State Historical Fund Grants Awarded
Historic Denver is pleased to announce that we have been awarded two grants by the State Historical Fund in the most recent grant round. The announcement, made August 1st, awarded over $4.4 million to 43 preservation projects across Colorado. Historic Denver's grants will help restore two historic buildings in Denver: The Beth HaMedrosh Hagodol Synagogue at 16th and Gaylord Street, and Sayre's Alhambra, across from the Governor's Residence.
The Beth HaMedrosh Hagodol Synagogue was built in 1921 for Denver's growing orthodox Jewish congregation. The congregation occupied this space until 1969, when they moved to their current home on South Monaco. This two story Classical Revival brick building stood vacant for several years until The Church in the City, a non-denominational Christian congregation, purchased the synagogue in 2008 and undertook extensive interior restorations to prepare it for occupancy. One important item that had not yet been addressed was the condition of the exterior masonry of the building. Several past campaigns of repointing created a patchwork effect on the building’s elevations, with incorrectly colored mortar used instead of the original charcoal-colored mortar. Historic Denver and The Church in the City are beginning a massive campaign to address the exterior masonry, rehabilitate the building, and ensure that it will stand for another century.
Sayre's Alhambra was built by Colorado pioneer, Hal Sayre. An experienced engineer, Sayre used his extensive skills and knowledge to make a name for himself during the Gold Rush. In 1872, he moved to Denver, where he took up banking and became a prominent businessman in Denver society. While traveling in Spain, Sayre admired Alhambra Palace and was inspired to have his own 24-room mansion built at 801 Logan in Denver. This Moorish style mansion, with its elegant details and carefully chosen features, is a unique example of its type in Denver.
The Providence Network purchased Sayre's Alhambra in 1988, renaming it Providence House, with a mission to facilitate healing and self-sufficiency among impoverished men, women, and families suffering from addictions, abuse, and homelessness. The elaborate windows (both clear and stained glass) which give the building its distinctive character have deteriorated greatly. Providence Network has committed to restore the windows as a part of a partnership with Energy Outreach Colorado (EOC) to increase the energy efficiency of all their buildings.
The State Historical Fund was created by the 1990 constitutional amendment allowing limited-stakes gaming in the towns of Cripple Creek, Central City, and Black Hawk. The amendment directs that a portion of the gaming tax revenues be used for historic preservation throughout the state. 28% of the tax revenue generated by gambling is put into the State Historical Fund. Of that fund, 20% returns to the gambling towns to further their preservation, and 80% is directed into preservation grants throughout the state. Funds are distributed through a competitive process and all projects must demonstrate strong public benefit and community support. Grants vary in size, from a few hundred dollars to amounts in excess of $200,000. The State Historical Fund assists in a wide variety of preservation projects including restoration and rehabilitation of historic buildings, architectural assessments, archaeological excavations, designation and interpretation of historic places, preservation planning studies, and education and training programs. In the last two decades, History Colorado through SHF has invested more than $262 million in more than 4,000 preservation projects in Colorado communities in all 64 counties. The State Historical Fund makes Colorado one of the leading states in the country for historic preservation.