By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) – One woman is credited with preserving and restoring more than one million square feet of historic Denver. On Thursday, Gov. John Hickenlooper will honor Dana Crawford with the top citizen award in the state.

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Dana Crawford (credit: CBS)

“I do like to help civic causes, and I just happened to have drawn the card which attracted me magnetically to historic buildings,” Crawford said.

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(credit: CBS)

She was vital in the effort to keep 1400 Larimer Street intact. The area has now become Larimer Square and a space Crawford is still fighting to preserve.

“Contemporary life has to be accommodated, but it’s just a subject that never stops,” she said.

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(credit: CBS)

Crawford is the namesake for the hotel in Union Station, which she admits is her favorite project. She worked for 30 years and now calls it “the frosting on the Lower Downtown cake.”

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(credit: CBS)

“I have to say I love to go over there and sit and watch the people,” Crawford said. “We wanted it to be really attractive and comfortable, and I think that was achieved.”

She even admits the area has exceeded her expectation as an epicenter for the community.

At 87 years young, her work is now expanding beyond Denver with big projects in Pueblo, Idaho Springs and Trinidad.

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CBS4’s Jeff Todd interviews Dana Crawford. (credit: CBS)

“A lot of people say they’ve been there, they say, ‘I got a hamburger and gas.’ What you need to do is drive around. The streets are all paved with the original bricks and each brick says ‘Trinidad.’  The mountains down there are so beautiful. It’s compelling, really compelling.”

In Pueblo, she’s working with a group to rejuvenate an old power plant. The Argo Mine in Idaho Springs has a lengthy list of improvements from a restaurant and a hotel to workforce housing.

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(credit: CBS)

“All of these projects are teamwork, and they’ve got a great team. I just joined the team,” she said. “The subject of historic preservation is never finished.”

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.

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