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Historic Preservation

 Contact Information

Dept Head: Karen McWilliams

Fort Collins Landmarks - What They Are and How They Work

What is a Historic Landmark? A Landmark District?

A historic landmark or historic district is a property or grouping of properties officially recognized as important to Fort Collins history by formal City Council action.

The landmark can be important to the community for several reasons, including:

  • association with events contributing to the broad patterns of history
  • association with lives of significant people or groups
  • embody distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction
  • represent the work of a master, possesses high artistic values, or be a good example of a building or structure
  • archaeological significance

To look through the currently designated properties, head over to our searchable list of landmarks and other historic properties.

Recently Designated Properties


155 W. Mountain Ave. & 130 S. Mason St. - Fort Collins Express Bldg/McCormick Bldg; McCormick Apartments

Built in 1907, this building housed the Fort Collins Express and Courier newspapers, the precursor to the Fort Collins Coloradoan. The McCormick brothers who owned it also constructed an apartment over 1917 and 1925 at 130 S. Mason that is a strong example of early-twentieth century architecture in downtown Fort Collins.

516 Laporte Ave. - Frank J. Ulrich Property (Listed January 7, 2020)

Built for Fort Collins car and commercial painter Frank Ulrich, this property is significant as a significant and unique example of a Craftsman Bungalow residence.

Maneval-Mason-Sauer Property

100 First St. - Maneval/Mason/Sauer Property (Listed 7/16/2019)

The residence and store buildings at 100 First Street are part of the historic Buckingham neighborhood, one of three neighborhoods in northeast Fort Collins built for sugar beet workers of Russo-German and Hispanic descent.

Parker Duplexes

221-229 W. Mulberry St. - The Alfred Parker Duplexes I and II (Listed 6/4/2019)

These paired duplexes are rare and significant examples of American Foursquare duplexes in Fort Collins. The Foursquare was a less common house style in the United States in the early twentieth century, and even more rare to be built as multi-family housing.

Kamal/Livingston landmark

608 W. Laurel St. - The Kamal/Livingston Property (Listed 6/4/2019)

The Kamal/Livingston Property is an excellent example of a mid-century residence and garage using Colonial Revival details.

Newman Property

1019 W. Mountain Ave. - The Newman Property (Listed 4/16/2019)

The Newman Property is an excellent example of a rectangular "hipped-roof box," a common form of early twentieth century residence.

Contributing vs Non-contributing

Each building on a property and within a district are described as being contributing or non-contributing based on their history and/or architecture (significance) and the degree to which they retain their historic character (integrity):

  • Contributing - Buildings that contribute are architecturally or historically significant resources that, while they may have experienced some exterior alterations, are easily recognizable as a part of a group of similar resources that, together, demonstrates a particular chapter in our community’s history. Some of these properties may qualify for landmark designation in their own right, but many will not individually qualify for this recognition.

  • Non-contributing - Buildings or structures with little or no historical or architectural significance or that have endured substantial exterior changes are not eligible for landmark designation. Although they may be located within a designated property or district, they do not reflect the history or character of the property or district.
How Do I Landmark My Property?

Contact City staff for a nomination form at cHJlc2VydmF0aW9uQGZjZ292LmNvbQ==.

In some rare cases, a Colorado Cultural Resource Survey Form may be required. Staff can let you know if a Survey Form will be needed - the person nominating the property will be responsible for reimbursing the City for the costs of producing the form.

Need help understanding how to research the history and architecture of your property? Consider our How to Research guide for more help.

What are the benefits and obligations of landmark designation?
  • Fort Collins Landmark properties are eligible for financial assistance and staff assistance with preparing applications for financial programs, including:
    • The State Historic Tax Credit program gives owners a 20% tax credit for all approved costs, for both labor and materials, and for both interior and exterior work. All designated buildings on a property qualify, including garages and outbuildings. This program will help cover nearly everything, from structural, electrical, plumbing and wiring, to porches, window repairs, storm windows, and roofs, new furnaces and appliances, and even the costs of finishing an unfinished basement or attic. The 20% credit can be spread out over ten years.
    • The City’s Landmark Rehabilitation Loan Program is a zero-interest matching loan of up to $7,500 each year, for exterior work on a designated landmark building. It pays for many of the same kinds of structural and exterior work as the State Tax Credits, and promotes energy efficiency and sustainability. Loans are paid when a property is sold.
    • Using the Design Assistance Program, owners can receive up to $2,000 towards the design of alterations, additions, or new construction meeting the Secretary of the Interior's Standards. Owners select from a list of qualified design professionals.
  • Landmark designation provides more options and greater flexibility in meeting certain building codes and development requirements.
  • Property taxes reflect property value, not the designation status of a property. However, studies show that designation generally stabilizes or slightly increases property values, due to the appeal of owning a recognized historic landmark; because future owners also qualify for the financial incentives, making designation a good selling point; due to the perception that designated properties are better maintained; and because of the assurance of neighborhood compatibility that design review offers.
  • Landmark designation does not change the allowed uses of your property, which are established by its zone district. 
  • Landmark designation does not require that any alterations or restorative changes be made.
  • Landmark designation requires the review of all exterior alterations, demolition and new construction within the designated property or district, using the national Secretary of the Interior's Standards to ensure neighborhood compatibility. Nearly all work fits under the Standards for Rehabilitation, which is defined as “the act or process of making possible a compatible use for a property through repair, alterations, and additions while preserving those portions or features which convey its historical, cultural, or architectural values.”
What type of work is reviewed? Is interior work reviewed?

Under Chapter 14 of the City's Municipal Code, only exterior work is reviewed. However, owners seeking State Historic Tax Credits for interior work will have the interior elements of their project reviewed by History Colorado as well. Interior work of any kind is reviewed only if the owner is asking for financial incentives for that work. Whether complying with City Municipal Code or seeking State Historic Tax Credits, all work is reviewed under the Secretary of the Interior's Standards, usually the Standards for Rehabilitation.

What work is reviewed? How is work reviewed? Who reviews it? How long does it take?

What: Only exterior work is reviewed, unless the owner is seeking State Tax Credits for interior work. Interior work of any kind is reviewed only if the owner is asking for financial incentives for that work.

How: The criteria used for the review are found in Chapter 14 of the City’s code. These criteria reference the Secretary of the Interior's Standards. Most work falls under the Standards for Rehabilitation. While many alterations are readily approved, compliance with the Standards may require adjustments to the size and design of proposed work.

Who: Depending upon the extent of the work proposed, Historic Preservation staff or the Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) reviews the work. The LPC are nine Fort Collins residents appointed by City Council, with interest or professional experience in historic preservation, construction, design, finance and related fields.

When: LPC review occurs at its Regular Meetings (3rd Wednesday of each month); staff reviews generally take less than a week.

I live in an historic district. Is my property a Landmark?

Each building within a district is usually described as being contributing or non-contributing based on whether they reflect the history and/or architecture (significance) of the overall district.

  • Contributing - Buildings that contribute are architecturally or historically significant resources that, while they may have experienced some exterior alterations, are easily recognizable as a part of a group of similar resources that, together, demonstrates a particular chapter in our community’s history. Some of these properties may qualify for landmark designation in their own right, but many will not individually qualify for this recognition.

  • Non-contributing - Buildings or structures with little or no historical or architectural significance or that have endured substantial exterior changes are not eligible for landmark designation. Although they may be located within a designated property or district, they do not reflect the history or character of the property or district.
What if my building or structure is non-contributing to the district?

Buildings and structures that are non-contributing are still subject to review under City Municipal Code. In these cases, exterior alterations, demolition, and new construction are reviewed for their effect upon neighboring historic properties and the character of the district as a whole. For projects in older (pre-1950) sections of town, a good source for compatible examples is the Old Town Neighborhoods Design Guidelines.

What impact does designation have on construction?
  • Are additions and alterations allowed? Yes, if the work meets the Secretary of the Interior's Standards. While some new construction may not qualify for the financial programs, it is still allowed. Nearly all work fits under the Secretary of the Interior’s Standard for Rehabilitation, defined as “the act or process of making possible a compatible use for a property through repair, alterations, and additions while preserving those portions or features which convey its historical, cultural, or architectural values.”
  • Why the review of paint color? Because the City’s codes apply to commercial as well as residential properties, paint colors are reviewed using a streamlined process. All standard colors are approved. Unusual colors or patterns, such as polka dots, that focus attention on themselves rather than on the architecture of the building, are referred to the LPC.
  • What if I want to tear down my house and build a new one? If your house was determined to be contributing to the district, then it is not likely that the LPC would approve its demolition without a very good reason.
  • What if it is damaged in a fire or flood? If the building is an imminent danger, then it may be demolished immediately. If it is damaged extensively, the LPC would consider how much of the historic building would remain after repairs. If substantial repairs are needed, the building’s historic integrity of its materials, design, workmanship, and feeling may be affected, and its historic value lost. If so, it is the owner’s decision to repair or build new.
  • Can the financial incentives be used to modify or add on square footage? While most of the incentives do not pay for additions to the building’s footprint, the State Historic Tax Credit program can be used to add considerable usable square footage through paying for 20% of the costs of finishing or renovating a basement or attic.
  • Will this affect zoning? Are there different building codes?  Does this change the floor area ratio (FAR) or set back requirements?  Landmark designation does not change zoning or building codes except to add more options and greater flexibility.
  • Are landscaping projects affected by the historic designation? Only landscaping projects that would significantly change the historic character of the property are typically reviewed. Examples would be adding a structure, such as greenhouse; decks, patios, and driveways; or adding large landscaping berms in the front yard that obscure the house. Examples of work that would not typically be reviewed are planting or removing trees or shrubs; building raised flower beds or planter boxes; or digging up the back yard for a garden.

Designation Process