About Us

As one of the nation’s premier nonprofit urban preservation organizations, Historic Denver, Inc. works everyday to protect and promote Denver’s historic places and spaces. Founded in 1970, Historic Denver believes Denver’s historic assets are part of its cultural fabric and essential to a diverse, dynamic, and distinctive city.

Through technical assistance, grants, project management, easement donations, and public programs, Historic Denver invests in the historic places and neighborhoods that are key to our city’s identity and help tell the stories of generations of Denverites. In our vibrant and growing city, Historic Denver is actively engaged every day in finding creative solutions to the places where growth and preservation meet.

Our Mission: Historic Denver exists to empower people to actively experience and thoughtfully maintain our city’s cultural landmarks and historic places today and into the future.

Molly Brown House Museum

Denver’s beloved Molly Brown House Museum — Historic Denver’s flagship property for over 50 years — showcases the legacy of Margaret “Molly” Brown, who held a lifelong belief in equal rights for all. Purchasing a ticket to one of the many educational and entertaining events at the museum supports Historic Denver’s mission.

VISIT MOLLY BROWN HOUSE MUSEUM

OUR
HISTORY

DECADE HIGHLIGHTS

In the 1960s and 1970s, as part of so-called urban renewal efforts, hundreds of historic properties in Denver were demolished. Historic Denver was born out of an extraordinary effort by preservation-minded Denverites to save the 1889 home of Titanic survivor Margaret “Molly” Brown from the same fate. Thanks to their efforts, the building stands today, and Historic Denver operates it as the Molly Brown House Museum, a must-see educational destination for locals and visitors alike.

The Molly Brown House became a catalyst for preservation throughout the city, Historic Denver has continued to lead the way every since — helping to restore 9th Street Historic Park, rehabilitate homes in the Curtis Park Neighborhood, rescue the Paramount Theater, and so much more. Five decades into our journey we remain actively engaged every day in the places that mean the most to Denverites — advocating for them and sharing their stories.

DECADE HIGHLIGHTS

The 2020s

  • Togther with community members Historic Denver played a critical role in the creation of the La Alma Lincoln Park Historic Cultural District, one of the first such ditricts to honor the history of Chicano/a Movement

  • To celebrate its 50th Anniversary, Historic Denver launched the 50 Actions for 50 Places Campaign and is investing in a preservation action for each of the diverse sites selected from public nominations.

  • Provided essential support for the East 7th Avenue-Steele Extension Historic District because it includes the former home of Judge Raymond Jones, Colorado’s first African-American judge on the Appellate Court and a long-time civil rights leader

  • Installed a Votes for Women Trail Marker in front of the Molly Brown House Museum to commemorate Brown’s role in the women’s suffrage movement. The sign was granted by the Pomeroy Foundation.

  • Helped broker a preservation-win for a rare Robert Roeschlaub-designed home in City park West, with new housing constructed on a once-vacant portion of the lot.

  • Helped raise over $250,000 with long-time friends and partners at the Black American West Museum in order to restore the exterior of the museum’s home, the Dr. Justina Ford House, first saved by Historic Denver thirty years earlier.

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

The 2010s

The 2010s

  • Historic Denver supporters celebrated 40 years of preservation with a street fair along the 9th Street Historic Park.

  • With great effort by local residents, Historic Denver supported the creation of six new historic districts: two in Curtis Park, one in South Denver, and three in North Denver, the Allen Ghost Historic District, the Packard’s Hill Historic District, and the River Drive Historic District.

  • Historic Denver was awarded a grant to begin the first-ever citywide survey of historic resources, called Discover Denver, which has documented more than 20,000 buildings to date.

  • Using the city’s demolition review ordinance, Historic Denver filed for designation for Cathedral High School, and a compromise saved 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.

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

  • Engaging with community-wide stakeholders, Historic Denver advocated for the historic relevance of the National Western Stock Show and encouraged the preservation of the site’s authentic buildings and characteristics.

The 2000s

The 2000s

  • Denver approved new local historic districts — including 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. The first project helped restore the 1890 Gothic Revival church located at 2222 W. 32nd Ave. in northwest Denver.

  • Historic Denver secured a federal grant and other funding to launch Denver Story Trek, a comprehensive storytelling program that transforms the cityscape into an interactive experience.

  • Historic Denver, along with preservation partners, successfully lobbied to renew the Colorado state historic preservation tax credit.

  • The Stapleton Hangar 61, a classic example of 1950s aviation architecture, was saved from demolition and designated a Denver landmark.

  • The National Trust for Historic Preservation awarded Historic Denver a grant that funds 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.

The 1990s

The 1990s

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

  • Historic Denver and History Colorado work with Denver Public Schools to ensure reuse and preservation of historic schools, earning a national award for a program helping students research and write landmark designation applications for their schools.

  • Restoration began on the Ferril House, an 1889 Queen Anne home at 2123 Downing Street to serve as the Colorado Center for the Book before eventually returning to residential use.

  • With grant funds from the Colorado State Historical Fund Historic Denver helped restore the Chamber of Commerce Building at 1726 Champa. More than 400 lights on the facade were replaced, 1960s pink panels were removed, and granite and terra cotta details were refurbished.

The 1980s

The 1980s

  • The Department of the Interior awarded Historic Denver money to begin restoration work in the Curtis Park neighborhood, which was built between 1885 and 1890 and has a wide variety of architectural styles and rich cultural heritage.

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

  • With Historic Denver’s help, the Mayan Theater was saved at the 11th hour and leased to the Landmark Theatre Corporation.

  • During construction of the Colorado Convention Center, the project spared the 1904 Evans School at 1115 Acoma, designed by David Dryden.

  • The Lower Downtown Historic District was established, preserving 180 historic buildings in 22 blocks.

    The 1970s

    The 1970s

    • Historic Denver bought and restored its first property — the Molly Brown House Museum.

    • The Tramway Cable Building was 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 the 9th Street Historic Park on the Auraria Campus, a block of residences built 1873-1905 that had been home to diverse generations of Denverites before Urban Renewal.

    • 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 Richthofen Castle, at 7020 E. 12th Ave., and the Croke-Patterson-Campbell House, a rare 1890 chateau-style home at 428-430 E. 11th Ave.

    • The 1891 Montclair School at 1301 Quebec St. was saved when Historic Denver and residents of the Montclair community found a buyer who agreed not to demolish the building. The structure still serves as a school today.

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