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Taking pride in history

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The Carbondale Historical Preservation Commission (CHPC) wants you to take pride in your historic homes. That is why the commission is offering people who own a house deemed a “historical structure of merit” (SOM) the opportunity to call attention to its historical relevance. 

The town will split the cost for a tasteful and subtle plaque (there are two style options), which includes a photo of the respective SOM and printed historical information pertinent to the home. The town will also take care of installing the plaque. They can place it on a stake, or an outside wall or fence of the home for passersby to see for years, and hopefully generations, to come. 

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Many homes in Carbondale, especially in the historic downtown area (zoned as Historic Commercial Core and Old Town Residential), have history seeping in their foundations and walls. While much detail has been lost to the test of time, the homes of those who came before us remain. Some buildings are even as old as the town itself. 

Back in 2016, the town hired Tatanka Historical Associates, Inc. to prepare a survey of additional SOMs in Carbondale (an initial survey was done in 2005). In the fall of 2021, the commission sent letters to 70 homeowners on the list, promoting the installation of the plaques. 

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About a dozen of the people the commission reached out to loved the idea and agreed to have a plaque installed at their home. Still, the commission hopes more will join in. 

CHPC is getting ready to place the order for the plaques folks have reserved thus far. “We just want to put it out there again … because we’re getting ready to make the order, and the more we get the cheaper it will be,” explained CHPC board member John Williams.

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Because the commission would rather use photos of homes as they once were (or at least closer to their original form), “We’re asking the general public to look in their attic to see if they’ve got old photos of their house,” Williams continued. Discovered photos can be printed on a corresponding plaque, or shared just for the heck of it — and for the sake of history, of course. 

For more information and to learn how to obtain a plaque, email kmcdonald@carbondaleco.net 

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Historical plaques are  only a symbol, but the commission hopes their presence will help instill an appreciation of the town’s history among its contemporary dwellers… as well as those who will come later. 

Build, yet preserve

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The commission also wants to remind owners of historical homes (50 years or more) that if, and when, considering improvements, to do so in a way that preserves the structure’s historical integrity. 

The CHPC board’s efforts are “aimed at motivating the homeowners to be proud of their older homes, as opposed to scraping it down and starting all over again,” Williams told The Sopris Sun. 

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In this regard, the commission wanted to highlight a recent addition in town to 86 South Third, a building included on the town’s SOM list, and built around 1901. According to the 2016 survey, it was constructed as Ward Tucker’s family home. “During the first few years of the twentieth century, Tucker served as Carbondale’s mayor,” the survey further explained. 

Today, the structure houses Cool Brick Studios, a professional music studio catering to local artists. Although the commission did not work closely with the current owner during renovations, the addition, added onto the back of the building, appears to align with what its board would like to see when people decide to remodel their SOM. 

“Here is a good example of how you can improve your property and still maintain the historically significant character of your home,” remarked Williams. “The CHPC wants to help homeowners preserve their historical home, while there are still historical homes left to preserve.” 

Tags: #Carbondale #Carbondale Historical Preservation Commission #History #Linda Criswell
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