Historic Preservation Program Background
In the early 1970's, the Boulder area lost several important buildings to new development. The community responded with a grassroots effort aimed at legally protecting the city's many historic places. In 1974, the Boulder Historic Preservation Ordinance was passed. With the City Council adoption of this code, Boulder became one of the first cities in Colorado with the authority to designate and prevent the demolition or destruction of historic, architectural, and cultural resources considered valuable to the community. Today, more than 30 communities in Colorado have similar historic preservation ordinances, many of which are based on Boulder's model.
Historic preservation is about recognizing and protecting something --an older building or neighborhood or a piece of landscape, for instance-- because of its importance to the community. This might mean saving a building because it has architectural or educational value, or because it links us to characters or events from the past. It also means protecting modest, simple buildings along with high-style, elaborate ones. We recognize that many of our old buildings still have plenty of life left in them; whether they continue to be used the way they were originally intended or are reused in some new "adaptive" way, there are environmental, economic and social benefits to preserving them.
Historic Preservation does not, however, mean a static environment. The preservation ordinance provides criteria for alterations, allowing our historic buildings and neighborhoods to adapt and change with the times, while protecting their historic character.
"Buildings are sometimes referred to as timeless, as if this were the highest praise one could bestow. That is nonsense. The best buildings...are precisely of their time. That is part of the pleasure of looking at buildings from the past. They reflect old values and bygone virtues and vices...That is why old buildings are precious, that is why we fight to preserve them. It is not only because we think them beautiful, or significant. It is also because they remind us of who we once were. And who we might be again, for old buildings also inspire."
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 February 2013 10:15