Documenting Excluded History of Place

The Colorado Historical Foundation has so far sponsored three statewide survey plans (see below) to begin identifying places associated with people and events often excluded from historic designations.  Each of these reports investigates and defines historic context, as well as provides examples of sites associated with the each context. The purpose of the plans overall is to inspire further research and designation of historic sites within each theme and to elevate these important histories. “Witnessing and physically experiencing where significant events took place, or where communities lived or gathered, heightens  authentic connection with history,” says Colorado Historical Foundation Executive Director Catherine Stroh. All three projects were funded in part by History Colorado State Historical Fund Grants.

To discuss a new survey plan topic or how to use one of the below surveys to increase or promote historical designations, please contact

Additionally, with the support of Preservation Intern Brooke Keith, the Colorado Historical Foundation launched its Beyond the Buildings blog: Diverse Voices from the Past to build awareness of the people associated with various Foundation conservation easement sites.

Historic survey plan highlights places of LGBTQ pride

Individuals whose sexual orientation or gender identity did not conform to established heterosexual or binary gender norms lived and loved in Colorado since humans first occupied the land. Their stories are inseparable from Colorado history, therefore the sites associated with their personal histories are many and varied.

Bookstores, clubs, and locations of supportive centers catering to LGBTQ communities are documented throughout Colorado’s urban cores. The Coal Creek Arena in Aurora hosted the first Colorado Gay Rodeo. Veterans note several gay men and lesbians served at Camp Hale, a World War II Army installation once located near Redcliff. In 1975 County Clerk Clela Rorex bravely issued same-sex marriage licenses at the Boulder County Courthouse, long before such marriages were legalized. The Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins cared for gay Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard and updated over 815,000 website visitors worldwide on his status after he was severely beaten and later died.

Download full Survey Plan (PDF)

Download table of highlighted sites (PDF)

Photos by Amy Unger: Boulder County Courthouse, 2022; Bunk House Lodge, Breckenridge, 2023.

Photo: Colorado Historical Foundation, 2021.
Winks Panorama Lodge, Gilpin County

African American Travel and Recreation Resource Survey Plan

This survey plan documents the history of 280 Colorado travel and recreation sites that helped to form a nationwide network of resilience created by businesses, families and Black travelers in the face of racism, segregation and sun-down towns through 1965. 

Just over 50% of the sites identified in the Survey Plan were still intact. Surveys like this are an important step in documenting this essential American and Colorado history and preserving these places so they can continue to tell this story. 

Download Full Report (PDF)

Hinsdale County Courthouse

Photo: Colorado Historical Foundation, 2019.
Hinsdale County Courthouse, Lake City

Women's Suffrage Sites in Colorado: A Survey Plan 

As the first state where women won the right to vote by popular referendum, Colorado has an extensive history of engagement in the women's suffrage movement. This statewide survey begins to document the locations tied to this important facet of women's - and Colorado's - history.

The next phase includes recommending specific sites for historic designation or expanding the current historical designation records to include each site's association with women's history. The Foundation, in partnership with the Colorado State Historic Preservation Office, is pursuing this work through an Underrepresented Communities Grant from the National Park Service. 

Download Full Survey Plan (PDF)