Friday, March 17, 2017

Day 32: National Register of Historic Places

While it’s unclear whether Thomas Jefferson believed in the luck of the Irish, he would certainly applaud our efforts to preserve the historic Baldpate Inn. He is attributed for saying, “I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
The Baldpate Inn Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in January of 1996.   This was not an overnight project!  

As early as 1992, while preparing for our 75th birthday celebrations, we were presented with the suggestion to get it listed by friends and the Colorado Historical Society.

“Sure!” we thought. We requested and completed the initial application, with an eye to protecting our property from thoughtless destruction someday down the road. What I initially did not understand, was this was just the application for the application!  Once the entire process was better understood, my lack of expertise was evident and we asked for help.

History Colorado generously gave us a grant which was used to oversee our National Register application project. Using those grant funds, Judith Broeker of Preservation Unlimited, and Cynthia Shaw McLauqhlin of American Vernacular worked with us over the next several years to complete the necessary documentation to actually apply for the Department of Interior’s prestigious National Register designation. These talented ladies did hours upon hours of research to document our worthiness for being accepted.

Additionally, they brought in fantastic teams, like the one from University of Colorado Department of Architecture that completed extensively detailed drawings of our main building. We did have some fun moments as the students discovered just how not cookie cutter the slope of a building can be, especially when it was built into the side of a mountain years ago.

Another surprising discovery is that you have to buy your own plaque and road signage, but hey, no one said it was easy to be special! 

As you can see from our application, our Baldpate Historic District includes eleven buildings (we did not own the Homestead at the time) although we only bought a plaque for the Main Lodge!

In the end, the Baldpate Historic District qualified based on numerous factors that included architectural significance and historical importance.  We do truly feel blessed not just by the designation, but more especially by the work of so many to help protect this enchanted property for generations to come.

Written by Lois Smith

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