By Jeff Todd
NEDERLAND, Colo. (CBS4)– The Nederland Area Historical Society is hoping selling some historic land will be lead the organization to do a better job of preserving valuable artifacts.
“A lot of residents are sad the steam shovel will be going away but they realize that the tradeoff, I think, is a good thing,” Dan Martin said. “It’s the last buildable lot in downtown Nederland that’s available.”
Martin and other board members decided it was time to take advantage of the market and, hopefully, raise an incredible amount of revenue for preservation projects. The lot at 81 W. 2nd street is up for sale for $435,000.
“With the historic high land values in Boulder County, and the Front Range area that this, would be a perfect opportunity to sell the lots and use the monies for other historic projects,” Martin said.
The three projects include fixing up the Bryant House near the RTD Park and Ride, build a rot iron fence around the Nederland cemetery, and find a home for the volumes of historic documents and pictures the Historical Society is right now housing in a closet.
“I found out about the history of the house really by accident,” said Martin who joined the Historical Society 25 years ago. “I found out it was the oldest house in the town of Nederland and one of the oldest in Boulder County. Our goal is to restore it and get it back to its original glamour.”
The Bryant House was saved 15 years ago when RTD wanted to build the Park and Ride, but has sat in a deteriorating state ever since.
“It was from 1859 it was built by pike peak gold rushers hat came to this area before the town was ever here,” he said.
Martin expects the restoration to cost about $100,000.
However, the Historical Society wants to embark on an even bigger project.
“We’d like to put a history wing on the Nederland library to house our 10,000 pictures that we’ve collected since 1974,” Martin said.
Inside a closet, Martin showed CBS4 boxes full of historic documents, mining maps, and photos dating back to the late 1800s.
“Most of these photographs, I would say 90 percent of them have never been seen before. We’ve been stockpiling them and protecting them,” Martin said.
Before the preservation can move forward, the Historical Society needs to find a buyer. The lot is zoned commercial but society members are hoping it can become mixed use to help with housing issues in Nederland.
“We’re just really caretakers of these things. We want to try and preserve and show newer generations how our forefathers did things,” Martin said.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.