Archive | May, 2012

Historic Preservation Month: Explore Colorado Mining Country—Past and Present—on a Unique 6-Day Tour

28 May
Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) is celebrating 2012 National Historic Preservation Month with Celebrating Historic Preservation in Colorado Communities. Throughout May, DCI will highlight projects and historic preservation best practices that contribute to downtown revitalization across the state.

Leisure West Tours and History Colorado offer an unforgettable trip to Colorado’s gold mines and ghost towns, August 12–17

Leisure West Tours, a local tour company, has teamed up with History Colorado to offer an exclusive 6-day bus tour through some of Colorado’s most fascinating gold mines and ghost towns. The tour includes interpretation in history, archaeology and historic preservation as participants experience Colorado’s spectacular scenery—from Cripple Creek to the San Juan Mountains.

Adventures are at every turn: Explore backcountry in 4-wheel drive vehicles and walk in the footsteps of early miners; discover ghost towns and abandoned mines; walk among the ruins of buildings and see equipment left behind; ride an old “trammer” into Galena Mountain to examine mining as it used to be; see how time stood still in a historic processing mill and learn how the gold was extracted from the ore; even tour of one of the largest active open-pit gold mines in the world.
Tour highlights include the Cripple Creek & Victor mine (an actively operating gold mine), the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, the Homestead House Brothel Museum, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, the Old Hundred Mine and the Mayflower Mill in spectacular Silverton.
The tour includes five night’s hotel, baggage handling, nine meals, deluxe motor coach transportation, all attractions and tours. Leisure West Tours will donate a portion of the proceeds from the trip to History Colorado’s educational programs for children and adults.
The tour is open to the public with a special rate for History Colorado members. The tour departs from Denver. Seats are limited; reservations will be taken until June 30. The cost is $1,227 for History Colorado members and $1,327 for the general public.
To learn more about this tour, visit, or call 303-659-4858. To book this tour, call History Colorado at (303) 866-4686.
For more information about History Colorado, visit

Historic Preservation Month Feature: Lake City Cafe

21 May

Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) is celebrating 2012 National Historic Preservation Month with Celebrating Historic Preservation in Colorado Communities. Throughout May, DCI will highlight projects and historic preservation best practices that contribute to downtown revitalization across the state. 

Drew Paschall has purchased the previously known “Old Timer’s Café” and is in the process of renaming the business to the long-standing “Lake City Café” as well as historically preserving the building to its original splendor.  Mr. Paschall expects to open the restaurant – with an exciting new menu – as early as mid-June, 2012.

The structure was obscured Lake City history which was literally unwrapped as workmen earlier this month removed a 1970s-era veneer to reveal the wood lapsiding, towering doorway openings, and framed panels beneath window openings from a long-forgotten downtown business building.

Paschall purchased the old Lake City Café building from Roy Todd earlier this summer and immediately set about returning the Gunnison Avenue building to its original appearance by removing exterior shingles and wood beams which had been added during a remodeling (early 1970s).

The building has previously functioned as a bakery and as a mortuary.  A circa 1910 photo that includes Emma Sweet Michaels posing in front of the building is being used by Paschall as a historical reference for the restoration project.

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Historic Preservation Month features the Stone Bank Block, Lake City

15 May

Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) is celebrating 2012 National Historic Preservation Month with Celebrating Historic Preservation in Colorado Communities. Throughout May, DCI will highlight projects and historic preservation best practices that contribute to downtown revitalization across the state. 


Known as the Stone Bank Block, the building was constructed by First National Bank and John S. Hough, and completed in 1877.  The beautiful cut-stone and all the furnishings totaled $22,000.  This building is unique in the area as it showcases stone arches and French plate glass panels.  The Miners and Merchants Bank bought the building in 1881 and operated until 1914 when many of the mines closed and business stagnated.  Through the years, the building has seen a variety of uses, including the Lake City Post Office, an ice cream parlor, silent movie theater, the office of Lake City Power Company, a restaurant, liquor store, cocktail lounge and dance floor.  The upstairs has been used as the Lake City Hotel and offices for physicians, attorneys, and dentists.   For many years, the building was operated as the Elkhorn Hotel.  A group of local businessmen reopened the renovated building and a banking institution is once again operating in this location.  In 2007, the bank was renamed “Miners and Merchants Bank.”

After- Lake City

Over the winter of 2011-2012, extensive historic preservation work was completed on the Miners and Merchants Bank, including re-plastering of the stone walls and stairwells, re-painting, and new carpet was installed.  This building currently houses the Miners and Merchants Bank on the ground floor and offices for Lake City DIRT (who oversees the Lake City Main Street program), the Silver World Newspaper, Native Sun Construction, and Mike Coffin, Marketing Specialist.  A former storage room has also been converted into a new office for the Bank President.

“This type of historic preservation project embodies the values of Lake City,” says Grant Houston, editor of the Silver World Newspaper as well as the president and founder of the Hinsdale County Historical Society and a DIRT board member.  “We are fortunate that so much care has gone into protecting this iconic building.”

Lake City DIRT, a Colorado Main Street Program



Profile: Colorado Brownfields Foundation

10 May

Over the next few months, DCI will be featuring a short profile on various Colorado partner organizations and agencies that can help support you in your community revitalization work.

The Colorado Brownfields Foundation (CBF) provides technical assistance to communities interested in redevelopment, renovation, and adaptive reuse of property. CBF accomplishes its mission by providing: area-wide opportunity assessments; property and transaction reuse strategies; redevelopment training; and project coordination services. Resulting public benefits have included blight removal, business-ready sites and community places, and recovered open space.

Since 2003, the nonprofit CBF has designed and implemented strategies to recycle abandoned sites into economically productive community assets. Its strategy focuses on clearing environmental remnants left over from earlier times such as gas stations, dry cleaners, dumps, asbestos, and mining-related uses. This focus not only increases real estate investment interest and enables financing, but also improves environmental quality and ensures community safety. Gap funding assistance for environmental grants and low-interest cleanup financing is a critical component in CBF’s toolbox.

CBF staff is in the envious position of visiting all corners of the state while helping further important community goals. Recent technical assistance we have provided has supported new community centers, health clinics, renewable energy development, and heritage tourism.

In Las Animas, the former Bent County High School is a distinctive structure at the town’s entrance. Once graceful, it is now deteriorating…but soon to be a new public gathering place! CBF assisted the community by providing guidance on environmental and regulatory issues that enabled a repurposing strategy. Most significantly, with CBF’s mentoring, the county was awarded a $96,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for removal of asbestos and pigeon guano. This abatement is a critical first step on the road to revitalization, both for the former high school and the greater community.

The historic Ute Ulay mine town site and mill in Hinsdale County has long been an unofficial visitor attraction despite its deteriorating condition and unknown environmental safety. When the current owner offered to donate the historic town site to the county, the county reached out to CBF for direction on transaction strategies, environmental due diligence, and gap funding. CBF helped secure granted environmental due diligence prior to acquisition and, in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, CBF is now granting technical assistance including advocacy as a regulatory liaison, assistance with contractor procurement, and coordination through the clean-up process.

CBF sometimes acquires difficult sites to turn them into marketable assets. Recently, CBF accepted the donation of a busted, boarded-up, methamphetamine lab home in Northglenn. Chase Bank donated the foreclosed property to CBF, who subsequently identified funding to mitigate asbestos and meth contamination. In partnership with a local builder, Community Builders, Inc., the house was rebuilt as a new, modern, energy-efficient home which sold affordably to a first-time homebuyer. During construction, surplus material and services including poured concrete and tree-trimming was provided to surrounding neighbors.

Jesse Silverstein, Executive Director of CBF, sums it up, “Many communities lack technical and financial resources and are missing an economic development opportunity; CBF’s services fill a critical role in recovering community assets and improving Colorado’s environment.”

For more information on Colorado Brownfields Foundation, please visit

Communities: All Saint’s Church at Eben Ezer Lutheran Care Center (Brush, CO)

10 May

Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) is celebrating 2012 National Historic Preservation Month with Celebrating Historic Preservation in Colorado Communities. Throughout May, DCI will highlight projects and historic preservation best practices that contribute to downtown revitalization across the state. 

The All Saints Church at the Eben Ezer Lutheran Care Center (EELCC) is located in Brush, Colorado and functions as the chapel for an elderly care facility. Constructed between 1916 and 1918, it was built in the tradition of 13th century churches in Denmark that served cloisters and hospitals. Originally serving a sanitarium for tuberculosis recovery, the Eben Ezer complex today provides continuous care housing, spiritual and medical support services for the elderly and others with special needs. The All Saints Church building has undergone several modifications since its construction including the addition of the bell tower between 1950 and 1951, basement remodeling, exterior rehabilitation, and the addition of a side aisle and toilet rooms. In 1983, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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In 2008 SLATERPAULL Architects completed a Historic Structure Assessment (HSA) for the All Saints Church building, funded with a grant from History Colorado, the Colorado Historical Society.  Working closely with EELCC, SLATERPAULL identified the most critical deficiencies at the building, and created a phased work plan to address these items. A grant to complete the critical deficiencies was awarded by History Colorado, and work to mitigate the issues commenced in 2011. The project included site and drainage work, replacement of a flat roof area, rehabilitation of the interior museum space, and overall exterior rehabilitation of the building including replacement of an inappropriate screen door, work at the concrete foundation, and an area of foundation water-proofing.

The project was completed late in 2011, and has resulted in reduction of water infiltration due to site drainage issues, increased public safety at building entrances, and a museum space within the historic building which will be open to the public and enjoyed by future generations.

Though the issues addressed at Eben Ezer were not as evident as those at Rankin Presbyterian, both serve to prolong the life and use of the building, preserving our past for generations to come.

View more pictures on the DCI Facebook!

Celebrating Historic Preservation in Colorado Communities: Rankin Presbyterian Church

1 May

Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) is celebrating 2012 National Historic Preservation Month with Celebrating Historic Preservation in Colorado Communities. Throughout May, DCI will highlight projects and historic preservation best practices that contribute to downtown revitalization across the state. The first project that DCI will feature is the Rankin Presbyterian Church in Brush, Colorado.

Rankin Presbyterian Church was completed in 1907, replacing the original church building that the congregation used starting in 1891.  Bricks were donated by a local brick plant, and the large stained and leaded glass windows in the building were donated by members of the congregation.  Shortly after completion of the church, a parsonage was constructed adjacent to the south side of the building.  This parsonage was relocated in 1964 for the construction of an education and fellowship addition to the south side of the church.  Aside from the construction of the addition, the exterior of the building has remained relatively unchanged since its completion.  The 1907 church and 1964 addition continue to serve as home to the congregation of Rankin Presbyterian Church.  The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007 for its significance as an example of the Late Gothic Revival Style.  In addition, the building is listed as a historical site by the City of Brush.

Seeking to rehabilitate the beautiful historic building, the congregation pursued and was awarded a Historic Structure Assessment (HSA) grant from History Colorado, the Colorado Historical Society, in 2009.  The HSA identified several areas of concern including the condition of the exterior masonry, the porch roof drainage, and foundation water-proofing.  A grant application was submitted to History Colorado in late 2009 to address these issues and was awarded in 2010.  Though the porch roof drainage and foundation water-proofing were addressed, the majority of the project consisted of masonry rehabilitation.

Rankin Presbyterian Church, Before.

Before Renovation

The exterior of the church is constructed of dry pressed red brick in a running bond pattern.  A cast stone base is typical on all sides of the original church building, as are cast stone decorative trim elements including cast stone bands, window sills, and buttress caps.  At the onset of the project, the masonry was in poor condition, with many of the original cast stone units severely deteriorated, open mortar joints throughout the stone and brick, and areas of streaking from cast stone material washing down the face of the brick building.  Early in 2012, the rehabilitation project was completed, with Spectrum General Contractors overseeing Building Restoration Specialties, the mason for the project.  SLATERPAULL Architects worked closely with the congregation throughout the grant writing efforts, the HSA, and the rehabilitation project.

Rankin Presbyterian Church

After Renovation

The building’s rehabilitation truly struck a chord with the community, being located centrally in the Brush, Colorado community.  As one congregant remarked, “Words can not describe the pride we feel when we see the work that has been completed to save our beautiful church.”  Another stated “We may not have many members but I believe our predecessors would be proud of what we have accomplished.”   Completion of the rehabilitation work will allow for continual use of the beautiful structure for many years to come, preserving an important part of the Brush area history.

View more pictures on the DCI Facebook!