The State Publications Library often receives questions about historically designated properties, including how to determine whether a property is designated, or how owners can nominate their property for historic designation.
Designation can occur on multiple levels, including local, state, and national. Local designation by a city or a county, such as Denver’s Landmark Preservation program, provides the strongest protections against demolishing or altering a historic structure. Listing on the Colorado Register of Historic Properties or the National Register of Historic Places puts no restrictions on what can be done with the property, but it allows owners to gain recognition for their historic sites and to take advantage of tax credits and grants. Properties listed on the National Register are automatically also included on the State Register, but not all State Register properties have received national designation. While the National Register is a federal program, it is administered by each state in their individual State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). Colorado’s SHPO is housed within History Colorado’s Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.
If you’re looking to find out whether a property is listed on the State or National Register, head over to History Colorado’s National & State Registers webpage. Here you’ll find details about the program, designation criteria, and a database of designated sites. Designations are not limited to buildings, but can also include bridges, dams, cemeteries, parks, forts, archaeological sites, historic neighborhoods/districts, mines and mills, farms and ranches, and more. Using the website, you can find a list of designated properties in a specific county, city, or register type (State or National). Each listed property includes a photo, map, and brief synopsis. If you’re looking for more detailed information on a property, History Colorado maintains extensive files including nomination forms for each site.
History Colorado has also put together some helpful directories, guides, and multiple property listings of designated sites. These include listings by type, such as library buildings; municipal parks and parkways; religious properties (churches, synagogues, etc.); theaters and auditoriums; tourist lodgings; and properties associated with agriculture, mining, railroads, women’s history, or the New Deal. Other multiple property listings cover counties or geographic areas; architectural styles; or historic events or themes. For a list of titles, and for links to other related resources, see the State Publications Library’s Historic Preservation in Colorado subject resource guide.