Scattered throughout downtown Grand Junction, you can still find stately vintage homes that seem frozen in time — museums, really, that double as modern living spaces.
That's just how some Grand Junction residents want to keep it, and the establishment by the city of a new registered historic district aims to meet those same ends.
Grand Junction City Council recently officially approved the new district — the Original Mile (1882) Keith's Addition (1890) Historic District. The name is a reference to the city's original plat and an annexation eight years later.
The district — now a part of the City Register of Historic Sites, Structures and Districts — includes 98 homes located roughly between 9th and 13th streets on Main Street and Rood Avenue. Nearly half of the historic homes in the new district, or 43, were built between 1900 and 1910.
Patty Vernon, who lives at 960 Rood Ave., told city councilors about her home, built in 1900 and rehabbed by her since she purchased it four years ago.
"It's very comfortable. It's beautiful. And it represents the history of Grand Junction, from another era," Vernon said. "If you tear them all down there's no reference at all."
Vernon said the effort to designate the area as a district was spearheaded by residents Linda Lynch and Catherine Hursh, and the idea sprung out of the Emerson Park Neighborhood Association.
Sixty percent of residents within the proposed district returned petitions approving the idea, which is right at the number required by the city. The establishment of the district doesn't mean any additional rules or regulations for residents there, it simply sets the district boundaries. The designation could open up new opportunities for grant funding, though, city officials said.
Hursh told city councilors that she estimates 60 homeowners in the new district are rehabbing their houses in some way.
"We want this to continue. People are moving in, with families, making this community and refurbishing these homes," Hursh said.
She hoped the new designation would prod others to maintain and upgrade their historic homes, and noted that many of the houses not rehabbed are uninhabited and rather are owned as investments.
"A lot of people that I know that live within this district do their very best to make (their homes) safe and attractive, with upgraded landscaping," Vernon told the council.
Part of the argument for establishing the new district was the cross-section of early residents of the neighborhood. The mix included lawyers, bankers, business owners, merchants, railroaders, mechanics, artists and musicians.
The city says notable residents included well-known pianist and composer Edna Day, civic leader James Rankin, banker and industrialist Orson Adams, well-known surgeon Dr. Carl Plumb, and sporting goods store owner Herman Vorbeck.
Several architectural styles are represented in the new district, including bungalow, Edwardian and Queen Anne. Many of the homes' distinctive features are also on their way to becoming relics: brick chimneys, hip and gable roofs, front porches with columns or piers, and detached garages.
The new Original Mile (1882) Keith's Addition (1890) Historic District joins two other districts in Grand Junction. The Lincoln Park Historic District is also included in the City Register of Historic Sites, Structures and Districts. The North Seventh Street Historic Residential District is listed with the National Register of Historic Places.
Vernon, who said her Rood Avenue home was originally built by a former mayor of Grand Junction, said the new designation matters.
"To me it was just important to be in a historic district. It gives your property, I think, more status. It says it's more special, I think," she said.