Happenings

Call for Entries: 2024 Video Symposium

The Jefferson County Historical Commission is now accepting video submissions for the 2024 Video Symposium on our YouTube Channel. The Video Symposium is a unique opportunity to showcase your interests in Jeffco's history, through video production. 

We are looking for videos relating to our 2024 Theme: “Mining, Mysteries and Monuments.” Please submit the Video Submission Packet by April 1, 2024 if you would like JCHC to consider your video. Deadline for the completed Video Submission is June 30, 2024. We look forward to including interesting stories from your communities in Jefferson County. Thank you in advance for your time and interest.

Videos should be of professional quality; please see the Jefferson County Historical Commission YouTube channel for examples of quality videos.

View the 2023 Video Symposium

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Please feel free to share this information with any organizations you may work with in Jeffco. Thank you for your time and please reach out to the JCHC Video Symposium Coordinator with any questions.

Jefferson County Historical Commission and History Jeffco's Annual Hall of Fame Celebration 2023

On Wednesday, October 18, 2023, the Jefferson County Historical Commission and History Jeffco held the annual Hall of Fame celebration at the Elks Lodge, in Arvada, Colorado. The Historical Commission is comprised of volunteers  representing every part of the County and are appointed by the Board of County Commissioners. History Jeffco is a Colorado non-profit also comprised of volunteers who are passionate about preserving local history. Both organizations aim to preserve Jeffco’s heritage, protect its historical sites, and celebrate the people and places that make the County rich, diverse and significant. 

The theme for this year’s events and the Historically Jeffco Magazine centered on “Embracing Jeffco’s Cultural Connections” Following the theme, two new members were inducted into the Jefferson County Hall of Fame. 

Deborah AndrewsThe contemporary member is Deborah Andrews recognized for her invaluable contributions within the fields of architecture, preservation, volunteerism, and public service. As a member of the American Institute of Architects, Colorado Preservation Inc, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and serving terms on Colorado State Review Board for the National and State Registers of Historic Places and Olde Town Arvada Design Review Committee, Deborah has been a major contributor to the work of the Jefferson County Historic Commission (JCHC) and History Jeffco (HJO). After serving on the JCHC from 2000 through 2018, then becoming an Emeritus member, Deborah continues her involvement in preservation as a History Jeffco board director.

Frank Hildebrand 1900This year’s historical inductee to the Hall of Fame is the Hildebrand family in recognition of their hard work and their diversified ranching and farming operation. Their management of the land allowed the ranch to survive the Great Depression, when so many other farms and ranches in the area failed. Today, their legacy of historic structures, and beautiful landscape will be enjoyed by generations of visitors yet to come.

Frank and Elisabeth Hildebrand were among the millions of German immigrants seeking a new beginning in America. In 1866 the Frank and an associate purchased 160 acres of land near Deer Creek and the South Platte River in southeastern Jefferson County. The Hildebrand’s raised Hereford cattle, hogs, geese, and chickens on their ranch and  grew corn, wheat, oats, alfalfa, native hay, and a variety of vegetables and berries. The Hildebrand family steadily added to the acreage through the 1890’s. At its largest in the 1960’s, the ranch covered nearly 2,800 acres. Members of the Hildebrand family created the model of a diversified ranching and farming operation respected throughout Jefferson County.

Eventually, the old house and the land surrounding became a project of the Denver Botanic Gardens now called Chatfield Farms. The ranch buildings, with the Deer Creek schoolhouse, have been conserved and renovated. Jefferson County OpenSpace purchased the remainder of the Hildebrand property in 2001 to create the Hildebrand Ranch Park.

Norm and Ethel Meyer Historic Preservation Award

McIlvoy HouseThe Historical Commission’s Norm and Ethel Meyer Historic Preservation Award went to Arvada Historical Society, for their  long legacy in Jeffco and demonstrating a strong and lasting organizational presence in the community for preserving the area’s history. Arvada Historical Society is a volunteer-run organization that relies on memberships, donations, fundraising events, and grants for funding. This dedicated group of volunteers painstakingly collect and preserve historic photographs, documents, books, and newspapers and makes them available to the public. Their programs include history-related events, walking tours in Olde Town Arvada, open houses, tours of the Arvada Flour Mill, oral histories, and historical research. 

Jefferson County Landmarks Program

Each year the Historical Commission also designates historic landmarks through the Jefferson County Landmarks Program. This year’s landmark designations are Arvada Flour Mills and Blair Ranch.

The Arvada Flour Mills was designed and built between 1925 and 1926 by Eugene Emory Benjamin and serves as an icon of Arvada’s agricultural heritage. The mill was built to receive and process wheat, then package, storArvada Flour Millse, and distribute the flour marketed as Arva-Pride. The building included a total of 44,700 square feet and stood 32’ tall. The exterior appearance remains basically unaltered since it was built. The unique pressed metal siding was manufactured to look like brick. The mill operated until 1944 and the property was sold to Louis Schaaf and Frank Tiller. The mill ceased milling flour during the 1950’s. Frank Tiller owned the mill until 1977 when it was donated to the Arvada Historical Society. In 1980 the mill was reopened to the public as a museum. The mill was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It is significant in the areas of agriculture, architecture and industry and represents one of few mills left in the country.

Blair Ranch HouseBlair Ranch was built in 1889 by original owner Henry Venable and is located in Evergreen near the western boundary of Jefferson County in the northern part of Alderfer / Three Sisters Park. In the early 1920’s Blair Ranch was used as a mountain getaway  for Victoria Blair of Sterling, Colorado and is an important part of Jefferson County’s history for its association with the summer retreat movement in Evergreen. The southern section of Blair Ranch (Blairgowrie) contains a one-and a-half story Rustic style main residence surrounded by eight outbuildings and structures. With the assortment of historic buildings, Blair Ranch is significant as an example of Rustic style architecture. After over eight decades in the Blair family’s possession, Jefferson County Open Space purchased the Blair Ranch in 2002.

Historically Jeffco Magazine 2023 Cover: Embracing Jeffco's Cultural Connections.The Historical Commission’s current issue of its annual magazine, Historically Jeffco, was unveiled at the Hall of Fame celebration. The magazine carried through the theme of “Embracing Jeffco’s Cultural Connections,” including articles about the endangered South Platte Hotel, the arts in Evergreen, education of native Americans and History Colorado’s goal to list underrepresented communities in the State Register of Historic Properties by the end of 2026. 

You can read more about all of the award winners and Jeffco’s cultural connections in the 2023 edition of Historically Jeffco Magazine on our Historical Publications page.

Jefferson County Historical Commission informs about Jefferson County history in other ways besides the magazine, including its Facebook page, web site, YouTube channel, annual Historic Preservation Symposium, and the Hall of Fame event.

Contact the Jefferson County Historical Commission with any questions.  

Jefferson County Historical Commission's Historic Preservation Symposium

In September 2023, the Jefferson County Historical Commission debuted its annual Historic Preservation Symposium. Programs explore fascinating stories of Jefferson County history and how it is being preserved. This virtual presentation is available on the Commission’s YouTube channel.

To access the Symposium, go to YouTube, log onto the site using the link, then choose Playlists and from there go to Symposium 2023. Each program runs for 8-15 minutes, plus there is an introduction by Commission Chair, Dick Scudder. The programs include:

“The Glens”

Narrated by Dr. Kelly Cvanciger, JCHC, in partnership with Lakewood Historical Commission member Heather Peterson who share a brief history of one of Lakewood, Colorado’s oldest neighborhoods.

“KCR TV”

Features the creation of the Ken Caryl Ranch neighborhood’s TV channel KCTV-33, the first TV channel designed by a neighborhood homeowners association in the country. 

“The Murphy Gulch Fire”

This video narrated by Jim Antes explains how the fire started and the efforts to extinguish the flames.

“The Fort”

Celebrating their 60th Anniversary. The Fort was built in 1962 as the first full scale adobe replica of Colorado’s 1830s fur trading fort, Bent's Old Fort. The Fort adobe building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

Jefferson County Historical Commission is a volunteer commission appointed by the Board of County Commissioners and tasked with encouraging stewardship of Jefferson County history. It does this through assisting County government, historical societies and museums, and property owners in preservation efforts, and disseminating information about County history. The Commission publishes an annual magazine, Historically Jeffco. For more information, visit our website or contact the Jefferson County Historical Commission.  

How to Get Your Copy of Historically Jeffco

All issues of Historically Jeffco are available for free download on our Historical Publications page. A limited number of hard copies are available at the Planning & Zoning Division office (100 Jefferson County Pkwy, Suite 3550, in the Jefferson County Courthouse).

Past issues of the magazine in hard copy format may be purchased through the Friends of the JCHC with proceeds going to fund JCHC programs and events. For details, please contact us.

We're in Search of Historic Landmarks

Morrison Schoolhouse, a Jefferson County LandmarkMorrison Schoolhouse, Jefferson County Landmark

Is your home, ranch or business one of the gems of Jefferson County’s long and diverse heritage? Let the Jefferson County Historical Commission (JCHC) know and see if it's eligible for local landmark status! Each year the JCHC Historic Preservation and Landmarks Committee chooses one or more special places to spotlight at its annual Hall of Fame event and include in its Historically Jeffco magazine.  Applications are accepted throughout the year. 

In the last few years, successful nominations have included the Arvada Jaycee Hall, Lazy J Ranch near Morrison, and Center Stage theater in Evergreen. Designation as a County Landmark not only recognizes the property’s importance without placing restrictions on its owners but helps pave a pathway to grants and tax credits to enhance preservation and renovation efforts.

For more information on JCHC and criteria for its Landmark Designation Program, visit the Historical Programs web page. Here you will find a comprehensive overview of the Commission, the Landmark program and the application form. We look forward to reviewing your submission and hopefully welcoming your site as the latest proud addition to the list of Jefferson County Landmarks!  

Please contact the JCHC Chair with any additional questions!