The Glass of Glasgow

Travel Blog – Day 3

I made myself a long list of potential stops for my third day in Glasgow but I had no real idea how many I could get to. Turns out, almost all of them.

First I wanted to check out St. Mungo’s Cathedral, which is the oldest area of Glasgow. The stained glass windows of St. Mungo’s are gorgeous and there is so much detail! Photographing inside a dark cathedral proved to be quite challenging and the photos couldn’t really capture the beauty of the dark stone offset by the flood of colorful light. But the one thing I thought was very cool is that each of the windows that had been restored incorporated a description, artist name and date in the glass at the bottom of each panel, giving visitors more information about the timeline of the building.

I walked across to the Necropolis, the cemetery connected to St. Mungo’s by a stone bridge. From the top, you can get some wonderful views of the City.

One of the intricate mausoleum’s.

Just next door to the Necropolis is Tennent’s Brewing. Although they offer free tours, it was still considered breakfast-time, so I thought better of it.

I made my way back to the People’s Palace and Winter Garden, which the bus passed by on their route. On the way there I found a few buildings that would be really cool to buy and restore. This one is an old school.

The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens holds a history museum in the stone building and the glass greenhouse is of course, the Winter Garden portion.

As grey as it has been the last few days, I have to say the glass roofs around Glasgow make for really beautiful spaces to be inside.

Walking back to City Center I checked out the “Homes for the Future” buildings that were designed for Glasgow’s 1999 “UK City of Architecture and Design” festival.

Next up the top of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Lighthouse. The building was originally built for the Glasgow Herald and is now Scotland’s Center for Design and Architecture.

The hike up the spiral stair is rewarded with some great views around the City.

Then I hussled over to the City Chambers Building for their afternoon free tour. The architect, William Young, had spent a great deal of time in the Mediterranean, which was illustrated in the mosaic tile floors.

There were several species of wood throughout the rooms we toured, with connections to the countries of the British Empire. This one is of course mahogany coming from Africa.

So many beautiful skylights throughout the building.

This is the largest Carrera marble staircase in Europe (extending one story higher than that of the Vatican).

My last stop of the day was the Willow Tea Room on Buchanan Street, with recreated portions of details from Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Tea Rooms that he originally designed for Catherine Cranston. The original tea rooms were updated over the years and then later were closed. It was bustling, so I decided not to stay for tea, but I was able to take a look.

After about 8 miles of walking I was quite knackered, as they say here. So I made my to the tallest movie theater in the world, Cineworld, to catch a movie. It was a nice way to end the day. FYI nachos at the movie theater are quite different in the UK and I found myself wishing I had just stuck with traditional popcorn. Live and learn!

Arts and Culture

Travel Blog – Day 2

With an entire city to digest I decided a good place to start would be to get on the “hop on, hop off” city tour bus. They circulate every 15 minutes and for one extra pound you can get a two day pass (so 16 pounds vs 15)….of course I then promptly dropped my ticket at my first hop-off spot…oops…likely it fell out of my pocket as I was digging for tissues to stop my seemingly perpetual runny nose.

So learn from me – keep your ticket and your tissues in separate pockets. Fortunately the next bus driver let me on but said other drivers would likely require me to purchase a new ticket. Oh well.

My first stop was the Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid. Completed in 2011, the building pulls inspiration from the waves formed by the confluence of the Rivers Clyde and Kelvin. The museum is free and houses all manners of transportation mechanisms, from bicycles to caravans to models of ships. Glasgow was a ship building epicenter; at it’s peak it is estimated that they were producing 25% of the worlds ships, with launches occurring every two days.

The museum sits on the old shipyards, long since demolished. I may have been a little preoccupied with the building to really pay the attention that was due to the magnificent amount of exhibits. A model of a city block was complete with horse-drawn trolley and stores that you could explore and learn about saddlery, cobblery, photography (of the old time-y sorts) and a subway.

Mostly what I was thinking about was how simple Zaha’s interior finish schedule must have been. A brilliant move considering how complex every other detail of the building likely was.

The next stop was Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, also free to the public. They had a special exhibition on Charles Rennie Mackintosh on the ground level that has a small fee. By the time I got to it, it was getting a bit late, so I am keeping that on my potential to do list. I have a few other Mackintosh stops to make…so perhaps it calls for a dedicated Mackintosh day.

The galleries had a plethora of art and heritage objects. There were Scottish-specific rooms with gorgeous paintings, furniture and textiles; natural science rooms with things like stuffed elephants and pre-historic skeletons; a room full of armor from warriors all over the world; a French room with pieces by Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and many others; and if you hate all of that, there is a giant pipe organ….really there has to be something for everyone in this building.

After leaving the Kelvingrove, I decided I would walk back to City Center. The day had been kind of choreographed that far and I had lost my bus ticket after all. I, of course, chose the drizzly part of the day to walk around, but contrary to what my Grandpa used to tell me, I am not made of sugar, so I was fine. I picked interesting steeples and towers in the distance and found out if I could get to them.

After a while I realized I was unable to see the skyline through the gray skies. At that point I was pretty sure I had gotten myself good and lost. But then I ended up stumbling upon the Speirs Wharf and canal trail.

What you can’t tell from the photos is that the canal is actually about 20-30 feet above the ground just to the left of these photos. And the path was labeled with plenty of signage leading me back to the City Center. If you go the other way the canal connects to the Falkirk Wheel and there was signage about the canal being a Glasgow to Edinburgh canoe trail. That would be fun!

After dropping things back at my hotel I decided to squeeze in one last museum, the Gallery of Modern Art, which I passed yesterday. There were some interesting pieces…but I found I was mostly interested in the building.

The statue out front of the GoMA is the Duke of Wellington on his horse, Copenhagen. You may notice the traffic cone on his head. Apparently the police have stopped trying to remove it as each time they did, it reappeared. It has now become an icon of its own in Glasgow. The GoMA was originally the site of William Cunninghame’s 1777 home; he was a tobacco baron. He had plantations in America until the Revolutionary War. It was sold to John Stirling in 1789. In 1817 it became a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland and then in 1827 it housed the Glasgow Royal Exchange. The signage in the building indicates that they aren’t 100% sure if the original Cunninghame home was incorporated into the later additions/alterations, but just from a walk around the outside, it appears to me that the original window pediments match the drawings of Cunninghame’s home. I ended the day with a hearty meat pie and chips at “The Citizen”, a restaurant named and sited inside the first Glasgow daily newspaper.

Reykjavik and Glasgow

Travel Blog – Day 1

The last 20 hours have been a sleep deprived whirl, but exciting none-the-less. I failed to get sleep on the flights which made for a lot of walking around Glasgow to stay awake until check-in time. But that turned out to be the perfect way to spend the day getting to know my surroundings. Without time or the mental power to research the city before or during my walk, I discovered places the old-fashioned way – by stumbling upon them.

But let’s back up. Icelandair flies direct from Denver to Reykjavik. So in less than 7 hours you can leave the middle of the United States and arrive on a snow-covered airfield that reminded me of landing in Alaska. We arrived at 5am in Iceland, but you wouldn’t have known it was the crack of dawn with the soothing yet bustling terminal building. One could tell it is predominantly a stopover location due to the vast differences in passenger outfits. As snow fell outside, travelers in shorts paced the terminal along with those more appropriately dressed. They won me over immediately with their Scandinavian style and TLC’s “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls” over the terminal speakers.

The only design flaw a few fellow passengers and I discovered was in the bathroom when the combination of shallow sinks with Dyson’s Airblade Tap (which integrates the powerful Dyson airblade with the sink faucet) results in blowing the foamy soap off your hands and all over the room. We all laughed together, but my former life in Airport design made me think the maintenance staff are likely not so tickled by this reality.

We deplaned and boarded on the airfield. I found this thoroughly enjoyable (I felt like a Beatle), although a few of my fellow passengers were less sure footed on the stairs. Fortunately my winter walking skills are still fresh since Colorado hasn’t quite decided if it is ready to fully embrace spring. It seems Reykjavik is having similar thoughts. It was beautiful though and I am looking forward to my stopover on the way back. Icelandair has a finely tuned marketing game. They make it less expensive to have a one-night stopover than to keep on going, to encourage you to keep more of your tourist dollars there. I can’t wait!

Glasgow was just a two and a half hour flight from Iceland. After a nice quick pass through customs, I was on the curbside waiting to jump on the airport express to downtown Glasgow. For 12 pounds you can get an open-ended round trip ticket on the bus (8 pounds one way) and not have to concern yourself with navigating the opposite side of the car/road or figure out where to park it. In my sleep deprived state, when the bus driver started off, it did take some effort to not yell out “wait wrong way!”. Silly American!

Fortunately my hotel took my bags off my hands as I arrived in downtown around noon. Glasgow was bustling and it seems the George Square area is their shopping district…pre-trip research likely would have told me this, but I find this way more fun. I stumbled upon two different multi-story malls (at first I wasn’t sure if it was just one mall that I found from different sides) with some of the typical stores found in US malls. But I also found a couple very cool historic arcades. Like this one that appeared to be their jewelry district. I saw signs for fully furnished apartments above, but I promised my family and partners that I would return from this trip.

True to my characteristics I took many a picture of old buildings. From an uninformed look at Glasgow, they appear to be facing similar deterioration struggles that we see in Colorado, only with significantly more moisture and vegetation growth. They also seem to have a fair amount of demolition occurring, which surprised me, and it looks like there is clean-up underway from a recent fire.

I scouted out some future stops, but decided I just had to keep moving to make it to nap time. I walked into the hotel at 2:56pm (I may have been circling the blocks nearby at the end there). As much as I was hoping to just sleep until tomorrow, I read several jet lag articles that recommended the best way to adjust to a new time zone is to take a short nap if absolutely needed and then get back up to finish out the daylight (a better way would have been to sleep on the flights…don’t do what I do!). I hope you enjoy the photos – now off to plan my adventures for tomorrow!

By Natalie Lord

Scotland Travel Adventure – APTI Stone Conservation Workshop

Travel Blog – Day 0

With packed bags and a couple of masonry samples in hand, I am headed to Scotland this evening. The Association for Preservation Technology International is hosting a Stone Conservation Workshop in Stirling, Scotland where I hope to steal any and all Scottish secrets for stone preservation techniques that may vary from what we are doing here in the US. Since I haven’t traveled internationally for quite some time and having never been to the UK  (layovers don’t really count) I decided to spend a few days on either end of the conference exploring. We thought this would be a perfect opportunity for a little travel blog. Follow along!

by Natalie Lord

April 2018 Grants Submitted

Good luck to all of our clients who submitted History Colorado – State Historical Fund grant applications in the April 2018 grant round!

We provided assistance with 14 applications in this round – several are pictured below.  We’re looking forward to the results in June and August!

Six Degrees of Preservation

One of our favorite parts of being Preservation Architects is learning the unique stories behind the buildings we work on. It adds a whole new level of depth to a project that you don’t find in other areas of architecture. Storytelling is one of the greatest tools we have to gain project momentum. We pride ourselves in helping to continue the legacy of great places and protecting their stories. In February, I presented at Colorado Preservation Inc’s Saving Places Conference as part of the APT-RMC Lightening Talk. My topic was “Six Degrees of Preservation” discussing some of the more interesting threads of connectivity I have found over the past several years of preservation work.

I realized I needed to start keeping track of the connections while working on the Dennis Sheedy Mansion at 1115 Grant Street. The mansion and carriage house were built in 1892 by Architects E.T. Carr and William Feth. During my research I found a copy of Dennis Sheedy’s autobiography in the Western History and Genealogy Collection at the Denver Public Library. Dennis had signed and addressed the copy “Presented to A.L. Doud by Dennis Sheedy with Compliments and Best Wishes”. 


Dennis Sheedy came to Colorado in the 1880s after building his fortune in the mercantile and cattle business. He was asked to be on the board of the Colorado National Bank, later becoming the director and then the vice president. In his role on the board he was asked to evaluate some of their riskier loan holders. Following his report to the board, Sheedy decided to personally save two of them. One was the Holden Smelter which became the Globe Smelter and Refinery and the other was the McNamara Dry Goods which became the Denver Dry Good. Both businesses were highly important to Denver’s history.

In 1927 Helen Bonfils purchased Sheedy’s home and turned it into a fine arts school for the community. Her influence saved the residence from the wave of demolition that swept down what was then known as Millionaire’s Row. In 1974 the mansion was sold and converted into an office building, dividing the grand rooms up into small office suites.

In 2014 the building was purchased by Unbridled Holdings for their offices and I worked on the renovation that reversed much of the 70s alterations. The project infused new life into the mansion, highlighting the history while making it functional for a vibrant modern company. A gym with private showers; quiet rooms; small and large conference space; open-group as well as private offices; a music lounge and a group kitchen are just a few of the modern amenities. The historic fabric is an enhancement, not a limiter. There is intricate and varied woodwork (there are 12 different fireplaces and 9 different species of wood in the building) making each room unique. The historic windows flood the rooms with light. The pocket doors were restored, giving occupants the ability for the rooms to flow together or close them off if needed. A few new complimentary elements were incorporated into the building, including a beautiful new window by Watkins Stained Glass Studio.

In 2017 Unbridled purchased the Historic Bosworth House at 1400 Josephine Street. The house was designed by the firm of Varian and Sterner in 1889. Frederick J. Sterner and Ernest Phillip Varian met while working in the office of Frank E. Edbrooke. The Bosworth house pre-dates Sheedy mansion, but the interior woodwork is strikingly similar. Our renovation of the Bosworth mansion will begin this spring and it has already been dubbed “the mini-mansion”. Our intent is to incorporate the same successes we found on the Sheedy Project, but with a unique twist. Check us out on Facebook and Instagram for progress photos and more info about the renovations.

Another Varian and Sterner building we’re excited to be working on is the Charline Place Condominiums, on the 1400 block of Pennsylvania. Owner Charles Smith built Charline Place in 1890 and the building was originally four grand townhomes. In 1902 Charles hired Architect J.J. Huddart to convert the building into 12 apartments, adding exterior balconies and “popping the top” in the center of the East façade (pop-tops aren’t a modern phenomenon). Freight elevators were also added in the back of the building and the multi-level sleeping porches were enclosed.


The building was divided twice more into 20+ condominiums and then into 42. The 1920s renovations added one-of-a-kind terrazzo floors, skylights and gave the building a castle-theme. If you find yourself walking by, look for the stucco to tell you where the open porches existed before the 1920s. We talked about Charline Place’s stone in our post Losing Colorado’s Manitou Sandstone. 


In 2015 I had the distinct pleasure of working on the renovation of 1201 Auraria Parkway. This building was constructed in 1901 by Dennis Sheedy as the Denver Dry Good Warehouse. The architect was Frank E. Edbrooke, who designed the Denver Dry Good building at 16th and California (the original and several additions/expansions).

The placement of 1201 had to do with the train line that ran right behind the building. When we removed some later additions off the south and west facades, we found some of the original shutters that were closed when a train went by to prevent soot from damaging the merchandise. My favorite part of the project is when the large freight shaft was opened up and you could see all the way from the basement to the roof. You will find this image on some of my business cards.

Nat Bus Card 3a

It tells you so much about how the building was originally put together and I love the connection it gives you to everyone from the people who sawed the timber to the ones who stocked the wagons headed to the Dry and now the modern builders and office workers who brought life back into the space.

In 2016 I completed a Historic Structures Assessment of the Pennborough Condominiums at 12th and Pennsylvania. This building is particularly interesting because I found it was connected to many projects in different ways. In 1892, Colonel David C. Dodge built his home at the southwest corner of 12th and Pennsylvania and a few years later Joseph B. Gilluly purchased the lot to the south and built his home. Colonel Dodge moved to Denver in 1867 as a general agent for the Chicago and North Western Railway. In 1872 he went to work for General William Palmer as a Traffic Manager and then General Manager for the Denver & Rio Grande. Dodge and Palmer are credited with developing and building the entire D&RG system and Dodge personally helped to finance the construction of the Moffat Tunnel.

Joseph Gilluly was the treasurer for the Denver & Rio Grande and during my research I found he was on the board of the Colorado Seminary with A.L. Doud. Doud turned out to be a notable Denver Lawyer who must have known both Gilluly and Sheedy. Although I’ve suspected the two knew each other in more ways than that considering the proximities of their grand houses. It’s no stretch to assume Sheedy, Gilluly, Dodge and Palmer ran in all the same circles. Denver was just more than a cow-town back then!

Pennborough gets even more interesting in the 1920s when Doctor John Henry Tilden purchased the two mansions and hired Harry W.J. Edbrooke to design an addition that spans between the two buildings. Harry moved to Colorado to join his uncle Frank’s practice in 1908. After the 1920s, the building at 12th and Penn became the Tilden Hospital, later changing to a Good Samaritan Convalescence Home before its 1980s conversion into condominiums.

Doctor Tilden moved to Denver in the 1890s. He originally studied medicine under his father in Illinois but then his career path changed when he went to the Eclectic Medicine  Institute in Cincinnati. Tilden became an alternative medicine practitioner, criticizing pharmaceuticals and explaining disease was a result of Toxemia. As I started researching Tilden and becoming enthralled by his theories of curing ailments through fresh air, healthy eating and exercise, I found there was a National Register listing for a Tilden School for Teaching Health up in the Highlands neighborhood. When I started looking at the NR Nomination I realized in the corner of the photo, next to the two school buildings, was the Bosler House. Come to find out, Tilden purchased the Bosler house and hired Harry Edbrooke to build the school. Bosler House_01 Jessica corroborated my story, as she has been working on the Bosler house for the past several years. I interviewed her to get the details about its history. Built in 1875 for Ambrose Bosler, one of the founders of Highland, it is one of the oldest surviving homes in Denver. The home is of some recent note as the previous owner applied for a demo permit, was denied and then attempted to demolish it by neglect. But new Owners took on the great task of restoration. Currently we are working on the stone, window and doors project, which is nearing completion.  The original tower was also recently reconstructed.

Lastly, I will leave you with our CF&I Mine Project in Creede, Colorado. The CF&I operated from 1911 -1950 mining Flourspar supplying the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company in Pueblo. The property was first the site of the Wagon Wheel Gap Hot Springs resort that opened in the 1870s and was purchased 1907 by General William Palmer. The Denver & Rio Grande line runs through the canyon downstream.

The site is currently part of the 4UR Ranch, maintaining the hot-springs/resort function for more than 100 years. F+W is in the process of a stabilization project repairing some collapses and deterioration from water rushing down the slope of the mountain and through the building. We hope to help repair and prevent further losses to save this gem for future generations. Here’s visual of how all of these projects connect. We hope there will be more tidbits like this to share with you as our work through the State continues.

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By Natalie Lord

Altona Schoolhouse

The Altona Schoolhouse was completed in 1880 to serve as a one-room school for the community.  At the time of its construction, Altona had 60 days of school with a total of 40 students in attendance, ranging in age from 6 to 21.  Local residents recall the building being used not only for school but also for Christmas programs, community dinners, and other events.

In 1948, the school districts in the area began consolidating due to a declining rural population in the area and deteriorating buildings.  The last classes were held in the Altona schoolhouse in 1948, after which point the Altona students were sent to other schools.

In 1951 the building was purchased by John and Katrina Heil.  Shortly thereafter, the building was converted to a residence for one of the Heil’s children, Hilde, and her husband, Wayne Hillman.  The building remained in use as a residence for many years.   During its time as a residence, four additions were constructed to provide additional living spaces for the family.

In 2012, the Heil family sold the property, including the historic Altona Schoolhouse to Boulder County.  In 2013, the building was designated a Boulder County Historic Landmark.  It is the oldest of four remaining stone schoolhouses in Boulder County.

Recently, the residential additions were removed from the building, revealing the original form and materials of the rural one-room schoolhouse.  The exterior walls of the building are constructed of locally sourced sandstone.  Most of the original windows remain intact.  Interior finishes, though modified, were intact and able to provide information regarding the original appearance of the inside of the building.

Form+Works Design Group is currently working with Boulder County Parks and Open Space to restore the stone schoolhouse to its original appearance.  Upon completion of the project, the building will be open to school and civic groups.  Programs will be provided by Boulder County Parks and Open Space staff and volunteers, demonstrating the late 19th century rural education system.  The original materials will be restored, and the building will be furnished with typical schoolhouse furnishings of the era.

Concurrently, Boulder County is working to develop the 210-acre open space property around the schoolhouse.  The development will include interpretive trails, signage, and parking, allowing access to the property for recreational use.

We are excited to see the schoolhouse restored and the open space site available for community use!

Jessica Reske


Buildings are rarely known for their architects and if they are, the architects are likely a select few “star-chitects” like the familiar Wright, Liebeskind, Graves, Calatrava, etc. Usually the buildings are known for their function or named after their Owner. We were surprised and excited when we were contacted by Family of Christ Presbyterian Church in Greeley to assist them with a house known for its very unique architect. Bessie Smith was born and raised in Greeley and became an architect by correspondence. She was Denver’s only female architect from 1901-1903. She returned to Greeley in 1903 to practice. She was known for climbing around on her buildings to inspect the construction.


The house was built c. 1907 for the Carrel Family. Up until 2016 it was located at 1115 15th Street. The City condemned the block and began plans for demolishing the structures to make way for a future municipal project. The Bessie Smith house is one of only a handful of surviving examples of her work in Greeley, which include the Coronado Building (at 9th Ave and 9th St) and the Plumb Farm House (Now the Wright-Plumb Farm Learning Center). Linde and Ron Thompson, members of Historic Greeley, Inc., began spreading the word to save the house. Family of Christ Presbyterian Church, located on 35th Ave, answered the call to save the house. Having a nice large property, they saw the potential for the house to become part of their growing community outreach programs and a way to help even more people.

While Family of Christ has taken the lead, this project has been, and will continue to be a community endeavor.  Creating space for a new municipal building, the City of Greeley awarded the house to the church after reviewing its community-minded proposal.  Going forward, Family of Christ is looking for additional partners to help rehabilitate the house and carry out the community center’s mission of “Honoring History, Practicing Hospitality, and Seeking Harmony.” 

Family of Christ, with the aid of a City stipend, moved the house into their parking lot and began the first step in setting the building back down. When Form+Works met with the church, the new foundation walls had been poured, but they were looking for assistance in working through their vision of what the final building will be to complete the systems rough-in and adequately plan for providing accessibility. Form+Works worked with this wonderful group and now, with the City’s approval, the house is ready for the final move to its new home. Stay-tuned as we will surely document this momentous event. Once on the ground, the Thompsons and Form+Works will continue the work to fully restore this beautiful building.

Don’t let the before photos scare you, the bones of the house are in good condition.

Bessie Smith’s architectural career after 1910 is unknown. Records show she moved to San Diego with her father in 1910 and in 1912 she married Benjamin Wellington Bryant. Together they had a daughter, Barbara.  Bessie died at the age of 39 in San Diego and there are no records that she ever returned to Greeley.

When I first read about Bessie Smith, the correlations between the two of us are quite striking. Having been born and raised in Greeley myself, my house was less than 2 miles from the original Carrel House location. Our birth years are exactly 100 years apart – 1882 and 1982 – and I moved to San Diego after getting married. Of course, our stories depart from there, as I returned to Colorado after my graduate degree.

Regardless, I was elated that Form+Works was selected to be a part of this very special building in my hometown. I think about Bessie Smith as I stitch the histories of our projects back together from the same time period. She lived a drastically different life than other women of her time. She likely had no idea that 110 years later a group of women architects would be looking back at her work, grateful she paved the way for us in the practice of architecture. I like to think that she simply loved the discipline as much as we do.  Various articles and opinions about her reach the same consensus –  Bessie Smith never received the attention she deserved, but we are hoping this project is the first step in shedding some light onto her work and life. Additionally, we hope to honor her as we put this house to a new use for First Family of Christ and the Greeley community.

Natalie Lord


Far View Visitor Center

Jessica Reske

We are very excited to be working on a project at Mesa Verde National Park!  In cooperation with the Mesa Verde Museum Association, the National Park Service, and History Colorado, we just began work on a Historic Structure Report for the Far View Visitor Center.  I recently had the pleasure of going to Mesa Verde to attend the project kick-off meeting.  We are fortunate to be working with a great group on this unique project!

The building was constructed as part of the National Park Service’s Mission 66 program.   The program was federally sponsored, and was in place from 1956-1966.  The programs’ goals were to be implemented by 1966, the 50th anniversary of the National Park system. Efforts undertaken under the program included improving deteriorated and dangerous conditions in National Parks nationwide which were the result of a visitor boom following World War II.  Under the program, the National Park Service sought to add modern conveniences within the parks, educate the public, and standardize the National Park experience.  The concept of a visitor center, now a staple of National Parks nationwide, came about under this program.  Designers during this time embraced modern, contemporary structural forms, a stark contrast to the rustic buildings previously found in the National Parks.

Visitor Centers constructed during the Mission 66 era were usually prominently sited on major roads within the parks and were recognizable as structures associated with their specific park.  Typically, expansive views were provided from the visitor centers, providing views of nearby natural and cultural resources.  The Far View Visitor Center exemplifies all of these characteristics.

The Far View Visitor Center was dedicated in 1968, and is one of the last Mission 66 visitor centers to open.   The cylindrical shape of the building was intended to evoke the form of a kiva, a Puebloan ceremonial structure found throughout the park.   From the deck of the building, an impressive visa of the mesa is visible.  The visitor center is sited on the main road through the park, across the street from other amenities such as the Far View Lodge and the Far View Terrace Cafe and gift shop.

The visitor center was closed in 2012, upon completion of a more modern visitor center, located at the entrance to the park.  The building is currently vacant.  Part of the Historic Structure Report will include a study of possible uses for the building, including early discussions with a possible user for the building!


View from the observation deck of the Far View Visitor Center




Losing Colorado’s Manitou Sandstone

Last night Form+Works met with the Home Owner’s Association of Charline Place, a condominium building in Denver’s Pennsylvania Street Historic District (if this sounds familiar to any out-of-towners, the District includes the famous Molly Brown House Museum). As you recall, they were one of the State Historical Fund’s 2017 Mini-Grant Recipients that we announced a couple of months ago.


The Charline Place project will be an exterior evaluation of the historic windows, brick and Manitou Sandstone masonry. The project will provide a preservation plan for the HOA to utilize to focus their efforts in a prioritized and manageable way.

We are excited to work with Historic Denver and add Charline Place to our list of Manitou Sandstone buildings we’ve been fortunate to work on. The thing that makes Manitou Sandstone so unique is that it is one of Colorado’s “extinct” materials. Extinct is in quotes because technically the stone isn’t gone….but it would likely be pretty frowned upon to start quarrying right in the middle of Garden of the Gods, one of Colorado’s designated National Natural Landmarks. Needless to say, the only source of exact replacement of Manitou now would be to deconstruct another building, which as preservationists, we would be vehemently against.


At the turn of the 20th century, the stone was quarried and utilized for countless buildings around Colorado. It is a beautiful stone with a consistent red-orange color. Unfortunately Colorado’s drastic freeze-thaw cycles take a significant toll on sandstones of all kinds, but Manitou, although beautiful, was not one of the most durable stones. The face of the stone tends to “sugar”. That process is exactly what you would imagine. As a sedimentary rock, sandstone is formed by grains of sand being pressed together over time. Since there is no binding material holding the sand together, the durability of the stone is really subject to the amount of pressure it was formed under.

What we have seen on past projects and now on areas of Charline Place, is that there was a campaign – sometime in the 60s and 70s (what we now think of as the “Preservation Dark Ages”) where sandstone buildings were parged  (application of a layer of concrete or stucco)  with the thought that this would stop the deterioration. Unfortunately, what we are seeing is this actually increased the deterioration of the stone more dramatically. You will see areas that haven’t been parged are often in great shape and areas with parging can cause the entire face of the stone (sometimes several inches in) to fall off.

As our project at Charline Place gets started we will be sure to better illustrate what we are describing. Be sure to keep up with our Instagram and Facebook pages for progress updates.