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Learn to preserve history in Edwards

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Bob Ogle, the director of the historical preservation program for Colorado Mountain College, says about 90 percent of the history in a community like Eagle County, Colorado isn’t unique.

But that 10 percent is what makes Eagle or Gypsum, or any other place on the planet, truly special.

Ogle, who is based out of the community college’s Timberline campus in Leadville, traveled to Eagle Tuesday to drum up enrollment for an Introduction to Historic Preservation class that will be offered at the college’s Edwards campus this winter.



The class marks the first time the college’s historic preservation program has branched out from its Leadville base.

Speaking at a meeting of the Western Eagle Valley Rotary Club, Ogle noted that nationwide, there’s a historic preservation boom happening.



Congressional action has provided federal tax breaks for companies and individuals who undertake preservation projects and Colorado has developed its own inventive incentive programs.

But while there is a Colorado market for historic preservation expertise, Ogle said there hasn’t been an educational program to supply the demand in the state. That’s the program was launched in the fall of 2006. Today, students can earn an associate degree in the discipline through the Timberline campus.

That program includes focus areas for students who are interested in carpentry techniques or interior arts or building history. In addition to the classroom work, the college has purchased an extensive collection of 19th century tools to actually school students on 1800s building techniques. One classroom project involved the manufacture of exterior shutters to replace the dilapidated ones hanging at the Healy House Museum in Leadville.



Students were able to produce authentic shutters using period tools and techniques. It’s partnerships like this one that excite Ogle.

“We work with funding partners on actual projects. Community-based projects are the best,” he said.

For instance, his students recently worked with the town of Avon documenting and disassembling the Nottingham Power Plant. Built in the early 1900s by the Nottingham family, the plant provided an independent electricity source for the family property. The town brought in the college as part of its effort to preserve this unique part of the community’s history.

“Another thing we do with these type of partnerships is help people find the money,” Ogle said.

That’s one reason why Ogle has attracted the attention of the folks at the Eagle County Historical Society.

John Bronn of the Eagle County Historical Society told Ogle that the group would like to find a way to move the yellow house located at the corner of Broadway and Second Street to the Chambers Park area.

“It’s either going to end up as a stack of blocks or it’s going to get moved,” Bronn noted.

The concrete block home was a mail order house for Sears. It was originally built for Charles McEllen in 1908.

Bronn said the historical society has some interesting anecdotal evidence about the residence. The late Rolland Randall, a lifelong Eagle resident, recalled playing in a local barn where the concrete forms used to build the yellow house blocks, as well as the blocks for some other Eagle homes, were stored.

Developer Rick Newman has purchased the three buildings located on the southeast corner of Third and Broadway extending a half-block to the alley. He has stated his desire to redevelop the property , but has not yet submitted a plan to the town. The future of the little yellow house has not be decided.

Earlier this year, Newman said he was investigating the logistics of moving the house and would only tear it down as a last resort. Bronn noted the college could be a big help, from a funding standpoint, as locals work to preserve the structure.

pboyd@eaglevalleyenterprise.com


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