S.E. Colorado Among Five Exemplary Archaeology and Historic Preservation Projects Honored in 2023 Stephen H. Hart Awards


DENVER — April 20, 2023— On April 19, 2023, History Colorado hosted the 37th Stephen H. Hart Awards for Historic Preservation celebration at the History Colorado Center in Denver. The Stephen H. Hart Awards are given out annually to recognize the five projects or individuals that exemplify the outstanding archaeology and historic preservation work being done in the Centennial State every day.

Named after Colorado’s first Historic Preservation Officer, the Hart Award recipients are nominated by the staff of History Colorado and selected for their contributions to the field of preservation because of their innovative approaches, in-depth research, and/or use of proper techniques that honor the historic significance and craftsmanship of Colorado’s archaeological and built environment.

“We love to witness how Coloradans work to revitalize, honor and celebrate their communities and histories,” said Dawn DiPrince, executive director of History Colorado & State Historic Preservation Officer. “It is a new day for preservation as Colorado communities innovatively use preservation to create affordable housing, address injustice, revitalize communities, and advance environmental sustainability.”

This year’s Stephen H. Hart Awards winners include projects from the eastern plains, the Denver metro area, and the Western slope, that are all exemplary examples of the incredible work being done by preservationists across Colorado.

2023 Stephen H. Hart Awardees:

The Governor’s Award: Penrose School | Bent County, CO
Located at Raven’s Nest Nature Preserve, south of Las Animas, Penrose School was a one-room schoolhouse in operation until 1950 when it was closed and eventually abandoned by private owners in 1988. Now fully restored, thanks to the Southern Plains Land Trust, the school provides the community an accessible, century-old center for education and community gathering that is deeply tied to local history and ecology.

An example of how buildings can help tell compelling stories about community and the lived experience of earlier generations, this project is being recognized due to the commitment of the team responsible for the preservation work and their ability to leverage regional and state funding opportunities as well as preservation tax credits and State Historical Fund grants. These funds allowed the Southern Plains Land Trust to source materials and labor for restoration work locally when possible and maximize the amount of capital invested back into the community.

Awardees: Southern Plains Land Trust; Deep Roots Timberworks; Scheuber Darden Architects

History Colorado Board Award: Granada Relocation Center | Granada, CO 
The Granada Relocation Center, better known as Amache, is being recognized due to the awardees dedication to shining light on a dark and difficult part of Colorado’s history. Located a few miles west of Granada, this site was one of ten relocation centers where the United States imprisoned more than 11,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed from their homes and wrongfully confined during World War II. The effort to preserve the site and its history has spanned multiple generations beginning in the 1980s. Recent efforts include reconstruction of buildings following original plans, the returning of the recreation hall to the site, and designation of Amache as a National Historic Site.

This project is being commended for the important relationships developed between: survivors and their descendants; the local school district; the University of Denver; Colorado Preservation, Inc.; the National Park Service; and the many consultants, contractors, and advocates who are working to authentically and honestly share this story with the world.

Awardees: Colorado Preservation Inc.; Jane Daniels; Scheuber Darden Architects; A&M Renovations; Amache Preservation Society; Friends of Amache; Alpine Archaeology; Dr. Bonnie Clark, DU Archaeology Department

People’s Choice Award: La Junta Downtown CLG Survey | La Junta, CO
Every year, the Certified Local Government program administered by History Colorado provides grants throughout the state to local entities for surveys that document the historical resources of communities. These surveys inform local preservation efforts such as designations, creation of historic districts, and building public awareness of a community’s heritage and historic places.

The Downtown La Junta Historic Resource Survey exceeded all expectations and is a shining example of a thorough and well documented survey that includes previously overlooked events, individuals, and community groups that contribute to La Junta’s history and unique identity.

Through this survey La Junta and its preservation team were able to uncover information about the contributions of underrepresented communities – including Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, and African Americans– to the rich history of the city. It also identified numerous sites throughout La Junta and Otero County that were shaped by the hard work and contributions of key individuals and recognized the vital role women played in the history of the city.

Awardees: La Junta Certified Local Government; Erika Warzel, Clerestory Preservation; Amy Unger, Pine Street Preservation

Informational videos about this year’s Stephen H. Hart Award winners can be found here and a list of previous winners can be found at: h-co.org/HartAwards.

About History Colorado
History Colorado is a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and a 501(c)3 non-profit that has served more than 75,000 students and 500,000 people in Colorado each year. It is a 143-year-old institution that operates eleven museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation which provides technical assistance, educational opportunities, and other access to archaeology and historic preservation, and the History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF), which is one of the nation’s largest state funded preservation programs of its kind. More than 70% of SHF grants are allocated in rural areas of the state. Additionally, the offices of the State Archaeologist and the State Historic Preservation Officer are part of History Colorado.

History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. We serve as the state’s memory, preserving and sharing the places, stories, and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, collecting, outreach to Colorado communities, the History Colorado Center and Stephen H. Hart Research Center in Denver, and 10 other museums and historic attractions statewide. History Colorado is one of only six Smithsonian Affiliates in Colorado. Visit HistoryColorado.org, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.


Filed Under: City of GranadaCity of LamarConsumer IssuesEducationFeaturedHistoryMedia Release


About the Author: