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THE JOY OF

PRESERVATION
(COOKING UP A GREAT
PROJECT IN COMO) –
WORTHY STRUCTURES +
DEDICATED PEOPLE
CPI 2010
Introductions and Brief Session Overview
by Patrice Berglund, Session Manager

Speakers: Richard S. Beardmore, PE – A-E Design Associates, PC


Jane Daniels – Colorado Preservation, Inc.
Moya Cleaver and David Tomkins – Owners
Mike Perschbacher – Older Than Dirt Construction
Bob Schoppe – Denver, South Park and Pacific
Historical Society
Linda Balough – Director of the Park County
Preservation Office, and Executive Director of
the South Park National Heritage Area

Session Purpose: To demonstrate how the right mix of visionary


and dedicated people can make a worthy project
possible, and with a little bit of luck, an entire
region can benefit; and to offer the advantage of
our experience to those with similar projects
Philosophies and Practices
by Richard S. Beardmore, PE
Preservation Engineer
BSCE, MSCE - University of Cincinnati

As a registered professional engineer and principal of A-E Design


Associates, Ft. Collins, Colorado, Beardmore brings 40 years of
engineering, construction and preservation experience to bear on
projects in Colorado. A strong civil, structural, and architectural
engineering background underpins Beardmore’s sympathetic
restoration of historic buildings and their archaic building systems and
assemblies. The more than one hundred preservation projects
completed by Beardmore’s firm have benefited from their minimalistic
and holistic approach. A-E Design’s philosophy is that the building is
the client.
Partners, Programs, Philosophy and Practices

Fitting the Parts and People Together


Philosophy
• The building is the client
• The building has already been designed – THIS IS NOT A DESIGN
OPPORTUNITY!
• This is not new construction, so many of those practices do not apply*

*Preservation construction equates to S. O. I. Standards compliant


Working “with” the building
• Minimalism; least intrusive design/engineering solutions
• Approaches and systems that are appropriate and compatible
• Use that “fits” the building, rather than attempting to make the
building fit an unsuitable use, thus requiring a “heavy hand”
• Past performance history, in-kind repairs, code enhancements
Practices
• Collaboration – “open book” where everyone contributes
• Early involvement of all parties
• Risk sharing versus risk shedding to minimize risk
• Discovery, discovery, discovery!
• Reverse budgeting, mandated transparency
• Prequalification – competitive performance based selection
• Advocate for traditional crafts
• Advocate for the building

Project Cost
Influence

Ability to Influence Cost Impact

Time
CPI’s Partnership
Jane Daniels, Preservation Projects Coordinator

Jane Daniels is the Preservation Projects Manager at Colorado


Preservation, Inc. Jane’s main role is: to direct, advise and assist a
wide variety of historic preservation projects in the state; serve as
preservation advocate, expert and project manager; and manage and
administer grants for preservation projects. She has worked on several
projects including Hangar 61 (Denver), Temple Aaron (Trinidad),
Murdock Building (Eads), and Glen Isle Lodge (Bailey) since her arrival
at CPI in 2008. As project manager, Jane values using a collaborative
approach in stakeholder involvement and brings with her a strong
background in downtown revitalization, historic preservation, urban
planning, natural and cultural resource management and grant writing
and administration .
Colorado’s Most Endangered Places Program
Building Partnerships
Interim Stabilization
Grant
Recipient
Contact and
Administration
Owner Vision and Commitment
Moya Cleaver and David Tomkins, Owners
David Tomkins is a native of England. He has worked for 30 years in the
London Insurance market, dealing with major corporate clients. Since
coming to the U. S. five years ago, he has worked for the Durango and
Silverton Railroad and is co-owner of the Como Hotel and Depot.
Moya and her family moved to Colorado 24 years ago. She worked in
Information Technology for 30 years. The last ten years, she led teams
to rollout, upgrade and implement new software in the United States and
in Europe. Over the past 5 years, after receiving her Masters in Library
and Information Science, she became a Public Librarian and worked in
San Francisco and Durango, updating facilities and services for various
libraries.
David and Moya met while she was on contract in London in 2000 and
married five years ago after David immigrated to the United States.
They began the joint venture of updating and running the Como Depot
Eating House and Hotel in February 2008, and look forward to continued
success in this endeavor.
Early History:
Coal
• The name of Como, from Lake Como in Italy, is believed to have been
given by Italian Coal Miners who worked in the Colorado mines
and presumably came from that area, although Como, Colorado
looks nothing like Lake Como, Italy

CIRCA 1910
History:
A Railroad Town
• Summer of 1879 the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad arrives
and Depot built
• Como quickly becomes a tent city of 6,000 people, known as Upper
Como
• 1880, Gillman Hotel built, and a few years later, hotel enlarged
• Taken over by the Railroad and incorporated into the Union Pacific’s
hotel division, renamed the Pacific Hotel, a grand Victorian
building with 43 bedrooms and the capacity of seating 100 or
more
• Como becomes a division point for the Railroad; trains arrived from
Denver over Kenosha Pass, then carried on to Gunnison
through the Alpine Tunnel, to Leadville over Boreas Pass, to
serve the mines at Upper Como to the west and Lower Como,
later renamed King, to the east
• Como housed the largest facilities outside of Denver
• In 1896 the Pacific Hotel burned to the ground, but somehow the
adjoining Depot was spared
More History
• 1897, local newspaper announces planned construction of a new,
pressed brick building, which was completed in a single short
Como summer construction season
• In its heyday, the Hotel and Depot operated 24 hours a day
• Mining declines and costs of operation increase, closing line in 1937
• Track pulled up in 1938
• 1940’s, Hotel and Depot used by dredging company, dredging gold on
the Tarryall, for office and staff, with roundhouse used as repair
shop
• 1950’s, hotelier from Denver bought it as a summer retreat and nuclear
fallout shelter, adding concrete slab over root cellar, which had
stored supplies and a hand dug, brick lined well (still existing)
• 1970’s, Hotel purchased by Hodge’s, who reopened the Hotel, but left
the Depot to rot, initially using it as a garage, then for storage
Fast Forward to 2008
• Moya Cleaver and David Tomkins visit, interested in railroad and
South Park
• Discover that Depot and Eating House are for sale – asking $700,000
• Negotiated for six months and purchased in February 2008 for
$440,000, in “grandfathered” (as is) condition

Our Mission Statement


To provide South Park visitors and residents with the best
Central Colorado dining and Bed and Breakfast experience,
providing a welcoming and comfortable backdrop as all enjoy
Park County’s Historical Treasures and Recreational
Opportunities. This will be accomplished by offering
outstanding services and facilities, provided in our Nationally
Historic Registered Buildings of the Hotel and Depot, current
being restored and rehabilitated according to the United States
Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.
Auspicious Beginning
• Eating House (restaurant) road sign on Highway 285
• Building is in condition to open for business in May
• Health department is our friend
• Begin meeting with collaborators – CPI, DSPPHS, South Park
Historical Department, CHS/SHF, and tourism advocates

Early Challenges
• Kitchen not up to code
• Entirely new septic system required
• Various plumbing and electrical issues
• Working around the weather

Lesson Learned
• It is always darkest before the dawn
• We had nowhere to go but up!
Major 2008 Accomplishments
• Two CHS/SHF grants submitted and approved
- Hotel grant sponsored by Park County
- Depot grant sponsored by CPI
• Depot stabilized through CPI weekend work parties until grant begins
• We became Restaurateurs and Innkeepers
• We learned a tremendous amount about the area and ourselves
• Our support had grown from the folks at our first meeting to our
customer base and beyond – never doubt how that support and
kindness keeps you going!
2009 Challenges
• More building improvements required, including replacing frozen
water pipes
• Had to find new chef
• Personal losses of mother and brother
• Improvements and repairs not completed in time, leading to late start
• Economy falls into the toilet
• Strain on ourselves grew

2009 Accomplishments
• Found amazing, dynamic chef
• Repairs and upgrades completed
• Bed and breakfast improvements result in slightly higher occupancy
• Improved efficiencies help offset 10% decline in restaurant business
• We survived while many other local restaurants closed
• Built incredible staff (most will be returning)
• Depot structural stabilization grant completed
• Depot Phase Two grant submitted and awarded
• Analysis, design and plans for Hotel grant moving forward to
completion in 2010
Eating House Grant to be Completed in 2010
• Electrical upgrades
• Exterior masonry repairs and masonry paint removal pilot project
• Energy efficiency retrofits, including insulation and storm sash
• Solar heated domestic hot water system
• Biomass (wood fired) heating system
• CHS/SHF grant
• Other grants being pursued – GEO, USDA, CDOT/ISTEA

Depot Project
• First Phase stabilization and restoration completed in 2009 – partially
funded through CHS/SHF grant
• Second Phase CHS/SHF grant awarded
• Depot planned to be Railroad Museum
• Ongoing fundraising to provide cash match
• Project to be divided in several small phases because of limited funds
• Future phases to include windows, doors, siding, interior finishes and
to rebuild platform/boardwalk linking Eating House, Depot and
perhaps even Roundhouse (different owner); also Switchman’s
Hut
Goals
• Return structures and site to approximate c. 1900 appearance
• Maintain historic interior finishes and “feel” while addressing modern
usage, requirements, efficiencies and ecological stewardship
• Encourage others to save historic structures and reinvigorate the
community

Planned Future Phases


• Roofing
• Brick masonry paint removal
• Replace non-historic concrete slab from roof of root cellar and rebuild
as wood framed roof/deck
• Excavate debris accumulated in north tower basement
• Remove non-historic garage addition
• Reestablish historic site grades
• Reconstruct fence between Hotel and Depot
• Reconstruct wood platform
• Collaborate with owner of Roundhouse to integrate both his site and
ours, including an interpretive trail, extension of wood platform,
and perhaps even a section of track
• Continue ongoing research and search for photographs to aid in
accuracy of preservation activities
Process
• Assemble a team of specialists in dealing with historic properties
• Remember that securing grant funds requires lots of time, effort,
expertise and tenacity
• Educate yourself, ask lots of questions and remain flexible
• Maintain and expand your support network

More Information
Our website: www.comodepot.net
Renovation blog: www.comodepot.blogspot.com
Our old blog: www.comodepot.wordpress.com
And, of course, we are on Facebook and Twitter!
Doing It Right
Mike Perschbacher, Contractor/Craftsman
Older Than Dirt Construction

After owning and operating a highly successful construction company,


6 years ago Mike Perschbacher decided to use his talent and skill to do
what he is most passionate about - historic restoration. State Historical
Funded projects include Como Depot (structural rehabilitation) Buena
Vista Depot (exterior and interior restoration), Eureka Masonic Lodge
#66 (window restoration), Hutchinson Homestead (structural and
exterior rehabilitation of main house and 10 log outbuildings), Tabor
Home (structural and exterior rehabilitation), St. Elmo Schoolhouse
(structural and exterior rehabilitation), Turner Farm (structural, exterior
and interior rehabilitation of main house and 4 outbuildings, and the
Presbyterian Church (structural discovery).
Thinking Hands
• Appreciating the work first done
by others
• Employee and subcontractor
enthusiasm
Historic Systems –
Durability and Sustainability
• Older Than Dirt’s Philosophy
*Knowledge of the Secretary of the
Interior’s Standards for historic
structures
*Understanding the building’s
historic system
*Assessing current conditions
Making It Like It Was
• Same structural and physical elements
• Creative construction methods
Beneficial Partnerships
Bob Schoppe, Vice-President
Denver, South Park and Pacific Historical
Society

The Denver, South Park and Pacific Historical Society was established
in 1998 to promote the preservation of the history and artifacts of all the
predecessor lines that became the narrow gauge portion of the
Colorado & Southern Railway. The Society encourages artifact and
equipment acquisitions, as well as dissemination of knowledge about
these railroads and their effect on the history of Colorado and the
nation.

Bob is currently a pilot with Frontier Airlines and enjoys


researching and writing articles for the society's quarterly magazine.
The railroad historian’s perspective
• What does this project mean to locals
and “railfans”
• Como’s significance/widespread
interest
• Partnering/lessons learned
• Future use – housing the Anderson
Collection
*Not just nostalgia, but also
commerce and education
Andy and Gertrude
in Como
Circa 1927
Andy and Gertrude
in Como
2008
Como Local
256-3
Delia and Pat Gibbony
The Big Picture
Linda Balough, Director
Director, Park County Office of Preservation
and Executive Director, South Park National
Heritage Area

Linda Balough has held the position of Director of Park County’s Office
of Historic Preservation for five years, and was recently detailed to
serve as the Executive Director of the South Park National Heritage
Area. She brings a unique background to the discipline of historic
preservation, having experience and/or training in construction, travel
writing, local history textbook production, real estate, grant writing, and
public relations. She has directed the focus of the historic preservation
program in Park County to put as much emphasis on establishing
economic viability for historic properties as on preservation and
rehabilitation.
Questions?