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!

Jefferson County Historical Commission's Annual Hall of Fame Celebration and Historically Jeffco Magazine

On Thursday, October 14, 2021, the Jefferson County Historical Commission held its annual Hall of Fame celebration in the historic and festive surroundings of The Fort Restaurant in Morrison, Colorado. The Historical Commission is a volunteer commission and its members, representing every part of the County, are appointed by the Board of County Commissioners. The Historical Commission’s purpose is to preserve Jeffco’s heritage, protect its historical sites, and celebrate the people and places that make the County rich, diverse and significant.

2021 Hall of Fame winner Lorenzo TrujilloThis year the Historical Commission members emphasized the themes of diversity and education. Following those themes, they inducted two new members into the Jefferson County Hall of Fame. The contemporary member is Dr. Lorenzo Trujillo, who has been an outstanding advocate for preservation of Hispanic music and dance, receiving the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1996. As an attorney, he has addressed issues of language equity in Colorado schools, and testified before a U.S. Senate task force dealing with educational issues of Hispanic youth. Dr. Trujillo has served on boards of many non-profit arts and education organizations and on the faculty of the University of Colorado Law School.

2021 Hall of Fame winner Dr. Mary Josepha Williams Douglas, known as “Dr. Jo”.The historical inductee to the Hall of Fame is Dr. Mary Josepha Williams Douglas, known as “Dr. Jo”.   Dr. Jo was one of the first women to earn a medical degree in Colorado and went on to lead an all-female team of doctors and nurses at the Marquette-Williams Sanitarium in Denver. At her mountain home in Evergreen, Camp Neosho (which is now Hiwan Heritage Park and Museum), she and her husband, Episcopalian priest Charles Winfred Douglas, helped found the Mission of the Transfiguration congregation and the Evergreen Conference, an annual summer music education and religious retreat held for more than a century.

The Historical Commission’s Norm and Ethel Meyer Historic Preservation Award went to the Tesoro Cultural Center, the only educational organization in Jefferson County focusing specifically on diversity. Tesoro focuses on the 19th century history of the American Southwest, especially the fur trade era. Tesoro is headquartered at The Fort Restaurant, a replica of Bent’s Old Fort in southwestern Colorado. Bent’s Old Fort, located along the Santa Fe Trail, on the Mexican border and in the homeland of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche and Kiowa, was a crossroads of races and cultures. Tesoro Cultural Center holds a distinguished lecture series, has produced a series of curriculum guides for schools and a video on Kiowa history and culture, and hosts guided tours, special events and other education programs.

Norm and Ethel Meyer Historic Preservation Award winner, Tesoro Cultural Center.Tesoro Cultural Center. Photo courtesy of David Holley.

The Historical Commission also designates Jefferson County historical landmarks, and this year’s new landmark is Center Stage in Evergreen. Center Stage was built in the 1920s by master builder John “Jock” Spence as an octagonal log structure. It was originally the Meeting House for the Episcopalian Evergreen Conference. Now it is owned by Ovation West, formerly known as Evergreen Chorale. Center Stage, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was expanded by Ovation West to include a lobby, restrooms, a Green Room and musicians’ area in a manner compatible with the original construction. For many years performances by Evergreen Chorale, Evergreen Players, Evergreen Children’s Chorale and other community groups have been held at Center Stage.

Center Stage in EvergreenCenter Stage in Evergreen. Photo courtesy of Richard Scudder.

Historically Jeffco Magazine 2021 Cover Opens in new windowThe Historical Commission’s current issue of its annual magazine, Historically Jeffco, was unveiled at the Hall of Fame celebration. The magazine follows the dual themes of education and diversity, including articles on Montessori schools in Jefferson County, linguistic diversity in Jefferson County schools, German immigrants in Jefferson County, race-based residential restrictions in the County, African American Exodusters, the African American Meta Park recreation area, the historic one-room Medlen School, the Fletcher Miller School for special needs students, and many others.

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

On Thursday, September 16, 2021 at 7 P.M., the Jefferson County Historical Commission presents its annual Historic Preservation Symposium. Four programs will explore the fascinating story of Jefferson County history and how it is being preserved. This will be a virtual presentation on the Commission’s YouTube channel.external_site_marker

To access the Symposium, go to Youtube, log onto the site using the link, then choose Playlists and from there go to Symposium 2021. Each program will be presented for 15-20 minutes, plus there will be an introduction by Commission Chair, Lee Katherine Goldstein. The programs and presenters include:

“From a Tree to Today: Connecting Indigenous People to Jeffco Parks” Program, presented by Jennee Hancock

This program explores the Indigenous history of Jefferson County’s Open Space lands from the perspective of the Council Tree site in Morrison. Learn about the Tribes who have called this place home, the significance of the tree, the Ute leader Colorow, the native plants at the site, and how Tribes remain connected to the land today.

Jennee Hancock is an Education Specialist with Jefferson County Open Space. She has worked at Hiwan Museum in Evergreen as a guide and educator since 2009.  She loves connecting people with culture, history, nature, and each other, and especially enjoys creating and teaching children’s programs. She is honored to learn from and collaborate with representatives of Jeffco’s Indigenous Tribes.

“A History of Special Education in Jefferson County” Program, presented by Kelly Cvanciger

Uncovering a checkered past, Kelly Cvanciger details the storied history of special education in Jefferson County, from 1910 through 2020. Focusing on elevating and increasing awareness of our marginalized children, the journey begins in 1910 with the notorious history of the Ridge and evolves through school consolidation as Jefferson County R-1 emerged in 1950. Tying federal legislative mandates to education, Jeffco's journey from isolation to acceptance of children with developmental disabilities affords viewers an opportunity to gain insight related to the field of special education. 

Kelly Cvanciger is an educator at Bear Creek High School where she has taught in the social studies department for 20 years. Outside of the school day, Kelly serves as a Jefferson County Historical Commissioner, City of Lakewood Historical Commissioner, National History Day Board member, and Jeffco Schools ASD Strategic Committee member. A proud mom of a 9-year-old little boy and wife to an Iraq-Afghanistan War Veteran, Kelly spends her free time advocating for ASD awareness in the community. while continuing her pursuit to uncover Jefferson County's history. 

“Education and Preservation in Jefferson County” Program, presented by John Steinle

Combining the history of education and preservation in Jefferson County, this program traces the development of education through the one-room 1877 Buffalo Park School in Evergreen through the Morrison School, the 1920s Conifer Junction School, and Bear Creek High School, illustrating all the phases of education from one-room school to sprawling modern education complex. The program also describes why the early schools have been preserved and which organization or individual saved them.

John Steinle, a member of the Jefferson County Historical Commission, served as Director at several Ohio museums before emigrating to Colorado in 1992.  In 1994, Steinle became the Administrator of the Hiwan Homestead Museum in Evergreen, Colorado, working for Jefferson County Open Space. He was promoted to History Education Supervisor and Region Supervisor for the Bear Creek Region. He retired in 2016. Steinle is the author of several books, including Colorado and the Silver Crash: The Panic of 1893.  

Colorado Arts and Crafts Society’s “Gathering of the Guilds” Program, presented by Cynthia Shaw

Since its establishment as a volunteer non-profit organization in 1997, the Colorado Arts and Crafts Society (CACS) continues to honor and promote the aesthetic and philosophical legacy of the original Arts and Crafts Movement (c. 1880-1920) in the Rocky Mountain region and beyond.  One of CACS' most popular events is its "Gathering of the Guilds", an annual show, sale and symposium featuring local artisans exhibiting and selling their works evocative of this fascinating period in the history of design.

Cynthia Shaw has an undergraduate degree in creative writing and journalism. After working as an editor and feature writer for the Sarasota Herald Tribune in Florida and as assistant editor at Yankee Press in Boston, she obtained a master's in architectural history and preservation from the University of Virginia.  In 1986 she moved to Colorado, where she worked for Historic Boulder, Zimmerman-Hand  Architects and Communication Arts.  Joining the staff of the Boettcher Mansion in 1995, she served as its Director from 2000-18.  A member of the Jefferson County Historical Commission (JCHC) since 2010, she has held the positions of Chair,  Vice Chair, Education and Events Committee Co-Chair and Nominating Committee Chair.  She also regularly contributes to the commission’s Historically Jeffco magazine.

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.