MEEKER I History Colorado’s State Historical Fund Director Steve W. Turner announced that the Town of Meeker, in collaboration with the Rio Blanco County Historical Society’s (RBCHS) National Historic District Task Force, has been awarded a $21,262 grant to fund a professional historical consultant.
The consultant will initiate an extensive evaluation of historic Meeker structures located within the identified boundaries of the proposed district, and subsequently prepare a nomination for creation of a National Historic District to be submitted to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service.
The Freeman Fairfield Charitable Trust has also provided the required 25 percent matching funds in the amount of $7,088 for the total sum of $28,350 necessary to initiate the evaluation and nomination process.
Due to the extensive number of detailed evaluation documents and research of historic records necessary to corroborate the origin and subsequent lineage of the structures, it is estimated that the full process culminating in an historic district nomination will require approximately 24 months
The process is expected to begin in January with the selection of a professional consultant, who will then work closely with the Town of Meeker and the RBCHS National Historic District Task Force to develop milestones and comply with the strict guidelines and deadlines for such documentation set by History Colorado and the National Park Service.
In 2009, the Town of Meeker commissioned the University of Colorado at Denver College of Architecture and Planning to conduct an extensive evaluation of potential historic structures within the city limits, funded by a History Colorado State Historical Fund grant. The university contracted the Architectural Firm of Susannah Reid Associates to document and complete that study, which will serve as a basis for the current evaluation process.
Acting on that information, History Colorado’s Office of Archaeology and Preservation conducted an evaluation of the downtown historic area in 2013 and identified an eligible potential historic district which runs from Third Street on the east through Eighth Street on the west and is bounded by Park Street on the north and Main Street on the south.
Future steps will include setting up meetings with property owners of eligible private residences and commercial or government-owned historic structures to discuss the benefits and advantages of designating their property as historic structures within the proposed historic district.
Participation is totally optional and at the discretion of the property owner. There are significant benefits and opportunities such as grant funding for restoration of the exterior of such structures to their original historic appearances as well as tax credits and national recognition on websites and publications that can enhance property values.
These and many other details will be presented to interested property owners once the project commences with the consultant and task force members. It should be noted that eligible historic structures outside of the boundaries of the proposed historic district may also be eligible for designation as a state and/or national historic place with similar advantages.
There are currently three historic structures designated as National Historic Places within the city limits of Meeker, including St. James’ Episcopal Church, the historic Meeker Hotel and most recently the IOOF (Odd Fellows Building), now owned by the Mountain Valley Bank.
The historic Coal Creek School on County Road 6 was designated as a National Historic Place in 2014 and is the recipient of a History Colorado State Historical Fund grant to the RBCHS for $132,728 along with 25 percent matching funds from various local organizations for renovation and restoration of the structure, which is now underway. Other designated National Historic Places in Rio Blanco County may be seen at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Register_of_Historic_Places_listings_in_Rio_Blanco_County,_Colorado
There are approximately 110 National Historic Districts in various Colorado cities that have been shown to enhance heritage tourism and, thus, improve economic development and related benefits to those rural and urban communities.
For more information please contact the RBCHS at 970-878-9982 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.