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Researching the history of your house

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Or other favorite buildings in Central City

By Barbara Thielemann

The Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation has prepared a very helpful document to assist historic researchers find vital information of old buildings. An owner of a historic house or building might be encouraged to obtain a National, State, or local Historic designation. When such occurs, the significance of this property is recognized, and it also establishes eligibility for various grants and tax credit programs.

One does not need to be discouraged at such a daunting project. A good place to start is the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, 1200 Broadway Blvd., Denver. (www.historycolorado.org/oahp) As administrators of the Colorado Inventory of Cultural Resources, information of some 120,000 Colorado sites is available. The Western History/Genealogy Department of the Denver Public library also has a wealth of research material.

Central City researchers might find references in Colorado’s oldest weekly newspaper, the Weekly Register-Call. (www.weeklyregistercall.com). Also explore the Gilpin Historical Museum, 228 East First High Street, for relevant articles and the city’s household and business directories. Don’t forget the geographical and biographical files of the local museum. Past owners, photographs, dates of construction and alterations are recorded in the Gilpin County Assessors Office and/or the Central City Clerk’s Office. Sandborn Insurance Maps prepared beginning in the late 1800s reveal details about footprint/ building shape and size, construction materials, and use. These maps also include information regarding estimated construction dates tracking the changing development patterns of the neighborhood.

You might also check the Steven H. Hart Library & Research Center at History Colorado Facilities. The Gilpin County tax assessor’s office might be able to provide you with legal descriptions, names of former owners, basic floor plan, and dates of alterations.

Researching your favorite place might seem slow. However, it can be fun connecting to Central’s building or planning office (building permits), water department (water tap records), as well as St. James United Methodist Church, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and cemetery records. One of the best and most often overlooked resources are the senior members of the community.

Main Street Central City offers copies of this edited document. Contact MSCC at P.O. Box 216, Central City, CO 80427-0216. Also another resourceful guide is the National Register Bulletin, Researching a Historic Property and The National Park Service preservation brief, Understanding Old Buildings. Pursuing a nomination or just curious about a certain property’s past, research can be both fun and addictive. Good luck with your search!

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