Ten creative ways to celebrate Preservation Month this May

Published on May 03, 2021

May is National Preservation Month and Denver Community Planning and Development’s Landmark Preservation team is celebrating all month long. Established in 1973 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Preservation Month aims to promote historic places and heritage tourism to demonstrate the social and economic benefits of historic preservation. Here are 10 fun and creative ways to celebrate Preservation Month in Denver:

Take a tour – in person or virtually

  • Walk through one of Denver’s 56 historic districts or visit one of Denver’s 352 local landmarks. Maps and a list of all Denver Landmarks can be found on Denver’s landmark preservation webpage.
  • Or, discover Denver’s Landmarks virtually through a flickr album featuring historic landmarks with fun facts.

Stroll down main street

  • Visit one of Denver’s many old streetcar and historic commercial spots, found all over the city in small pockets from Old Highland’s Business District, to Larimer Square, Welton Street in Five Points, South Pearl Street, and many more.
  • Take a guided tour of Lower Downtown, or other historic districts, with Historic Denver’s Walking Tours.
  • Or, embark on a self-guided audio tour courtesy of Denver Architecture Foundation

Explore a historic place

  • Many Denver Landmarks have exhibits that are open to the public, in person or virtually, including the Molly Brown House, the Center for Colorado Women’s History in the Byers-Evans House, Four Mile Historic Park, the Black American West Museum in the Dr. Justina Ford House, the Denver Firefighters Museum, the historic Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory at the Denver Botanic Gardens, or the Wings Over Rockies at historic Lowry Air Force Base.
  • During the late 19th and early 20th century, cemeteries located outside of city centers were designed like gardens for relaxation and beauty, with picnic lunches becoming a favored activity. In Denver, picnic lunches were so popular, police intervention was even considered to help keep the cemeteries clean and numbers down. Take a stroll through the Fairmount Cemetery to see several individual Denver Landmark structures, the Mount Olivet Cemetery, the Olinger Crown Hill Mortuary and Cemetery, or the Riverside Cemetery. 

Find your park 

  • For more than 100 years, Denver’s Mountain Parks have provided a place for people to play in some of Colorado’s most scenic landscapes. These parks include Red Rocks (a National Historic Landmark and local landmark), historic Florence Martin Ranch in Daniels Park (home to Denver’s bison herds that roam on the prairie grasslands), and historic Dedisse Park in Evergreen.
  • Visit a park closer to home by exploring Smith’s Ditch in Washington Park (Denver’s first irrigation canal), Bear Mountain (the first naturalistic habitat of its kind in North America located in the Denver Zoo within historic City Park), or Mestizo-Curtis Park (the city’s oldest park).

Eat somewhere new in someplace old

  • Find a restaurant in an old building and take yourself to lunch! Eat in Denver’s oldest restaurant and Denver Landmark, the Buckhorn Exchange; one of the many restaurants in historic Union Station; or the new mixed-use development at Dairy Block.

Discover your home’s history 

Get inspired by personal stories

  • Check out I Am Denver, the communitywide multimedia project that preserves the city’s culture  through the faces and voices of the people who make Denver.
  • Colorado’s story is constantly evolving and the History Colorado Center features over 15 exhibitions spanning four floors. Newest exhibitions include Building Denver: Visions of the Capital City, Brick & Soul // Armando Geneyro, State Historical Fund Retrospective, Black in Denver, Forty Years on the ‘Fax, and Exploration of Five Points.
  • Stream Rocky Mountain PBS’ award-winning history series Colorado Experience and learn about the people, places, and events that have shaped Colorado.

Engage in statewide preservation 

Teach the next generation

  • Box City provides K-5 students with the experience of being urban developers as they create and construct their own buildings out of recycled materials and place them on a kid-size city grid. This year’s event returns in-person at the History Colorado Center from Monday, May 31 to Sunday June 6. For details, visit denverarchitecture.org.

Take action

  • Speak up for historic places that matter to you! Denver’s historic fabric comes from the stories of the diverse persons and groups who comprise its vibrant history.
  • Share what you love by participating in a project to uncover the historic places of Denver’s Latino and Chicano communities. 
  • Volunteer with Discover Denver and help with a citywide building survey.
  • Or, find additional volunteer opportunities through HistoriCorps.

To discover even more ways to celebrate Preservation Month, follow Denver Landmark Preservation on Instagram (@denver_landmark) and look for the hashtag #PreservationMonth. For more information about Denver Landmark Preservation, visit denvergov.org/landmark.