’s meager beginnings, Loveland has always been an Art City, and our Rialto Theater, is our crown jewel.

Don Overcash – Mayoral Candidate

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

The Rialto Theatre is my favorite at present with the First National Bank building coming in as a close second.  The Rialto preserves the architecture and feel from my childhood of going to or $0.25.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

The Pulliam Community Building has been a top priority of mine for restoration/preservation since 2015.  In 2016 I lead the effort on City Council to partner with the community effort to fund and bring back the Pulliam.  This building given to the community by the Pulliam family decades ago is a reminder of the benefits provided to the community through generous hearts.  Bringing this building back into use for the community will contribute greatly to the revitalization of the downtown community as an anchor for downtown entertainment and economic activity.

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

The Loveland downtown revitalization effort has greatly benefitted from preserving the Rialto, Loveland Downtown Historic District, First National Bank Building and soon the Pulliam Community Building.  The cultural, social, economic and environmental benefits brought to the greater Loveland community is priceless.

Janice Ververs – Mayoral Candidate

We haven’t received Janice’s answers yet.

Daniel Anderson – Candidate for Ward I

We haven’t received Daniel’s answers yet.

Troy Krenning – Candidate for Ward I

We haven’t received Troy’s answers yet.

Lenard Larkin – Candidate for Ward I

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

To be honest, the old grain and feed on railroad and 2nd, the depot at 11th and Monroe, and the depot on railroad and 4th. I’m a little of a train buff. It also shows an example of how we can use more mass transit to unite the city.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

The feed and grain building near downtown.  It has been a common site my entire life living in Loveland. Losing it personally for me would be losing a link to my life living in Loveland. The loss of the community would be another bulldozing of our history for a short term profit for those who care nothing about Loveland.

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

The simplest statement is that those who forget, or ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

Cultural-knowing our past helps ground us to the present.

Economic- we have ups and downs over the years in our economy, we can learn from the downs to make a more stable future.

Social- unfortunately I see our community has forgotten a significant part of its social past that we need to acknowledge to make a brighter future. The actions of this past are repeating in our government to the detriment of Loveland.

Environmental- from the floods of 1976 or 2013, we learned where we made mistakes in building too near the rivers. This is an example of how we cannot cheat our environment for short term gain.

Russell Sinnett – Candidate for Ward I

We haven’t received Russell’s answers yet.

Andrea Samson – Candidate for Ward II

We haven’t received Andrea’s answers yet.

Kat McManus – Candidate for Ward II

We haven’t received Kat’s answers yet.

Erin Black – Candidate for Ward III

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community?

I really like the post office building on 6th and Cleveland. Being in that old building, doing present business, is very cool! I think it’s even more special when you couple the history of our Valentine mailings from the City of Love. I love the staircase up to the unique double doors and entry. Bonnell Building, the Stroh Bldg., and of course, the Rialto are all very neat looking and are certainly pillars of Loveland.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

There are some dilapidated buildings near the railroad in different areas in Loveland. I imagine that these all have rich history. I do know that there is a fundraising campaign to raise monies for the old railroad depot over off Monroe. I think this is a great idea.

John Fogle – Candidate for Ward III

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

I have been the Council Liaison to the Loveland Historic Preservation Commission for 12 years, and one building particularly stands out.  The ‘Opera House’ at 4th and Cleveland is a wonderful example of Historic Restoration and the teamwork that can occur when developers and History folks come together to save a structure.  This building is now a wonderful remodel hosting a ‘pinball palace’ for kids of all ages – and the upstairs ‘Opera House’ is an active Multi-office space.

The exterior has been completely restored to its former glory and stands as a cornerstone of Loveland’s Downtown historic efforts.  I am extremely proud to have been involved through my work with HPC and the Loveland Downtown Development Authority which I also serve as a board member.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

I am incredibly proud to say I don’t believe any of our downtown buildings meet this criteria.  Active projects are underway on several structures and moving nicely.  Even the Great Western Train Depot has been slated for a move to City property following a recent agreement with OmniTrax, who owned the building.  Current projects with Historic activity are:  The Pulliam Building (abandoned Community Center) that is currently being remodeled with a $7m budget from City Council, The Draper – 5 building combo on 4th street that will save the historic components and facias of two of Loveland’s oldest historic structures – blending them into a new modern apartment building and retail center, The Feed and Grain – challenged structure that was purchased by ART Space and is now being remodeled into 9 apartments with working space/retail space for Artists, The ‘ELKS Lodge’ – whose exterior and  structural components were remodeled by State Historic funds is now undergoing a complete interior renovation to transform the structure into multiple retail and office space units, including restaurants and a proposed area for youth. The list can go on – and I am incredibly proud to have been closely involved with each of these projects over my 12 years as a City Councilor.

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

Energizing a community to understand the importance of Historic Preservation is the biggest challenge.  Through yearly outreach, sponsored commitments, and yeoman’s work – the Loveland Historic Preservation Commission in combination with the Loveland Historic Society has been contributing to this journey for many years.  Developers often see Historic Preservation as a hinderance to their plans, hence the need for strict regulations regarding demolition.  Overcoming that perception IS the job of the Historic Preservation Commission.  Folks don’t take traveling historic vacations to look at shiny new steel and glass structures, but thousands of folks yearly travels include Historic interests throughout Northern Colorado, and Downtown Loveland.  By repurposing older structures, Loveland has contributed greatly to the sustainability effort to keep our city current, while maintaining the past.  Through Historic walking tours, self-guided tour materials and more – Downtown Loveland and the surrounding area earns its ‘Historic Downtown’ designation every day.  For the last 7 years, the Historic Preservation Commission has enjoyed having a high school student sit as a voting member of the Commission.  Adding the vitality, perspective and overall energy of a teen to Historic conversations has been invaluable. Student involvement, guided tours, self-guided tours and historic projects every direction you look – Downtown Loveland has come a long way – and Loveland’s Historic Preservation Commission and the Loveland Historic Society should be commended for wonderful work.

Once you get ‘hooked on history’ – there is no cure.

I stand ready to serve 4 more years as a Loveland City Councilor, and proud liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission and Board Member of the Downtown Development Authority.

Zeke Cortez – Candidate for Ward IV

We haven’t received Zeke’s answers yet.

Laura Light-Kovacs – Candidate for Ward IV

We haven’t received Laura’s answers yet.

Emma Malaby Grocery Has Passed First Step to Becoming a Landmark

Image of a false front wood frame building with a front porch, large windows covered with plywood, and a side addition with a door.

On May 5th, 2023, Jim and Carol Burrill donated the Emma Malaby Grocery, along with the entire parcel of land it is on, which includes a stacked plank shed, barn, and well, to Historic Larimer County. The property had been in Jim’s family since 1906, when his great grandfather, Jacob Collamer, purchased the building from Benjamin Whedbee and hauled it to 313 N. Meldrum from N. College Avenue where it had been originally constructed in 1881 as a photography studio for George Wilkins.

On June 21st, Ron Sladek and Meg Dunn, with a few HLC members in the audience including board member, Sharon Danhauer, presented the property at 313 N. Meldrum to the Fort Collins Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) for a recommendation regarding landmarking the property. The HPC can’t designate a property themselves, but they can recommend that City Council designate a property as a local landmark.

The commission said that the nomination had been very thorough and they agreed with the applicants (HLC) that the property is significant in terms of events, people, architecture, and the potential to yield even more historic information in the future. (There are four areas of significance and a property only needs to be significant in one area to be considered a landmark. 313 N. Meldrum was found to be significant in all four! There is only one other property in Fort Collins that is also designated under all four areas of significance.) The vice-chair of the commission even said that he believed the store is worthy of being on the National Register of Historic Places, and he encouraged HLC to consider pursuing that designation as well.

After a very short discussion, the HPC unanimously passed a motion to recommend the Emma Malaby Grocery property to city council as a locally designated historic landmark. It is not yet known when the item will go before the city council, but if you are interested in reading the nomination form, you can find it in the HPC’s agenda from the 21st. The item begins on page 36 and the nomination form starts on page 39.

Press Release: Emma Malaby Grocery Donated to Historic Larimer County!

Minerva Stoneburner stands on the porch of the Frank A. Collamer Grocery. (Photo courtesy of Jim Burrill.)

Jim Burrill, the great grandson of Jacob A. Collamer, and his wife Carol Burrill have donated the 1881 Emma Malaby Grocery that has been in the Collamer family since 1906 to the regional historic preservation advocacy organization, Historic Larimer County. The building was originally constructed in 1881 on N. College Avenue as a photography studio for George T. Wilkins. Wilkins, his wife and daughter all lived as well as worked in the building. From 1900-1906 the building contained a millinery shop and continued to also be used as a residence. In 1906, Jacob A. Collamer purchased the building and hauled it to 313 N. Meldrum near his family home. The Commercial Bank & Trust Company built a new building at 146 N. College, the former site of the photography studio. Once on Meldrum, Jacob Collamer opened the Jacob Collamer Grocery for several years. He passed the store down to his daughter, Emma, and she renamed it the Emma Malaby Grocery.

Historic Larimer County advocates for historic preservation through community-based collaborative projects, education, and interpretation in order to connect people to place. The organization, led by a thirteen-member board representing Fort Collins and Loveland and all of the county’s smaller communities from Estes Park to Wellington and Livermore to Berthoud, has had no headquarters since the organization’s founding in 1988. The Emma Malaby Grocery will become the organization’s headquarters which will include a grocery store museum; displays sharing the stories of the Wilkins, the Collamers, and others who have used the building; an architectural history and preservation library; office and meeting space.

Historic Larimer County began as the Larimer County Historic Alliance in 1988 when a group of local advocates banded together to save the Franz-Smith cabin, now on display in Heritage Park near the old Carnegie Library in Fort Collins. In February 2016, Ron Sladek and Meg Dunn rebooted the organization with an active team of board members from throughout the county. Today Historic Larimer County holds monthly tours or talks, helping residents connect with the wide variety of historic places within our county. The organization also provides training events for municipal leaders, staff, and advocates and provides assistance to owners of historic properties.

In 2014, the building was used as a backdrop in a small, locally made movie called “Forget Me Not,” by Christopher McKee. A trailer for the movie can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/105061660 (Photo from Jim Burrill.) 

ChatGPT Advocates for Historic Preservation

I [Meg] was looking for an article on the importance of advocacy for Historic Preservation. I did a Google search and got a bunch of returns about advocating for a specific site or place, which wasn’t what I was looking for. I thought that maybe the new Bing AI could do a better job, but apparently it’s not open to the public yet. Then it dawned on me, perhaps ChatGPT can help.

First I asked, “What are some good articles about the important of historic preservation advocacy?” It returned three great sounding articles. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any of them online. (Did it just make them up? Hmmmm.) Not sure what to do I thought, why not ask ChatGPT to write something for me? So I did.

The prompt was, “Write a 1000 word article on Why Advocacy Matters in Historic Preservation.” This is what I got. 

Historic preservation refers to the protection and conservation of cultural heritage, including buildings, sites, monuments, and landscapes, that are significant to a community or society’s history and identity. This practice ensures that the physical evidence of our past remains intact for future generations to learn from and appreciate.

Advocacy plays a critical role in historic preservation, as it helps to raise awareness of the importance of preserving these cultural resources and encourages people to take action to protect them. In this article, we will explore why advocacy matters in historic preservation and examine some of the ways that advocacy can make a difference.

Advocacy Raises Awareness

One of the primary reasons why advocacy is so important in historic preservation is that it helps to raise awareness of the value of historic resources. Many people may not realize the significance of a particular building or site until they learn more about its history and cultural importance.

Advocacy can take many forms, from social media campaigns and public demonstrations to community meetings and educational programs. By sharing information about historic resources and their importance, advocates can help to build support for preservation efforts and encourage people to get involved.

Advocacy Builds Community

Another important role of advocacy in historic preservation is that it can help to build community. When people come together to work on preservation projects, they can form bonds and create a sense of shared purpose.

This sense of community can be particularly important in neighborhoods and communities that have experienced economic challenges or social change. By working together to preserve historic resources, residents can build a sense of pride and connection to their community’s history and identity.

Advocacy Protects Historic Resources

Perhaps the most crucial role of advocacy in historic preservation is that it can help to protect historic resources from damage or destruction. Unfortunately, many historic buildings and sites are at risk due to neglect, development pressures, or other threats.

Advocates can work to protect these resources in a variety of ways, from lobbying government officials to developing legal strategies to prevent demolition or alteration. By advocating for the preservation of historic resources, advocates can help to ensure that they remain intact for future generations.

Advocacy Promotes Sustainability

Another reason why advocacy is so important in historic preservation is that it can promote sustainability. Historic buildings and sites are often more environmentally friendly than modern structures, as they were designed to take advantage of natural light and ventilation.

By preserving these buildings and sites, advocates can help to promote sustainable living practices and reduce the carbon footprint of our built environment. Additionally, historic preservation can promote walkable communities and reduce the need for car-dependent lifestyles, further reducing our impact on the environment.

Advocacy Promotes Economic Development

Finally, advocacy can play an important role in promoting economic development in communities that prioritize historic preservation. Historic resources can be a significant draw for tourists and visitors, helping to support local businesses and create jobs.

Additionally, preservation projects can create jobs and stimulate economic activity in their own right, as they often require skilled labor and specialized expertise. By advocating for historic preservation, advocates can help to promote economic growth and support local businesses.

Conclusion

In conclusion, advocacy is a critical component of historic preservation. Advocacy helps to raise awareness of the value of historic resources, build community, protect historic resources, promote sustainability, and promote economic development.

If you are interested in getting involved in historic preservation advocacy, there are many ways to do so. Consider joining a local preservation organization or attending community meetings to learn more about preservation efforts in your area. You can also volunteer your time or donate money to support preservation projects, or reach out to government officials to advocate for the protection of historic resources.

By working together to advocate for the preservation of our cultural heritage, we can ensure that these resources remain intact for future generations to learn from and appreciate.

2019-2021 In Review

2019 - 2021 in Review

Puttering on Through a Pandemic

After several wonderful tours in 2019, member events were temperarily put on hold as we all learned how to use Zoom and other online meeting applications. Once we got the hang of connecting virtually, member events started back up again. But even while member events had taken a back burner, the board of HLC was still plugging away — assisting in local preservation efforts, advocating for a county-wide preservation ordinance, and responding to concerns from residents throughout the county who have called our attention to at-risk historic sites. 

Historic Larimer County’s annual Member’s Meeting was canceled in 2020, so for the 2021 meeting, a Year-in-Review video was put together that covered two years worth of events and activities. This short video is a great way to get a sense of all that Historic Larimer County does. 

This video was compiled by Meg Dunn with donations of photographs from several HLC members including Ron Sladek, Ken Jessen, Sue Schneider, and others. The Scott Joplin music was downloaded from the Free Music Archive.

 

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