August 23, 2010

Shawnee named to National Register

Mike Potter
Staff Writer

Shawnee is now on the National Register of Historic Places, following a July 8 decision by the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places.

The designation will draw attention to the community in northeastern Park County as a location rich in local, state, and national history, said Brian Heber, director of the Shawnee Historical Society.

"Having this designation, being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, definitely brings a certain pride and ... prestige to the community," he said.

Shawnee was nominated on May 7 by the Colorado Historic Preservation and State Register Review Board for placement on the National Historic Register. At the time, Heber said he expected Shawnee to be approved for the list.

He said signs will be put on U.S. 285 letting travelers know about the historical area they are traveling through, and he hopes that will get some of them to stop.

Also, history buffs are likely to plan trips to historical areas, which could bring them to Shawnee.

"We're hopeful that it will begin to put us on the map again and to raise awareness of the public that this little hamlet in the valley has a place in history, and it is an interesting place to come and visit and enjoy," he said.

Heather Bailey, the Colorado State National Register historian, said Shawnee's resident's are excited about the designation and worked throughout the process to make it a reality.

"This is meant to be a program to show your pride in your historic property," she said about the Historic Register process. "With listings in Colorado, of course, it makes the possibility much greater for state historical fund projects. There's also the option for private property owners to get federal and state tax credits."

Heber said private property owners whose land was included in the application will be getting letters soon announcing the designation of their properties as historic.

"That'll be exciting for those property owners to have in their possession," he said.

The nomination and selection of Shawnee to the National Register was largely due to the work of the residents and county officials, he added.

"One of the things you can't say enough, and that's really the thanks that goes to the community of Shawnee [which] has supported this really from the very beginning when it was first considered and then named a local historic district," Heber said.

He also recognized History Colorado because it "picked up the ball for the nomination to the national register."

Heber also thanked Gary Goodson, an author and historian who lives in Shawnee.

"He was quite instrumental in eliciting the funds for the historic marker that the community donated and had installed" when the local historic district was formed, Heber said.

What next?

Heber said a town meeting is being planned to inform residents what the designation means for the town.

He also said there are plans to organize a self-guided walking tour of Shawnee for visitors drawn in by the historic designation.

A celebration is being planned for Shawnee residents to enjoy the new historical designation.

"We'll put together some plans for a celebration of this great accomplishment and this great recognition," Heber said.