Did you know?

Urban legend holds that a tunnel once connected The Brown Palace Hotel with the historic Navarre building across the street. It is rumored that gentlemen staying at the hotel traveled discreetly by rail car through the tunnel to the Navarre, a one-time house of gambling and prostitution.

History

Historic Denver was founded in 1970 through extraordinary citizen effort to save the 1889 home of Titanic survivor, Margaret "Molly" Brown, which the organization continues to operate as the Molly Brown House Museum. The project became a catalyst for preservation throughout the city and Historic Denver has continued to lead the way, supporting projects such as the restoration of 9th Street Historic Park, the rehabilitation of the Curtis Park neighborhood, the rescue of the Paramount Theater and the significant technical assistance provided through the Sacred Landmarks and Preservation for Living Programs.

As one of the nation’s premier non-profit urban historic preservation organizations, Historic Denver, Inc. works to protect and promote Denver's historic places. Through grant funds and easement donations, Historic Denver has invested over $20 million dollars into our community and neighborhoods, heightening awareness of our architectural heritage and educating and empowering neighborhoods to positively affect quality changes in our developing city. Almost four decades into our journey, we continue to advocate for Denver’s identity as a city that remembers and respects its past as it plans for the future.


Highlights by Decade


The 1970s

• Historic Denver Buys And Restores First Property—The Molly Brown House Museum

• Tramway Cable Building Saved -- Designed by William E. and Arthur A. Fisher, the building was restored and leased as restaurant and office space

• An anonymous donation was given to begin restoration work on Auraria Campus--the 9th St. Historic Park, a block of Victorian era residences built between 1873- 1905. Historic Denver raised additional funds for the project

• Historic Denver initiated the use of easements for historic preservation and gained a façade easement, guaranteeing the perpetual protection and maintenance of the exterior of the 1887 Richtofen Castle, at 7020 E. 12th Avenue and the Croke- Patterson- Campbell House, a rare 1890 chateau style home located at 428-430 E 11th Avenue.

• The 1891 Montclair School was saved when Historic Denver and citizens of the Montclair community found a purchaser that agreed not to demolish the building at 1301 Quebec Street and the structure still serves as a school today.

• The Sheedy Mansion was saved when Historic Denver worked with a local realtor to find a purchaser interested in the preservation of the 1892 late Victorian era home located at 1115 Grant St.


The 1980s

• The Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service of the Department of the Interior awarded Historic Denver money to begin restoration work in the Curtis Park neighborhood, which has a wide variety of architectural styles constructed between 1885- 1890.

• Historic Denver formed the Historic Paramount Foundation and purchased the Paramount Theater designed by Temple H. Buell, to preserve and rehabilitate this 1930s Art Deco theater.

• The 1889 Navarre, a former brothel located at 1725 Tremont, reopened as the Museum of Western Art after Historic Denver successfully introduced legislation that allows designated Denver landmark buildings to transfer unused development rights.

• Dr. Justina Ford’s home, built in 1890, was moved from its original location at 2335 Arapahoe and relocated to 31st and California by Historic Denver to prevent demolition in 1984. It is now the Black American West Museum.

• With Historic Denver’s help, the Mayan Theater was restored and leased to the Landmark Theatre Corporation.

• The Colorado Convention Center spared the 1904 Evans School designed by David Dryden and located at 1115 Acoma during the second phase of the construction.

• Lower Downtown Historic District formed and included 180 buildings in 22 blocks.

The 1990s

• The Crawford Hill Mansion, an amazing French Renaissance 1906 home located at 969 Sherman, and designed by Theodore Boal was saved.

• Historic Denver and the Colorado Historical Society reached an agreement with the Denver Public Schools to analyze historic school buildings for preservation and reuse, and wins a national preservation award for a program encouraging students to research and write landmark designation applications for their schools

• Restoration began on the Ferril House, a 1889 Queen Anne home located at 2123 Downing to become the new home of the Colorado Center for the Book

• Historic Denver assisted in obtaining a grant from the State Historical Fund to restore the Chamber of Commerce Building at 1726 Champa Street. More than 400 lights on the façade were replaced, pink panels added in 1950s were removed and granite columns and terracotta details were refurbished.


The 2000s

• Humboldt St. Neighbors and Historic Denver protested a California developer’s plan to plop a square, 46’ tall- four story building in the middle of the Victorian homes on Humboldt. City Council imposed an eight block moratorium to stop the project, and declared an overlay that added restrictions to the zoning.

• Denver inherited two new local historic districts—the Baker Neighborhood and Downtown Denver. Downtown’s designation protects 43 buildings from speculative demolition with an innovative new type of historic district.

• The Sacred Landmarks program was developed to help restore churches and the first project assisted the 1890 Gothic Revival structure located at 2222 W 32nd Ave in northwest Denver.

• The Stapleton Hangar 61, a classic example of 1950s aviation architecture was saved from demolition. It was designated as a Denver landmark which will ensure its continued preservation.

• Historic Denver, with preservation partners, successfully lobbies to renew the Colorado State Historic preservation tax credit.

• A Partners in the Field grant was awarded to Historic Denver from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which provides funding to offer direct technical assistance to owners of historic homes throughout the Denver metro-area through hands-on educational workshops focusing on wooden window repair, improving energy efficiency and basic exterior maintenance.

• Historic Denver secures a federal Preserve America grant and other funding to launch Denver Story Trek, a comprehensive heritage tourism program that transforms the cityscape into an interactive experience


The 2010s

• Historic Denver supporters celebrate 40 years of preservation with a street-fair along 9th Street Historic Park

• With great effort by the neighbors, Historic Denver supports the creation of three new historic districts, two in Curtis Park, and the Allen Ghost Historic District

• Historic Denver awarded a grant to begin the first-ever citywide survey of Historic Resources, Discover Denver

• Using the city’s demolition review ordinance, Historic Denver is able to file for designation for the Cathedral High School, and a compromise saves the building from demolition.

• Historic Denver works with homeowners to designate a unique Eugene Groves-designed residence, the Holland House and the Margaret Long House, which sits prominently on Colorado Boulevard.

• Engaging with community-wide stakeholders, Historic Denver advocates for the heritage of the National Western Stock Show and encourages the preservation of the site’s authentic characteristics

• With a groundswell of community support Historic Denver stops Denver Public Schools from a plan that could lead to the demolition of the Emily Griffith School, paving the way for a proactive and preservation-minded outcome.