“If we don’t care about our past, we cannot hope for the future.” – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

The City of Boulder follows that inspiration from the former First Lady with the Parks and Recreation Department’s Historic Places Plan (HiPP), which will steward 12 culturally relevant and historically designated resources in our community.

“The final plan will guide the department’s ongoing operation and preservation of the sites and encourages an innovative and collaborative approach to their stewardship,” said retired Program Manager for Historical and Cultural Assets Caitlin Berube-Smith.

In addition, the plan will guide future improvements for two city projects funded by the recently extended Community, Culture, Resilience and Safety tax: the Glen Huntington Band Shell, as a part of Civic Area Phase 2, and Pearl Street Mall. Planning for these projects will take place over the next few years with community input also informing final designs.

The HiPP is partially funded by a $190,000 grant from History Colorado’s State Historical Fund.

Staff, consultant Mundus Bishop, and community stakeholders recently wrapped up the first three phases (of five), which has included background research, a condition assessment of the sites, a property history for each resource, and much more.

The twelve resources/sites include:

Historic Districts

Buildings/structures

Rolling stock

  • Colorado & Northwestern Railroad Locomotive No. 30
  • Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad Caboose No. 04990
  • Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad Coach No. 280

Archeological Site

  • Boyd Smelter Site

These sites have a rich and interesting history! Did you know:

  • The bandshell is one of few examples of art-deco bandshells in Colorado. Erected by the Lions Club in 1938, the site has served as a hub for cultural gatherings and community celebrations, including last summer’s Arts in the Park.
  • Fire Station No. 2 has been a Pottery Lab longer than a fire station! Built in 1908, the fire station became a pottery lab in 1956 and is currently run by Studio Arts Boulder.
  • Columbia Cemetery was established in 1870, one year prior to incorporation of the City of Boulder. It is one of two Colorado cemeteries listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Kate Harbeck, one of the original owners of the Harbeck-Berghiem House, left $50,000 to the “Boulder Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.” The gift helped create the Boulder County Humane Society (now the Boulder Valley Humane Society). Harbeck loved her dogs so much that she may have held a funeral service and buried one of them at Columbia Cemetery.

Future work on the HiPP will include developing preservation recommendations to manage activities and improvements at each site, along with the development of community building, volunteerism, and funding opportunities.

A draft HiPP will be reviewed with the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board in the third quarter of 2022. The public will also have the opportunity to review the draft prior to the meeting, with additional engagement opportunities through the department’s Master Plan Update.

Learn more about the Historic Places Plan and sign up for notifications and future engagement opportunities at bouldercolorado.gov/projects/historic-places-plan.

Pearl Street Mall construction in 1976
Pearl Street Mall's opening in 1977