Nomination Process

Durango Register of Historic Properties

Properties and districts are nominated to the Durango Register of Historic Properties. The Historic Preservation Board reviews and recommends nominations to the City Council for designation. Both historic properties with built resources and archaeological sites are eligible for historic designation. Prior to completing a nomination, please contact City staff.

Once a nomination form (PDF) is submitted, the process takes approximately four to six months and involves public hearings. Please also read our detailed instructions (PDF) on how to complete the nomination form.

Nomination Criteria

To successfully nominate a property to the Register, you must document both its physical and cultural history using a Durango Register nomination form. The nomination should demonstrate why the property being nominated meets the criteria in the Land Use & Development Code for historic designation.

The property must:

Be 50 years old or older at the time of nomination

Be significant as either a historic site or an archaeological site.

Retain physical integrity that:

  • Shows character, interest, or value as part of the development, or heritage or cultural characteristics of the community, region, State, or nation.
  • Retains original design features, materials, and/or character.
  • Maintained the original location or same historic context after having been moved.
  • Has been accurately reconstructed or restored based on documentation.

There are different criteria for historic and archaeological sites, and for historic districts. Historic districts require 51% owner consent. A nomination must make an argument supporting the property's significance in one or more of the following areas:

Historic Sites

Historic sites shall meet one or more of the following:

  1. Architectural.
    1. Exemplifies specific elements of an architectural style or period.
    2. Example of the work of an architect or builder who is recognized for expertise nationally, State-wide, regionally, or locally.
    3. Demonstrates superior craftsmanship or high artistic value.
    4. Represents an innovation in construction, materials, or design.
    5. Style particularly associated with Durango area.
    6. Represents a built environment of a group of people in an era of history.
    7. Pattern or grouping of elements representing at least one of the above criteria.
    8. Significant historic remodel.
  2. Social.
    1. Site of historic event that had an effect upon society.
    2. Exemplifies cultural, political, economic, or social heritage of the community.
    3. Association with a notable person or the work of a notable person.
  3. Geographic / Environmental.
    1. Enhances sense of identity of the community.
    2. Reflects an established and familiar natural setting or visual feature of the community.

Prehistoric and Historic Archaeological Sites

Prehistoric and historic archaeological sites shall meet one or more of the following:

  1. Architectural.
    1. Exhibits distinctive characteristics of a type, period or manner of construction.
    2. A unique example of structure.
  2. Social.
    1. Potential to make an important contribution to the knowledge of the area's history or prehistory.
    2. An association with an important event in the area's development.
    3. An association with a notable person(s) or the work of a notable person(s).
    4. A typical example/association with a particular ethnic group.
    5. A unique example of an event in Durango's history.
  3. Geographic / Environmental.
    1. Geographically or regionally important. Buried human remains will be handled in as culturally sensitive and appropriate manner as possible.

Research Resources

Useful tools include old newspaper articles, property records, photo archives, and city directories. The Durango Public Library, Animas Museum, and Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College all contain records that could be useful in researching your property. The University of Colorado has made some of the historic Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps publicly available for researchers as well. Additionally, the City has conducted historic resource surveys of many properties in town and can provide that information for previously surveyed locations.

For complex nominations or large commercial properties, it may be helpful to retain the services of a professional historian, architectural historian, anthropologist, or archaeologist.

Complete the Nomination Form

After gathering the historical information, use the nomination form (PDF) to record the historical narrative and the physical appearance and condition of the property. The City will work with applicants to answer questions about this process. Please also consult our detailed instructions (PDF) on completing the nomination form.

Public Review Process

The Historic Preservation Officer will schedule completed nominations for a review and public hearing before the Historic Preservation Board. The Board will make a recommendation of approval or denial to City Council. The nomination will then be placed on the next available agenda for a public hearing before City Council.

Effects of Listing

Once designated, changes to City landmarks are subject to design review by the Historic Preservation Board. Such projects may qualify for Colorado Preservation Tax Credits or Colorado Conservation Easement Tax Credits.