Monday, October 12, 2009

Tracking back the National Register Nomination.

To the great surprise of several key people, 29 years ago the Switzerland Trail was quietly nominated and accepted for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

To locate the Nomination form, my first contact was with Wendy Hall at the Carnegie Branch Library for Local History. She referred me to Denise Grimm, with the Planning Division of Boulder County Land Use Office, and to Dan Corson, with the Office of Archeological and Historical Preservation of the Colorado State Historical Society.

Denise was able to locate the nomination in the state database, which Dan Corson corroborated in a later response. She suggested I contact James Hewat or Chris Meschuk in the city of Boulder Historic Preservation Office, who would also have access to the state database.

[As a noteworthy aside, Denise also referred me to a survey of Camp Francis, completed by the Historic Preservation Office of Boulder County Parks & Open Space Department. Carol Beam from that office has generously provided me with that survey report, to be logged here later.]

Chris was able to pull up the nomination, and I've subsequently been able to print it to pdf format.

For reasons I can guess at but will require explicit documentation, the entire Right-of-Way of the Switzerland Trail of America was not nominated--only the two extensions from Sunset. The distance between Ward and Eldora is officially listed and mapped. My guess is that the original distance from Boulder to Sunset--arguably of greatest historical import--passes through too many private parcels to make it practicable for National Register listing. When the Denver, Boulder & Western went into insolvency in 1919, all railroad Right-of-Way reverted to private ownership. Today even a quick observation trip up Four Mile Canyon reveals scores of homes situated squarely in the previous ROW. It looks to me like Orodell is now a motel.

Cursory examination of the nomination does reveal some errors of fact, leaving its use as a mapping standard open to question, but it does suggest solutions for a couple of gaps I have in my own mapping--at Pinnacle and the wye at Sulphide. I'm not so sure about the solution it offers north of Camp Francis, before the Ward Loop. Merging the four map images reveals significant alignment errors. I suspect these errors occurred at the digitizing stage at the State Historical Society.

I'll come back to this later, but for now wanted to make a record of my contacts. I can't say enough about the cooperation and support I've gotten in this project--quick, courteous and helpful responses from one professional resource after another.

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