Kylee Cole, Dillon Maxwell, and I all interned for the City of Fort Collins Historic Preservation Division this summer, and, like all city employees, went through an orientation program. We met people from a range of departments, from utilities specialists to administrative personnel. Kylee and I even sat with the new police chief, Jeffrey Swoboda, who took the same training as us interns. Our orientation leader stressed the importance of teamwork and ensured that we understood our work was not compartmentalized but rather contributed to a larger whole. Activities, like the team scavenger hunt in which we familiarized ourselves with the integrated buildings of the Civic Center Subdistrict, underscored that point.
One of my tasks this summer was to write a history of the Farm at Lee Martinez Park. In addition to working with the Preservation staff and my fellow interns, I collaborated with Recreation staff and contacted a number of local historians. I created a kid-friendly infographic and map of the site as well as an in-depth history. Few reference materials existed for this project, which necessitated creative research relying largely on historic newspaper articles and genealogical records. As part of this project, in August, I got to see the Ross Proving-Up House move to its new home in the Farm’s Outdoor Museum, an exciting event to experience and to work into the site history. I hope my report helps any future researchers and that my infographic makes some visitors smile.
I wrapped up my internship by presenting an item for local landmark designation to the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission. I created a presentation to convey my findings regarding eligibility of 707 W Mountain for landmark status. I argued that the house was significant for its embodiment of Dutch Colonial Revival Style, and design by architect Montezuma Fuller, and for its association with Jim Reidhead, a community member active in development and preservation. Presenting before a government commission certainly got my color up but having the rest of the department there to support me bolstered my confidence. Throughout this process, I worked with the property owner, Donna Reidhead. She clearly cared about historic preservation on both a community and personal level, her husband, Jim, being an integral part of the property’s significance; seeing that kind of enthusiasm in a non-academic context made a lasting impression on me.