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chaffee county history

CHAFFEE COUNTY HERITAGE AREA

2011-2013 Chaffee County Historic Resource Survey

The Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA), on behalf of the Chaffee County Heritage Area Advisory Board (CCHAAB), received a grant from the State Historical Fund to conduct a Historic Resource Survey of Chaffee County.

Front Range Research Associates, Inc., of Denver were hired to complete this project for GARNA and the CCHAAB.

The 2011-13 Chaffee County Historic Resources Survey accomplished several major goals:

  • Conducted a volunteer reconnaissance survey of the county by to locate and identify existing historic resources, including digital photography and basic information.
  • Inputed the information from the reconnaissance survey into a database for organizing and evaluating the significance and integrity of each property.
  • Used the database to select 65 properties with higher levels of significance and integrity for inclusion in a scattered, intensive survey.
  • Conducted fieldwork and research to document and evaluate 65 historic properties (55 individual buildings and 10 complexes) and record them on History Colorado Architectural Inventory forms (form 1403).
  • Completed a survey report summarizing the project findings.

The project produced 65 History Colorado Architectural Inventory forms which are available to view in their entirety at the Salida Regional Library and at the Buena Vista Public Library. A Final Survey Report (available as a PDF) was also completed. Of the 65 properties surveyed, 24 resources are evaluated as potentially eligible to the National Register (as well as potentially eligible to the State Register) and 19 as potentially eligible to the State Register only (see Table 9 in the report). The survey expanded knowledge of Chaffee County history and architecture by documenting each resource’s current appearance, history, and previous alterations and evaluating its significance. The information resulting from this survey will assist Chaffee County and interested residents with historic preservation planning, including assessments of eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places and State Register of Historic Properties. The information contained on the intensive-level survey forms and in the report will help direct future historic preservation efforts. Findings from this survey will constitute one basis by which properties are nominated for designation and citizens are made aware of the area’s architectural and historical heritage.

Plan for Development of Wayside Media

March 1, 2011: The Plan has been completed and was presented before the Chaffee County Board of Commissioners.

Download a PDF of the Plan for Development of Wayside Media:
Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway
Development of Wayside Media 2.45 MB

January 7, 2011: The Chaffee County Heritage Area Advisory Board seeks public input on the Draft Plan. The Plan is intended to identify both rural and urban sites in Chaffee County where information and interpretive media might be located.

Open houses took place:
Tuesday, January 25 in Salida at the Salida Cafe from 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, January 26 in Buena Vista at the Buena Vista Public Library from 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Collegiate Peaks Byway Interpretive Wayside Signs Installed

Three interpretive waysides were installed in June 2009 outside of Salida at the Ohio-Colorado Smelter, at the Zebulon Pike Historic Wayside on Hwy 285 and overlooking the Leadville Stagecoach Road near Granite on Hwy 24. Funding was made possible by the 2007 FHWA Byway grant.

Collegiate Peaks Scenic & Historic Byway Brochure Complete

The Collegiate Peaks Byway educational piece was finished in May 2009. Funding was made possible by the 2006 FHWA Byway grant. To download a copy or to order one by mail, please visit the official Collegiate Peaks Byway website.

Chaffee County Heritage Area & Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway Management Plan Adopted

The Chaffee County Heritage Area / Collegiate Peaks Scenic & Historic Byway Management Plan was officially adopted by the Board of County Commissioners on November 4, 2008. This extensive document provides a detailed analysis of the county’s natural, cultural, historic, scenic and agricultural “heritage.” Existence of an approved plan, as shown by numerous examples in other Colorado counties, can be a powerful influence on external grant funding agencies when the Heritage Board or its partners (municipalities, historic preservation groups, land trusts, public land managers and others) approach grantors for financial support of specific projects. If you are interested in viewing a printed copy of the Management Plan, please contact GARNA at info@garna.org or 539-5106.

Download a PDF of the Management Plan Executive Summary:
Management Plan Executive Summary 5.54 MB

Download a PDF of the full Management Plan:
Management Plan - pages 1-8 8.23 MB
Management Plan - pages 9-23 3.00 MB
Management Plan - pages 24-58 1.68 MB
Management Plan - pages 59-93 2.61 MB
Management Plan - pages 94-end 1.98 MB

Heritage Board Seeks Members

The Chaffee County Board of Commissioners is accepting letters of interest from persons desiring to serve on the Chaffee County Heritage Area Advisory Board (CCHAAB). The CCHAAB was created pursuant to Chaffee County Resolution No. 2004-45 to provide advice and assistance on matters associated with planning and implementation of the Heritage Area Program. The CCHAAB is seeking applicants for three (3) seats for a three year term beginning February 1, 2009 – January 31, 2012.

The CCHAAB is also seeking applicants for one (1) “at large” seat with a one to three-year term beginning February 1, 2009. The Board’s focus in 2009 will be evaluation and inventory work to better define the details of historic and preservation projects listed as action items in the Management Plan and completing initial plans for heritage centers in the county’s municipalities.

Additionally, the CCHAAB is seeking applicants for one (1) seat from a representative of the ranching community, who lives and owns a significant amount of property along the scenic byway. This term is a three year term beginning February 1, 2009 – January 31, 2012.

All members must be full time residents of Chaffee County. The members are selected by the Chaffee County Commissioners, based on appropriate geographic representation of the county, and based on representation of interests in cultural, natural, economic, and recreational resources.

 

Heritage Area/Scenic Byway Management Plan on Final Review

The Chaffee County Heritage Area Advisory Board is just completing a 2-year effort to develop a Heritage Area Management Plan, and is inviting the public to review the full document.  This Plan, which has been developed on a parallel track with the County’s own Roundtable process to examine and revise zoning regulations and land use maps, provides a detailed analysis of the county’s natural, cultural, historic, scenic and agricultural “heritage.”  These are the features which define our sense of place and, many would argue, make it attractive for old and new residents alike as well as short term visitors (heritage tourists)-and which deserve to be protected as we move forward with inevitable growth and economic development.

The Heritage Plan, like the existing Comprehensive Plan and Roundtable recommendations which are nearing completion, will not have the force of regulation but is simply an advisory document which the County may use to guide its decisions.  Existence of an approved plan, as shown by numerous examples in other Colorado counties, can be a powerful influence on external grant funding agencies when the Heritage Board or its partners (municipalities, historic preservation groups, land trusts, public land managers and others) approach grantors for financial support of specific projects.  Already, the Heritage Board has attracted more than $400,000 in such external support, with the modest investment of only $20,000 in local match money from the Commissioners and municipalities.

A number of public presentations and opportunities for input have already taken place, from oral history workshops to public meetings to group-specific workshops.  The draft has already been presented and discussed with the Board of County Commissioners in several open sessions, where it has received strong provisional support. But this is the first time the full and detailed document has been ready for public review, and the Commissioners encouraged the Heritage Board, and its administrative arm GARNA (Greater Arkansas River Nature Association) to provide this final opportunity for review before they move to adopt it.

For those able to deal with a relatively large file (11MG) you can download the full draft at http://garna.org/scenic-byway.htm  Paper copies are available for on-site review at the Buena Vista and Salida Public Libraries, the GARNA office at 332 1/2 W Sackett in Salida and the County Commissioners offices at the Court House in Salida. E-mail comments (or questions) should be directed to info@garna.org by November 3, 2008.  A public hearing on the Heritage Management Plan has been scheduled by the Commissioners for November 4th, 2008 (admittedly a busy day!) at 11AM in the Commissioners Chambers in Salida. The public is encouraged to attend for a brief presentation on the Plan and an opportunity to comment in person.

 

County Heritage Plan Off To a Good Start

Development of the Chaffee County Heritage Plan, including the Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway, got off to a great start with two events in Salida and Buena Vista Thursday, November 29.  Having a Heritage Plan is a necessary step in implementing the Board of Commissioner’s 2004 declaration of the whole county as a Heritage Area, appointment of a Heritage Board, and designation of the Scenic Byway in November, 2005. 

According to Kathryn Wadsworth, Executive Director of GARNA, the non-profit which the County appointed to administer the Heritage Area and Scenic Byway, “A Heritage Plan is a non-binding but extremely helpful way of setting priorities and raising the visibility on projects to help preserve and manage a whole bunch of the historic, natural and cultural features of the County.  This can range from restoring an old historic building to finding ways to help ranchers preserve their acreage to building visitor centers and interpretive signs along the Byway.  Once such a plan is approved, which will include sections on the Scenic Byway required by its designation, the County’s Heritage Area will be in a much better position to apply for grants to make specific actions happen.”

The Heritage Planning which is getting underway is funded jointly by the Colorado Department of Transportation and the State Historic Fund, with matching funds from the Chaffee County Commissioners and local municipalities.

The Denver based planning firm Mundus-Bishop has been contracted to help the Heritage Board through an 8-month process scheduled to end in June of 2008.  The first public steps took place in Salida and Buena Vista last Thursday, November 29.  In Salida the kickoff was a 2-hour Oral History Interview session, which drew about 40 citizens from north and south in the county for a lively and fascinating exchange of old stories and recollections of  individual residents-old-timers and newcomers alike-about what makes Chaffee County what it is, what gives it its sense of “place.”  Some contributors shared old photos and explained how life was like for them or their parents and grandparents in early Chaffee County, focusing on the pleasures and hardships of daily life, and how things have changed (for the better or worse) and what things really ought to be better preserved and explained to the younger generation.

In Buena Vista that same evening some 25 people attended an open house Community Meeting to hear Mundus Bishop and the Heritage Board report on information that has already been collected and what the next steps are for getting more public input.  Among the most interesting maps being prepared are “views sheds” and “skyline” maps which help understand just what near and far views are seen from along our major highways (the Scenic Byway 24/285/291 in particular).

Alan Robinson, Heritage Board Member, observed that “Several key players in discussions of new county zoning regulations came in to see how the Heritage Plan is developing.  It seemed they appreciated the potential value of what we are presenting to their own deliberations, and noted that it highlights interconnections between defining and protecting our county’s Heritage special places and history and the legally-binding codes the county approves in the future.”

The next opportunity for the general public to get involved will come in March, 2008 in meetings in both Salida and Buena Vista, but the Board and Mundus Bishop team will be constantly working to contact individuals and groups for their insight into the county’s unique history and values to visitors and residents alike.

Members of the Chaffee County Heritage Board greet participants at the Community Meeting last Thursday in Buena Vista where progress on the Chaffee County Heritage Plan was presented. At right Buena Vista Mayor and Heritage Board member Cara Russell…next to Cara is Kathryn Wadsworth, Executive Director of GARNA, who administers the Heritage Area.

Photo by Chaffee County Heritage Board

Local resident Kathy McCoy [blond hair, facing away] leads a spirited small group through Oral History interviews in Salida last Thursday. A mix of old timers and relative newcomers shared recollections of life as it was in the early days of Chaffee County, helping planners to identify special places, activities and other aspects which make the county a special “place.”

Photo by Chaffee County Heritage Board

“Native” born Salida resident Mary Boardman shared photos and recollections of the lives of her parents and grandparents in the DeLuca and other families at the Oral History interviews in Salida last Thursday.  This event was part of the Chaffee County Heritage Board’s development of a Heritage Plan and recommendations for the Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway.

Photo by Chaffee County Heritage Board

Chaffee County Commissioner Tim Glenn put on his old-timer hat at the Chaffee County Heritage Board’s Oral History interviews this past Thursday in Salida.  Tim contributed a review of his family’s long involvement in the local cemetery and his recollections of growing up in earlier days in Salida.  All these recollections about what life was like, how things have changed, and what needs to be better understood and preserved will be collected by the Board and its professional planning advisers in developing the county’s Heritage Plan.

Photo by Chaffee County Heritage Board

Long time northern county rancher/resident Norma Sandoval [left] shares a moment with her friend Suzy Kelly [right], one of the county’s best-informed local historians at the Oral History interviews last week in Salida.  Norma’s perspective of life along Hwy 24 north of BV in the early days will help planners identify what’s really special about the county and suggest ways to better preserve and understand it.

Photo by Chaffee County Heritage Board

   

Public land managers have their individual plans and programs

colorado government orgs

County Commission, Towns are active

County’s Heritage GIS Database

Many Private initiatives are underway

Arkansas River Trust
Buena Vista Heritage
GARNA
Historic Salida Inc.
Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas
SPOT (Salida Parks, Open Space and Trails)
Trout Unlimited…and others

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